In football, a missed Harry Kane penalty is a prized possession, and Didier Deschamps claimed that France was the “fortunate” recipient of such good fortune when the defending champions stopped England from winning the match in a thrilling quarterfinal.
The victory for France was secured by Aurelien Tchouameni’s thunderbolt and Olivier Giroud’s header either side of a precise Kane penalty, though Bleus supporters were both relieved and shocked when the England captain blazed a second spot kick over the bar.
France also had to survive a late Marcus Rashford free kick which nestled onto the roof of the net, and referee Wilton Sampaio found himself at the centre of controversy too, but a place in the semi-final was wholly deserved for a Bleus side whose aspirations of back-to-back titles are still alive.
It has been 84 years since a European country managed to reach consecutive World Cup finals; the Italian greats of 1934 and 1938 were the most recent to do so. Les Bleus did not win any of their first three World Cup semi-finals, but they have since won on their last three occasions in 1998, 2006, and 2018.
Before facing Morocco in the World Cup 2022 semifinal, France made sure they would still be without a clean sheet by surrendering to Kane from the penalty spot. Morocco, in comparison, is undoubtedly an expert at keeping opponents at bay even with defensive alterations being forced upon them.
Whatever happens on Wednesday at the Al Bayt Stadium, the current Moroccan crop has already solidified their position in both national and continental folklore as the first ever African country to advance to the World Cup semifinals.
Walid Regragui’s stand-ins performed admirably to hold back a Selecao, and a Youssef En-Nesyri header was all it took for the Atlas Lions to make African history. Walid Regragui was forced to play without Nayef Aguerd and Noussair Mazraoui while facing a Portugal side that had hit Switzerland for six goals.
Morocco would be deserving finalists after defeating three international juggernauts, Belgium, Spain, and Portugal, and winning the most points possible, and the Atlas Lions enter the semi-final having remarkably prevented opposing players from scoring in the entire tournament so far.
Regragui’s team has kept four clean sheets so far in Qatar, with Aguerd’s own goal against Canada the lone exception.
Moroccan supporters should take pride in this statistic, as the last two teams to do so at the same World Cup were Italy in 2006 and Spain in 2010, both of whom went on to win the title.
1×2 Betting Odds
Although Morocco’s outstanding defensive fortitude remained unaffected by their injury concerns against Portugal, further injury issues in the backline could undoubtedly bring a stop to their streak of clean sheets.
For what may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Regragui’s injured warriors may very well try to hurry themselves back, and a France squad that has only required Mbappe to be in the starting lineup to win World Cup matches will undoubtedly take advantage.
The defending champions are undoubtedly the favourites to go to another World Cup final, with odds @ 1.55.
This is the farthest any country from Africa has gone in the World Cup. And their odds of reaching the ultimate destination stands @ 8.
The possibility that the match goes to extra time by ending in a stalemate after 90 stands @ 4.1.
Total goals over/under
The odds that the total number of goals score will be over 2.5, stands @ 2.32.
While the odds that the total number of goals will be under 2.5, stands @ 1.68.