The 2022 FIFA World Cup began on November 20, with the host nation losing its opening match to Ecuador. All of that is now in the past, as the tournament now rests on the shoulders of its top four finalists: Argentina, France, Croatia, and Morocco.
England and Portugal missed making it to the list after their losses in the quarterfinals of the tournament. Kane’s England looked strong; however, it could not match the attack of Deschamps’s men on the field. Portugal had an upset against Morocco, courtesy of its defense and midfield stretch.
Morocco has played five matches in the tournament and conceded only one goal. It was used against Canada during the group stage and had no effect. Regragui saw his team score one of the fastest goals of the tournament by Ziyech, followed by the winning edge delivered by Youssef, who happens to be the leading scorer for the team.
A total of 41 shots have been taken so far, with 14 going on target. Achraf Hakimi and Hakim Ziyech have the most assists. The probability is that they will not stop in their semi-final match against France on December 15, 2022, at 12:30 IST at Al Bayt Stadium.
France wants to retain the title and the trophy. Deschamps has Mbappe leading the race for the Golden Boot. He is closely followed by Giroud, who has four goals to his name. If France wins the World Cup, it will be the first team in 60 years to hold the FIFA World Cup trophy in consecutive years.
In five tournament matches, the team has registered eleven goals. In terms of the number of assists, Griezmann is the leader. Tchouameni’s presence in the midfield zone is proving beneficial. In reality, he is now a vital asset in leading the team to a good defensive position. Among 77 attempts, 28 have been successful. With 5 goals conceded so far, a clean sheet is pending.
In their opening event of the tournament, Messi-led Argentina fell to Saudi Arabia 1-2. As soon as Argentina asserted its dominance over Mexico by preventing them from scoring, the tides of the encounter shifted dramatically. Messi opened the scoring, followed by Fernandez with a goal. Scaloni does not play a Messi-centric game, contrary to popular opinion. Young players have demonstrated that their team has a great deal of attacking depth.
Alvarez, Allister, and Fernandez have been instrumental in their team’s advancement to the Semifinal. At a time when Argentina is attempting to advance as a team, marking Messi alone might prove fatal. In five matches at the FIFA World Cup 2022, Argentina scored nine goals and conceded five goals. The team attempted 73 goals, with 32 being on target.
Croatia tied the score against Brazil, forcing the match to penalty shootouts, where it handed Tite’s team their second consecutive loss of the tournament. However, Dalic’s squad has scored significantly fewer goals, six, and has conceded three goals. The club has two clean sheets and no red cards to its credit.
Kramaric is the top scorer for Croatia, and Peristic has the maximum number of attempts on goal with a whopping tally of 14 to his name. The defensive stretch was effective even when facing Japan in the Round of 16. Maeda scored in the 43rd minute before Ivan equalized in the next 12 minutes. Japan was proving to be a major concern for advancement. It was the skillful saves of Livakovic that kept Croatia in the game, including during the penalty round.
The Semi-Final standings are as follows:-
- Argentina vs. Croatia on December 14, 2022, at 12:30 am IST
- France vs. Morocco on December 15, 2022, at 12:30 am IST
The first semifinal round will most likely favor Argentina. Messi has drawn so much attention from the opposition that other players on the team have had time to surpass everyone’s expectations. Members of Argentina refuse to back down. In addition, the combined effort has been remarkable up to this point. Croatia can only win if its attack contains a touch of aggression.
Deschamps has broader striking options. Mbappe leads the charge for the team. Any kind of marking or cover crafted for him will not be effective as Giroud, Griezmann, and Dembele are in line to spark the moment in their favor. Lloris has not let the ball slide past him so easily.
The odds for football betting see Argentina and France in the final. So far, the takeaway has been that any team can advance if possession is tackled and retained strategically.
Ronaldo, who has been cheering for Brazil or France to win the World Cup since its inception, has a share of the odds in his favor. These are definitely directed against his own team. It is up to France to show Ronaldo’s words true by retaining the title now that Brazil is eliminated. According to Ronaldo, France has a complete package of world-class defense, attack, and midfield, which is a factor in their favor.
Messi and Mbappe will confront each other at Lusail Stadium on December 18, 2022, without excluding Croatia and Morocco from the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.