Belfast Telegraph

Andre Silva expecting tough battle against Morocco

Silva could come into the starting line up for Portugal’s second clash of the tournament.

Andre Silva hopes to help Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal’s bid for a first win of the World Cup against Morocco in Moscow on Wednesday.

Portugal claimed a point in their opening game of Group B, the Iberian derby with Spain, courtesy of Ronaldo’s treble, his hat-trick completed with a sublime 88th-minute free-kick which earned the draw.

Silva, who came off the substitutes’ bench against Spain, could start at the Luzhniki Stadium, alongside the Real Madrid forward and Portugal talisman.

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Andre Silva hopes to support Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal’s second World Cup Group B game (Adam Davy/EMPICS)

“Playing next to him is a dream,” Silva told a media conference on Monday, according to A Bola newspaper. “He is the best in the world. I can say that makes things easier.

“Things come out more natural, sometimes passes that could be more difficult he facilitates. We understand each other very well. it’s good to play alongside him.

“I occupy spaces. In the movements, we open spaces for each other.”

Silva accepts Portugal are favourites for the Group B clash with Morocco, but acknowledges that title means little in the tournament.

As Germany, Argentina and Brazil will attest, it is one thing being fancied on paper and quite another delivering an expected victory on the pitch.

“I consider Portugal stronger than Morocco, but the game will not be easy. Morocco has merit,” Silva added.

Morocco did not concede a goal in qualifying for the tournament in Russia.

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Juventus’ Medhi Benatia shows the quality at Morocco’s disposal, says Andre Silva (Tim Goode/EMPICS)

And only a moment of misfortune resulted in defeat in the opening game to Iran, through Aziz Bouhaddouz’s own goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

AC Milan striker Silva expects Morocco will be stubborn opponents and have quality, like Juventus defender Medhi Benatia.

“There are no favourites and I do not think we are favourites for the World Cup,” Silva added.

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AC Milan’s Andre Silva is not underestimating Morocco (Steven Paston/EMPICS)

“Everybody knows Morocco, there are a lot of players that were born in Europe, I think 17, and the game with Iran could have been different.

“Already we know they did not concede goals in qualifying and in the opening game they were only defeated by an own goal in the final moments.

“We have to trust in ourselves. We will find a way. If we show all our collective and individual quality will go well.”

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