Morocco eliminated two European powerhouses in its pursuit of the FIFA World Cup trophy, making it hard to predict if they can do it three times in a row — this time against the 2018 World Cup champion France.
The Moroccans were the first Africans to ever advance to the semi-finals — and in fashion. They first defeated Spain in Round 16, forcing the Spaniards to go over the time limit and into a penalty shootout. Morocco won the bout 3-0.
Their star player, Achraf Hakimi, was the man that night. He overcame the pressure of beating Spain, which he eventually did via a dink.
The next victim was Portugal. It was Morocco that prevented the five-time Ballon d’Or recipient Cristiano Ronaldo miss on the chance of ever getting his hand on the World Cup trophy.
The Seleçãos, however, was defeated in a different style. In the 42nd minute of their match last December 10, Youssef En-Nesyri penetrated Portugal’s defense and scored the game’s single goal.
Their other previous opponents — Croatia, Belgium, and Canada — also had a hard time shattering their defense. Canada luckily managed to get one point due to a mistake by one of Morocco’s players. Belgium, on the other hand, was scoreless, while they had a draw against Croatia.
The African’s defense can also be associated with how well their goalkeeper keeps the scores leveled. During their game against Spain, goalie Yassine “Bono” Bounou was able to foil the Spaniards’ scoring attempts. He had two saves that match.
They also kept Portugal scoreless when they played each other last Saturday. Even Gonçalo Ramos, the player that replaced Ronaldo as a starter, could not make a single dent in the Moroccan defense. Take note that Ramos was the one who scored thrice in their 6-1 over Switzerland.
Can France Shatter Morocco’s Defense?
When it comes to defense, France is the better defender than Morocco, according to the football website WhoScored. Compared to the Moroccans’ 6.72 defensive ratings, the French have 6.88 — the second-best defense in the series.
If to predict the World Cup semi-final victory between the two, France is expected to have the advantage. Statistics showed that the French are also superior when it comes to offense. Before facing Morocco, they accumulated 11 goals in the tournament. Their opponent, on the other hand, has five.
In terms of possessions, France dominates, with 55.2% that the ball is with them. Morocco, meanwhile, only has 31.6%.
The French are also the favorite for this matchup which will happen this Thursday, December 15. At OKBET, France has lower odds than Morocco for the 1×2 and Handicap.
However, the Morocco team managed to upset two heavy World Cup contenders. There is a chance that they may do the same when they meet France.
What do you think? Will Morocco advance to the Finals, or will the favorite go instead?
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