2022 Men’s World Cup Semi-Finals Predictions

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2022 Men’s World Cup Semi-Finals Predictions

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2022 Men’s World Cup Semi-Finals Predictions

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The 2022 FIFA World Cup has provided fans with some incredible matches, but now the competition is down to the final four teams. Who will book a place in the final on Sunday? Find out in our predictions below to see who we have advancing in each of the two semi-final matchups. 

Argentina vs. Croatia

Christian De Block: The biggest storyline going into the semi-finals of the tournament revolves around Lionel Messi. He is playing his best football in his fifth World Cup at the age of 35, scoring four goals and registrering two assists in five matches. Messi has been the standout performer for Argentina, and that will need to be the same if they want to advance past a tough Croatian team that is ready for the challenge.

Croatia has advanced past Japan and Brazil in the knockout stages, both of which came on penalty shootouts. The Vatreni have been led by the outstanding goalkeeping of Dominik Livaković, who is now being rumored to join some of the bigger clubs in Europe. The midfield trio of Luka Modrić, Mateo Kovačić and Marcelo Brozović continues to dominate the middle of the park. 

The supporting cast of the Argentine national team will be a major talking point going into this match. Messi has performed every time he has been on the pitch, but the same cannot be said about the rest of the team. Will Lionel Scaloni continue to start Julián Álvarez up front? Could Lautaro Martínez return to the starting eleven after coming off the bench in each of the last three games? These are all questions that will be answered an hour prior to kick-off. 

This is a game that will be decided by which midfield controls the tempo. If Modrić, Kovačić and Brozović are playing at a high-level, they could neutralize Argentina in their build up. In the same way, Enzo Fernández, Rodrigo De Paul and Alexis Mac Allister will play a critical role in how dominant Argentina looks in possession. 

All of the pressure will be on Argentina to advance, especially with Messi two wins away from winning his first World Cup. Croatia is no stranger to being an underdog though, as that is really when they thrive in major competitions. I expect Argentina to hold a lot of the possession and create more clear goal-scoring opportunities, but Livaković will make some incredible saves to keep Croatia in the match. This game will go to extra time, with Ángel Di María grabbing a late winner to send Argentina to the World Cup final for the first time since 2014. 

Score Prediction: Argentina 2-1 Croatia in Extra Time

Shaun Chornobroff: Sometimes in sports, a great story meets reality and there is no better conclusion to Lionel Messi’s final World Cup run than a championship. After advancing in penalty kicks against the Netherlands, Argentina will have to play complete soccer for 90 minutes against a formidable Croatia squad. But with strong goalkeeping and Messi backed not only by great skill, but destiny, I’m not betting against Argentina in this one. Croatia has the talent to win this game and I am by no means underestimating them, but Argentina has shown a mix of grit, star power and affinity for big moments that’s unmatched. 

Score Prediction: Argentina 3-1 Croatia, with a lot of Messi magic

Marissa Myers: Argentina is playing at peak form right now, and they enter a familiar spot in the final four, a spot they have never been eliminated from. Argentina has shown impressive poise to overcome situations late in games to secure victories, and it helps when you are led by Lionel Messi. Now, though, they face a Croatia team that has also overcome remarkable circumstances in their games to get a victory. Argentina will have to be on guard when Croatia gets within 12 yards of the goal, as that is where they are the most dangerous. Luka Modric will need to be the guy Argentina focuses on as he is the key player for the team. Croatia has relied on their defense, as only one game has ended in regular time. The offense for Argentina will find a way to test that defense and Argentina advances to the World Cup Final where Messi could finally end up getting the accolade he deserves. 

Score Prediction: Argentina 1-0 Croatia

Matt Levine: Argentina barely made their way to the semi-finals but within this tournament, a win is a win. This is just another step for them towards their ultimate goals of winning the World Cup. Leo Messi and this team fell just short of that quest in 2014 and are on a mission to not let that happen again. But this Croatia team is gritty and never gives up, just ask Brazil. Like Argentina, Croatia is on a mission to get back to the World Cup Final, where they lost in 2018 to France. This has the makings of a lower scoring game that comes down to the wire. Croatia will fight and make life tough on Argentina but when the final whistle blows, I see Messi going back to the final to finally try and bring home the ultimate prize.

Score Prediction: Argentina 2-1 Croatia

 

France vs. Morocco

Christian De Block: France vs. Morocco lines up as a matchup between two teams with completely different styles of play. Les Blues loves to play on the front foot, always looking to push the ball in transition with their pace. On the other hand, the Atlas Lions are more willing to concede possession against more well-rounded teams, with most of their goal-scoring opportunities coming on the counter attack. 

Didier Deschamps’ men have not played their best football in this tournament, yet they have made it all the way to the final four without it. Kylian Mbappé has led the way for the French, scoring five goals and registering two assists in five matches. If they play at the level they are capable of, France has the attacking talent to break down any defense remaining at the World Cup.

Speaking of, the defending of the Moroccan national team has grabbed the headlines throughout their run in Qatar. Morocco has conceded just one goal in five matches, which was an own goal against Canada in the final game of group play. The team kept a clean sheet against Spain across 120 minutes in the Round of 16 and followed that up with a 1-0 win against Portugal in the quarterfinals. Morocco may not create a lot of scoring chances, but when they do, they capitalize on them. 

I’m curious to see how Morocco defends Kylian Mbappé in transition. England sent a second defender as soon as the forward received the ball, which limited his impact in the final third. Achraf Hakimi loves to push forward as an attacking right-back, but most of his responsibilities will revolve around defending his club teammate. Morocco will need to limit his [Mbappé] opportunities to run into space, otherwise France may be ahead by two or three before the 65th minute.

Morocco has been incredible at this tournament, advancing past multiple European giants with their strong defense leading the way. While they will look to do the same in this match, France provides a test at a level that they have yet to take on. Even if they are able to neutralize Kylian Mbappé on the left, France will find goals from the likes of Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann. There is a blueprint for Morocco to win, especially if they were to score first. They [Morocco] have been the feel-good story of the World Cup, but this is where that will end. France wins and gets the chance to become the first repeat champions since Brazil did it back in 1958 and 1962.

Score Prediction: France 2-0 Morocco 

Shaun Chornobroff: After racing through the group stage and defeating both Spain and Portugal in the knockout rounds, you’d be a fool to completely count the Moroccans out of this one. They have an in-form defense, one of the best outside backs in the world and Hakim Ziyech, who on his day is especially dangerous. To win a game, the stars of this team will need to play at their peak. As much as I love a good underdog story, the Moroccans can’t play with this France team for 120 minutes. I think Morocco’s grit keeps them competitive, but an in-form Olivier Giroud, as well the likes of Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann will eventually prove to be too much. 

Score Prediction: France 1-0 Morocco in Extra Time

Marissa Myers: France is looking like a true force to take down. They have the tournament leading scorer in Kylian Mbappé, and a midfield that is extremely balanced and tough on opposing teams to face. While Mbappé has been on a scoring spree, Morocco has the defense to slow that down. When going against Portugal, Spain, Belgium, and Croatia, they didn’t allow a single goal. When going up against the cohesive offense of France though, Morocco will need to step it up as they have only scored five goals in their last five matches, and they will be without a main defender in Romain Saiss. It has been a great run for Morocco, and they have played far better than anyone expected them to, but they have taken some knocks, and against France they will find a way to attack that to get the win. 

Score Prediction: France 2-0 Morocco

Matt Levine: This is the definition of David vs Goliath. The defending champions in France are looking to get back to the World Cup Finals and go back-to-back. This game is going to come down to how well Morocco can defend the strong attack of France. Kylian Mbappé is a star and will likely make his presence known at some point in this match. He can change a game in an instant and Morocco must keep tabs on him at all times. Morocco isn’t going to be an easy win for the French however. They boast strong depth and a hope that not many countries understand at this point in the tournament. Morocco also has a nice defensive scheme they can roll out to try and counter the explosive offensive attack from France. I think Morocco fights and even may send this to PKs but France will advance, setting up an awesome final bout with Messi and Argentina. 

Score Prediction: France 1-1 Morocco (France wins in PKs)

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