- France v Morocco
- Wednesday December 14, 2022, 14:00 ET
- At the Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Morocco has already beaten two of Europe’s big guns and now it takes on the World Cup favorite with a place in the final up for grabs
Who do Bettors Favor?
Checking out the best-rated online sportsbooks we can see that France is considered the strong favorite to win this semi-final, according to bettors. The reigning World Cup champion is rated as a -185 chance by most bookies, while giant-killer Morocco is the +675 underdog and the draw is priced at +295.
|France v Morocco|
World Cup Semi-Final Briefing
This will be the first-ever meeting between France and Morocco at a World Cup but the two teams have played eleven times outside the biggest tournament.
Their first encounter came in April 1963 when Morocco surprisingly won a friendly game on home soil 2-1. That was to be the Atlas Lions’ last victory over the European team.
Since that first meeting there have been three draws and five French wins, all of them coming in friendlies or minor tournaments. Their last match was back in 2007, when Morocco earned a 2-2 draw, having taken the lead in the eighth minute, thanks to a goal from Youssef Mokhtari five minutes from time.
While the semi-final represents new territory for Morocco, this will be the seventh time that France has reached the last four at the World Cup. Three times out of six, it has gone on to make the final, winning two of those games, in 1998 and in 2018.
France Two Wins Away from History
France is just two wins away from creating history as the first team in the modern era of the 32-team World Cup to win back-to-back tournaments. Italy and Brazil have also achieved this feat, but Italy’s two wins came in the 16-team knockout formats of 1934 and 1938, and while Brazil’s wins in 1958 and 1962 were impressive, there was no Round of 16 in those tournaments.
For France to be in this position is a remarkable achievement considering its injury problems going into the competition, as well as the rumors of discontent between players, and suggestions that the team had become stale under Didier Deschamps, now in his tenth year as national team head coach.
Deprived of the services of Paul Pogba, N’golo Kante and Karim Benzema, Deschamps has reshaped the team to be as effective as ever, with Aurelien Tchouameni and Adrien Rabiot forming an effective midfield duo and Kylian Mbappe released to destroy opposition defenses, with Olivier Giroud the focal point of the attack and Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann providing excellent support.
It is also a team that does not lack for resilience, as it showed against England in the quarter-final, twice taking the lead and withstanding intense English pressure. We can be sure that Deschamps, with all of his experience, will not be taking France’s semi-final opponents lightly.
Morocco Already A Winner
This has been an incredible tournament for Morocco, and in many ways, it is already a winner, having set World Cup three records. It reached the quarter-finals for the first time in its history and then made it to the semi-finals, at the same time becoming the first African nation to reach the last four.
With just three months to build a team and prepare, Walid Regragui has done an excellent job and the team spirit and confidence flowing through the team is a testament to his hard work.
Morocco has not been playing free-flowing attacking football, but it is more than simply a team that parks the bus and hopes for the best. It defends on the front foot, pressing hard all over the pitch and at the same time, offers a threat through its world-class players: midfield playmaker Hakim Ziyech and rampaging full-back, Achraf Hakimi, while Sofyan Amrabat is the lion in midfield.
Against Spain and Portugal, it came up against teams with plenty of attacking resources, but which lacked the resolve and cutting edge to prevail. Will France fall into the same category?
World Cup Semi-Final Match Betting
Morocco’s best chance of winning this game is in stifling the French players with intense pressing and aiming to exploit any sloppiness among the French defense.
Yet France represents a very different type of opponent. Spain had talent and youth but no experience, while Portugal proved to lack the guile and patience needed to break through. France, by contrast, is a World Cup-winning team, with the tactical variety and flexibility to cope with any eventuality and any opponent. Deschamps has also had plenty of time to study the Morocco gameplan and France will not be surprised in the same way that Spain was.
This is likely to be a low scoring semi-final, nevertheless, so there is always a risk that France may need extra time to prevail, which makes France an unnattractive betting pick in the Match Betting market.