FIFA World Cup Semi Finals – Four Teams Remain In With A Chance Of World Cup Glory
After a dramatic set of quarterfinals, we said goodbye to Brazil, England, the Netherlands and Portugal from the 2022 World Cup Finals as Croatia, France, Argentina and Morocco all progressed on to this week’s World Cup Semi Finals.
First up later today is Argentina who face Croatia in the first semi-final, followed tomorrow (Wednesday) by the second as 2018 World Cup Champions France face their former colonial outpost Morocco in a game that is sure to have added spice.
In this article we are going to preview both semi-finals and give you our top tips to back for each of the games.
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Let’s now take a closer look at both the semi-finals that are scheduled to take place today (Tuesday) and tomorrow (Wednesday).
FIFA World Cup Semi Finals – Preview
Tuesday 13th December
Argentina v Croatia
- Venue – Lusail Stadium
- Kick Off – 7pm
- Referee – Daniele Orsato (Italy)
- Head To Head – Played 5, Croatia Wins – 2, Argentina Wins – 2, Draws – 1
Argentina Team News
Lionel Scaloni has a number of injury and suspension concerns ahead of the semifinal. Firstly, full-backs Gonzalo Montiel and Marcos Acuna are ruled out and while Montiel has only been used as a substitute, Acuna has started all games for Argentina so far and that means Nicolas Tagliafico will likely come in to deputise.
There are question marks about the fitness of Angel Di Maria, who was a substitute against the Netherlands and he is unlikely to be 100% fit here, so once again he may be used from the bench if required. Winger Papu Gomez is another doubt with injury and he may have to miss this game but could be back for the final should Argentina reach it.
- Injuries – Papu Gomez is a doubt
- Suspensions – Gonzalo Montiel (DR), Marcos Acuna (DL)
Potential Argentina Team (5-3-2) – Martinez.E (GK), Molina (DR), Tagliafico (DL), Martinez.L (DC), Otamendi (DC), Romero (DC), Fernandez (MC), Mac Allister (MC), De Paul (MC), Messi (AMC), Alvarez (AC)
Croatia Team News
Zlatko Dalic is in the enviable position of being able to pick from a full-strength squad ahead of the semifinal later today. Sosa has recovered from illness now and made his return in their Quarter Final win over Brazil and he will keep his spot at left back ahead of Borja Barisic.
Dalic won’t mess with his brilliant midfield trio of Modric, Kovacic and Brozovic, but he could opt to reward Petkovic, who scored the equaliser against Brazil. That could mean either Kramaric or Pasalic drop to the bench, but I think Dalic will likely stick with the team that performed so well against Brazil to claim the win on penalties.
- Injuries – None
- Suspensions – None
Potential Croatia Team (4-3-3) – Livakovic (GK), Juranovic (RB), Sosa (LB), Gvardiol (DC), Lovren (DC), Modric (MC), Brozovic (MC), Kovacic (MC), Perisic (AML), Pasalic (AMR), Kramaric (AC)
Argentina v Croatia Betting Tips
This is a tricky one to call. Since losing their opener, Argentina have won all their subsequent games, albeit against the Dutch the win came via penalties. They are a team that do offer chances up in defence though and perhaps, that is something Croatia can take advantage of here.
The Croatians have the best midfield in the tournament once again and the trio of Brozovic, Modric and Kovacic have been key to their success. Croatia’s chances hinge on them being able to get the better of Argentina’s trio in that key area of the field.
However, and this is the salient point, Argentina have Messi. The magician has been in good form at the World Cup and the feeling is this could be his year. This will be a close game, but it may well be a bit of Messi magic that eventually wins the day for Argentina.
- Full Time Result – Argentina – 5/6
- Correct Score – Argentina 1-0 Croatia – 5/1
- Anytime Goalscorer – Lionel Messi (Argentina) – 13/10
Let’s now take a look at our tips for the second semi-final.
Wednesday 14th December
France v Morocco
- Venue – Al Bayt Stadium
- Kick Off – 7pm
- Referee – TBC
- Head To Head – Played 11, France Wins – 7, Morocco Wins – 1, Draws – 3
France Team News
Other than long-term injury absentees Karim Benzema and Lucas Hernandez, France do not have any further injury concerns ahead of this game and they also have no players missing the game due to suspension.
Despite a rocky and untidy performance against England Dayot Upemecano will likely keep his place in the team ahead of Ibrahim Konate and Jules Kounde will likely continue at right back ahead of Benjamin Pavard.
It’s hard to see manager Didier Deschamps naming anything other than an unchanged team for this semi-final.
- Injuries – Benzema, L.Hernandez are both injured.
- Suspensions – None
Probable France Team (4-2-3-1) – Lloris (GK), Kounde (DR), T.Hernandez (DL), Varane (DC), Upemecano (DC), Rabiot (MC), Tchouameni (MC), Dembele (AMR), Mbappe (AML), Griezmann (AMC), Giroud (AC)
Morocco Team News
Morocco could be without two first choice centre backs for this game with Saiss and Aguerd both doubts, with the former a greater doubt to play than the latter. Saiss’ absence would be a blow for Morocco who have relied on their captain at the heart of their defence.
Also out is Walid Cheddira as the striker was shown two yellow cards in their quarterfinal win over Portugal after coming on as a substitute.
More positive news on the injury front sees Mazraoui likely to make a return after missing the last game, while Hakin Ziyech’s injury doesn’t look too serious and he should be fit for the game.
- Injuries – Romain Saiss (DC) is a major doubt as is Nayef Aguerd
- Suspensions – Walid Cheddira (red card in last game)
Probable Morocco Team (4-3-3) – Bono (GK), Hakimi(DR), Mazraoui (DL), Aguerd (DC), Yamiq (DC), Ounahi (MC), Amrabat (DMC), Amallah (MC), Ziyech (AML), Boufal (AMR), En-Nesyri (AC)
France v Morocco Betting Tips
Tensions will be high as France takes on one of its former colonies in the shape of Morocco. There’s a long and at times difficult relationship between the two and that should make this semi-final even more appealing and action-packed.
France have arguably been the best all-round team in the tournament and while they were somewhat fortunate to beat England in the quarterfinals, they have in Kylian Mbappe an outstanding talent who looks the natural successor to Messi and Ronaldo as the world’s best player.
Morocco though have Achraf Hakimi, Mbappe’s friend at Paris St Germain, who will play right back and mark the French superstar and it may well be who wins that battle decides the game.
For me, France will score a goal early in the second half, likely through Mbappe and then when Morocco try to come and attack to equalise, the French will hit them on the break to secure the win.
- Full Time Result – France – 8/15
- Correct Score – France 2-1 Morocco – 9/1
- Anytime Goalscorer – Kylian Mbappe (France) – 5/4
You can catch the first semi-final live on ITV kick off 7pm on Tuesday 13th December, with the second semifinal live on BBC One at 7pm on Wednesday 14th December.
This weekend the third-place playoff (or bronze medal match if you prefer) takes place on Saturday 17th December at 3pm, with the World Cup Final kicking off on Sunday afternoon at 3pm.