World Cup Predictions 2022: Projecting Semifinal Winners After Examining Odds

Joe TanseyDecember 11, 2022

World Cup Predictions 2022: Projecting Semifinal Winners After Examining Odds

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    TOPSHOT - France's forward #26 Marcus Thuram (L) and France's forward #07 Antoine Griezmann celebrate with their supporters after they won the Qatar 2022 World Cup quarter-final football match between England and France at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha, on December 10, 2022. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)
    FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

    The four FIFA World Cup semifinalists find themselves in the same positions on the odds board as they were in the last round.

    Argentina and France are once again favored to get through to the next round.

    That may be the best possible final from a neutral perspective because it would pit Lionel Messi against Kylian Mbappé as Argentina looks to win Messi's elusive World Cup crown and France tries to repeat.

    Croatia and Morocco have won as underdogs in Qatar and they will put together game plans that frustrate Argentina and France.

    Both underdogs have become masters of playing the long game to win low-scoring games in the 90 minutes, extra time, or to win penalty kicks.

    There is a gap in overall talent on the field between the semifinal opponents, but there are some matchups that may lead you away from the favorites and to the underdogs.

    There are also other ways to bet on the two games if you do not have a clear-cut feeling about who will win.

Argentina vs. Croatia

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    Argentina's forward #10 Lionel Messi and Argentina's midfielder #05 Leandro Paredes celebrate after qualifying to the next round after defeating Netherlands in the penalty shoot-out of the Qatar 2022 World Cup quarter-final football match between Netherlands and Argentina at Lusail Stadium, north of Doha, on December 9, 2022. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP) (Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images)
    ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images

    90-Minute Money Line

    Argentina (-125; bet $125 to win $100)

    Croatia (+400; bet $100 to win $400)

    To Advance to Final

    Argentina (-255)

    Croatia (+205)

    Argentina has Lionel Messi on its side as a big advantage against Croatia.

    But history is also in favor of the Albiceleste. They have never lost a World Cup semifinal match.

    Argentina has two wins in regular time and two in extra time and penalties in that stretch of games.

    Argentina has been to five finals, but it is only 4-0 in straight semifinal games. The 1978 World Cup had two group stages. The second group stage determined the finalists and third-place game participants.

    Messi will be the best player on the field in the matchup with Croatia. The superstar has four goals in the tournament. He scored once in each of the knockout round games in Qatar.

    Croatia will try to limit Messi's time on the ball, but as we have seen in previous games, all it takes are one or two moments for the playmaker to come to life.

    Luka Modrić will attempt to run the game for Croatia in midfield. The Real Madrid man was everywhere in the penalty win over Brazil, and he made it hard for Neymar and others to create clear-cut chances. Dominik Livaković was however in unstoppable form.

    Livaković is Croatia's X-factor. He made a handful of saves in both penalty shootouts to reach the semifinals and he was masterful in the 120 minutes against Brazil to get to penalties.

    Livaković is the top candidate for the Golden Glove award given to the tournament's top goalkeeper. If he is able to keep Argentina from getting on the scoresheet, Croatia could hold on for another long game, or strike for a goal of its own.

    The problem with that strategy is Argentina is as comfortable winning a 1-0 game as Croatia. The Albiceleste held the Dutch scoreless for 82 minutes in the quarterfinals and did not concede a goal to an opposing player in three straight games.

    Messi can win the game with a moment of brilliance, but Argentina's path to the final is through a back line that has been strong for most of the tournament and conceded once in the knockout round of the 2021 Copa America.

    Prediction: Argentina 1, Croatia 0

    Best Bet: Under 2.5 Goals (-190)

    Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

France vs. Morocco

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    France's forward #10 Kylian Mbappe celebrates the team's victory in the Qatar 2022 World Cup quarter-final football match between England and France at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha, on December 10, 2022. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP) (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images)
    JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images

    90-Minute Money Line:

    France (-190)

    Morocco (+650)

    To Advance to Final:

    France (-400)

    Morocco (+300)

    France is attempting to achieve a rare feat in World Cup history.

    Les Bleus are trying to become the first team since Brazil in 1994, 1998 and 2002 to reach the final in consecutive World Cups.

    Didier Deschamps' side can also be the first team to defend its World Cup title since Brazil in 1962.

    To get to the final, France has to get through a brutally tough Morocco defense.

    Morocco has not given up a goal to an opposing player in five games in Qatar. Canada's own goal is the only tally against the Atlas Lions.

    France has the offensive unit, led by Kylian Mbappé, to break down the Moroccan stronghold in front of goal.

    Antoine Griezmann was the key to breaking down England in the quarterfinals, as he had two assists. He has four assists in the knockout rounds of the last World Cup.

    If Morocco tries to contain Mbappé, Griezmann, Olivier Giroud and Ousmane Dembele have to work harder to create chances.

    France scored multiple goals in every game so far in Qatar in which its first team started. France lost 1-0 to Tunisia at the end of the group stage. France played its second team for 60 minutes before making changes as they had already qualified from the group.

    Morocco will provide a strong test to the French attackers, but they have proved they can get the job done.

    The African side will have to match France's offensive intensity if goals break out. Morocco only has five goals in Qatar and scored once in the knockout round.

    France's defense has not held a clean sheet in Qatar, so there is hope for Youssef En-Nesyri, Hakim Ziyech and others to convert on chances against Hugo Lloris.

    The edge on Wednesday will be France's ability to create chances in multiple ways. The well-rounded attack could prove to be too much to handle for Morocco and that could end the greatest underdog story in World Cup history.

    Prediction: France 3, Morocco 1

    Best Bet: Over 2.5 Goals (+130)

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