The 2022 FIFA World Cup has been full of surprises, drama, and unending entertainment. We have seen teams razzle and dazzle in their glory while others have bowed their heads in disappointment. As the competition is in its late stage, we have four national teams left. Argentina, France, Croatia, and Morocco are the four countries left and are about to face up for a chance to book a spot in the finals.
After battling it out on penalties against the Netherlands, Argentina is now up against Croatia. At the same time, Morocco, who, against all odds, edged past Portugal, will face reigning World Cup champions France. Here we will look at the events that led to this stage of the competition and give a prediction of the outcome of the semi-finals matchups.
Argentina Vs Croatia
Argentina is the only South American team in this stage of the competition. They face a Croatian side who defeated Brazil, another South American team, in the quarterfinals to get to the semi-finals.
If Morocco did not make it to the semi-finals, Croatia would have easily been the dark horse of the tournament. Croatia is only a game away from making its back-to-back finals appearance. They do not boast of a particularly outstanding star player, but they have been a team that thrived on collective effort, although they have a Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric leading them.
- Croatia was in Group F, the same as Morocco, Canada, and Belgium. They opened the tournament against Morocco, ending in a goalless draw.
- Croatia played Canada next, and they won emphatically. Four goals to one, potentially ending Canada’s hopes of making it out of the group stage.
- In a bid to grab a spot in the round of 16, Croatia held Belgium to a goalless draw to finish second in Group F behind Morocco.
- Croatia was up against Japan in the round of 16, and it was a fight till the end kind of game. It came down to penalties after playing a 1-1 draw, including extra time. Croatia won 3-1 on penalties to advance to the semi-finals.
- Croatia faced title-favorite Brazil in the quarter-finals and played out another 1-1 draw at the end of extra time. Croatia won 4-2 on penalties to send Brazil home and advance to the semi-finals.
Argentina is exactly living up to expectations in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and it might finally be Lionel Messi’s time to lift the much-coveted trophy. Argentina has brilliantly recovered from an early scare to start the competition and is now a game away from making the finals. La Albiceleste has all that is required to get the job done, as they were tipped as one of the favorites to win it all.
- Argentina was up against Saudi Arabia to begin the tournament. They suffered a 2-1 loss, to everyone’s surprise, but they recovered in their remaining group games.
- Next up, Argentina was up against Mexico and won by two goals to nil for their first points in the group.
- Another 2-0 win against Poland secured Argentina’s spot as group leader
- Argentina was up next against Australia in the round of 16. They defeated Australia 2-1 to progress to the quarter-finals
- Argentina was up against the Netherlands in the quarter-finals. Messi gave Nahuel Molina the assist for his first-ever international goal as Argentina took the lead. Messi converted a penalty kick in the 73rd minute to make it 2-0 for Argentina. To keep the Netherlands within striking distance of Argentina, 2-1, substitute Wout Weghorst breached the Argentine defense and pierced the goal. He scored again late in extra time to force extra time and ultimately force penalties, which Argentina eventually won 4-2.
Argentina, one of the most competitive teams at the FIFA World Cup, will again rely on Lionel Messi’s artistic wizardry this week. The Albiceleste have several difficulties in addressing before this match after giving up late goals against the Netherlands. Croatia has previously caused problems for Argentina and has already caused heartbreak for Brazil at the World Cup. Croatia wants to return to the finals, so we could see them put up another strong showing. Croatia boasts a solid defense and should be able to keep this game under two goals. Under 1.5 is the pick for this game.
France Vs Morocco
Morocco is clearly the dark horse of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, with impressive showings against all odds. They face the reigning champions France, who appear to show no signs of slowing down as they gradually make their way to the finals once again.
France was one of the favorites to win the World Cup despite a number of important players faltering in the last days before the tournament. The remarkable depth of Les Blues’ roster and head coach Didier Deschamps has been crucial to their progress to the semifinals.
- France opened the tournament with a win over a 4-1 win over Australia
- They went on to win their second group game 2-1 against Denmark. They secured qualification to the round of 16 with this win.
- In a game that did not affect their qualification hopes, France lost their third group game to Tunisia.
- France was up against Poland in the round of 16, and they cruised past them, winning three goals to one.
- France played England in the quarter-finals, and a second-half Harry Kane penalty miss ensured their progression to the semi-finals. France opened the scoring, but England got a penalty to bring the game to level terms. Giroud, in the second half, put the French team up front, proving decisive.
The accomplishment of Morocco, the first African team to go to the World Cup semifinals, has the potential to “galvanize” Africa. Morocco has already surpassed expectations in this tournament. Still, if they can defeat France, they’ll be able to set an excellent record.
- Morocco kicked off the tournament with a goalless draw against Croatia
- They earned their first points of the tournament by defeating Belgium 2-0, to everyone’s surprise.
- Canada defeated Morocco 2-1 in their last game in the group stage to secure qualification for the round of 16.
- Morocco played Spain in the round of 16, and the game ended 0-0, including extra time. Morocco went on to win on penalties as the Spanish side failed to convert a single penalty.
- Morocco went on to play another European giant in Portugal in the quarter-finals and won the game 1-0 as underdogs to make history and book their spot in the semi-finals.
The physical and emotional hunger with which the Moroccans have been playing has been astounding. For Morocco, weariness is a factor. Noussair Mazraoui and Nayef Aguerd missed the victory over Portugal, and they might make a comeback, but they’ll still be hurt.
After yet another center defensive masterclass, the valiant Romain Saiss was stretched off, and they will be much weaker without him. France will easily win this match thanks to their superior quality all over the field, especially in attacking areas. Morocco is one step behind France, which has more experience at this stage of the tournament. Morocco will lose by a wide margin, and the pick here is France -1 Asian handicap.
The World Cup is full of drama and iconic moments; simply anything can happen, but the picks above have been carefully analyzed and backed with facts to attain maximum returns. Argentina against Croatia will be a close game, while France is expected to cruise past Morocco.
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