- Al Bayt Stadium
- BBC One
- Morocco have scored five goals in as many games at the World Cup
- France are yet to keep a clean sheet in Qatar
- France have the big game experience in tournaments
- Olivier Giroud has scored in both of Les Bleus’ knockout games
Morocco test for holders France
Morocco have already made history in Qatar by becoming the first ever African team to reach a World Cup semi-final but if they are to go one better they will need to dump out defending champions France on Wednesday.
The Atlas Lions should go into the game with no fear after seeing off Spain in the last 16 and then Portugal in the quarter-finals, but they will need to raise their levels further to overcome France.
Morocco are rated as huge underdogs at around 7/1 to win this game. Given their performances so far they look to have been underestimated but instead of the outright match markets both teams to score looks a good starting point for this game.
French look vulnerable at the back
Morocco’s success in Qatar has been built on an almost impenetrable defence. Only Canada have managed to break the North Africans’ resolve and they’ve managed clean sheets against Croatia (0-0), Belgium (2-0), Spain (0-0) and Portugal (1-0) on route to the last four.
Walid Regragui’s men will set up to frustrate France but it is hard to see this talented Les Bleus side failing to score in 90 minutes. Forward Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe are in-form and they managed to score twice against England in the previous round despite not playing particularly well, with Giroud on target against the Three Lions.
However, Morocco should be good for a goal themselves as they have only drawn blanks against Croatia and Spain. Both of those sides are arguably better at the back than the French, who are yet to keep a clean sheet at the World Cup and going back further have just one shut-out in their last 11 games.
Big game experience gives France the edge
Morocco’s rise under former Ajaccio defender Regragui, who only took charge at the end of August, has been remarkable but this could well be where their fairytale journey comes to an end.
France managed to find a way to win against England despite being second best for large periods of that game and this is a team that is used to winning. Boss Didier Deschamps has been in charge since 2012 and has led the team to a World Cup title, a Nations League trophy and a European Championship final.
The French players are used to playing in big games and this team is well versed in tournament football, particularly the business end of major events, while this will be a relatively new experience for Morocco, who were eliminated in the African Cup of Nations quarter-finals in their last tournament.
Aside from a 4-1 win over Australia in their opener, France haven’t really put any team to the sword in this competition and a 2-1 win for Deschamps’ men looks a reasonable correct score bet. Morocco’s defensive play has been exceptional so the French are unlikely to blow them away and a one-goal winning margin appeals – as four of the last eight World Cup semi-finals have been decided by one-goal margins and three of them have required extra time.
Mbappe will always stand out when it comes to a potential scorer but Giroud may be the man to back here. France’s record scorer has four goals in Qatar in total and has scored in both of their knockout games, so back the AC Milan veteran to add to his World Cup haul against Morocco.
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