Perhaps the most unexpected semi-final in 20 years will see France take on Morocco. Certainly few brackets would have had the African nation emerging to be a game away from the World Cup Final, but the Atlas Lions can point to some impressive wins and say “scoreboard” at this point. Many expected France to be here, but can France overcome the existential question: how can a team that does not want the ball be so good at soccer?
France got here by beating England thanks to England doing what England does and missing a penalty. That wasn’t the only factor in the result, but a late miss from Harry Kane allows us all to stand back and point and laugh at England for living up to their billing as chronic underachievers. Once again, it’s not coming home. Of course, France truly deserve credit. Their front three have been fantastic as Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappé have provided most of the fire-power with Mbappé truly stamping his claim as best player in the world. Their defense has been solid, though the team has allowed a goal in every match they’ve played including a 1-0 loss to Tunisia in the group.
After knocking off all of the Iberian Peninsula, Morocco will set its sights on the Land of the Franks and hope to press on to the final. Morocco can be characterized by its defense. The team has given up one goal the whole World Cup... to itself. They play a low block and counter while keeping players back to defend when they lose the ball. They are well coached, sneaky talented and have mastered the concept of two well organized blocks of four on defense. The team might be without Romain Saiss at centerback which would be a big loss, but their strategy won’t change.
France will have most of the ball because Morocco do not want the ball. The game will be decided on which team makes the fewest mistakes and if Les Bleus keep up their habit of letting teams score on them, another upset might be in the cards. On the other hand, it might just take a moment of individual brilliance to set up a France vs. Argentina Final.
How to watch
Morocco vs. France
Location: Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Kick-off time: 2:00pm Eastern, 11:00am Pacific
Available TV: Fox (English), Telemundo (Spanish)
Available streaming: Fox Sports Go (App/Website), Telemundo (Website), Peacock (Website), FuboTV (Free Trial), SiriusXM FC (Radio)
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