The World Cup semifinal matches between Argentina and Croatia and France and Morocco are approaching. Jones Knows, a Sky Sports handicapper, looks for some betting opportunities for the two crucial games. Jones Knows believes there is a lot of value in backing Argentina’s defense to maintain a clean sheet against Croatia since it doesn’t receive nearly enough praise.
Argentina vs Croatia, Tuesday at 7 pm
If Argentina wins the World Cup, Lionel Messi will take center stage, and for good reason. While the cameras are on him, we should also be applauding this Argentina team for their tactical organization during their defensive play.
My colleague Adam Bate’s quote, “There is a simpatico relationship between one genius and the 10 men who appear eager to do anything and everything that is required to aid him,” sums up Argentina’s approach to this World Cup well.
It’s a work of art and a perfect demonstration of how to limit the opposition to remote possibilities. Argentina has only allowed 22 shots on goal in five World Cup games, giving them an overall expected goals-against figure of 1.83. To put it into perspective, Croatia allowed 21 shots against Brazil, with a 2.53 expected goals ratio.
These absurd figures translate to an average of 4.4 shots allowed and 0.36 projected goals against every 90 minutes. Even Manchester City cannot operate at those levels of defense.
However, Argentina has managed to give up five goals, including two against Saudi Arabia, which is swiftly emerging as one of the most bizarre outcomes in World Cup history. When analyzing the anticipated goals against data, I believe that the market overrides the actual record, making it a valuable bet to pick Argentina to win this game without conceding, especially against a defensively reticent attacking team like Croatia.
They simply lack the speed and offensive purpose to seriously worry an Argentina squad with such incredible defensive stats. Croatia has scored just two goals in their other four games, and even their late equalizer against Brazil, which was their first shot on goal in the game, was reeking of the fluke element. This is except for going off against an open Canada team.
France vs Morocco, Wednesday at 7 pm
Is this the World Cup match in which Morocco allows a goal to be scored by a rival?
They are facing a French front four that has started together in four games and has produced explosive attacking numbers. Oliver Giroud and Antoine Griezmann stepped up even after Kyle Walker contained Kylian Mbappe.
This, however, is not a traditional French side. Without the ball, they have structural issues that Morocco will be able to take advantage of. Given the boisterous Moroccan crowd and the fact that France is playing what might technically be considered an away game, the 1/2 odds offered by Sky Bet for a 90-minute France victory look very thin. This one seems like it could go all the way.
The game state is probably going to demand Morocco to play with much more aggressive intent as their tournament is on the line in light of the deadly French onslaught that was used to find a way through. Investing in the Morocco shots line, which appears to be an angle to take advantage of with the line set at nine or more shots at Evens with Sky Bet, is one method to profit from such a scenario.
Despite the low-scoring nature of semi-finals, during the last 20 last-four games, teams have averaged just over 13 shots per 90 minutes as teams take more risks when they are in danger of losing so the game can become more open France is not a team, as well.
The quest of Croatia to reach the World Cup final for a second straight year, France’s defense of their title, Morocco’s incredible run, and Lionel Messi’s date with destiny. Even though England was eliminated, the semifinals in Qatar look exciting.
To solidify his status as the best player ever, Messi leads Argentina into the World Cup semifinals to win the tournament on the last day. But the steadfast Luka Modric and a Croatian team determined to advance further than they did in Russia four years ago stand in their way.
In the meantime, France is attempting to make history by winning back-to-back World Cups, joining Brazil in 1962. However, they do face a Moroccan team that is striving to make history by becoming the first country from Africa to advance to the final.
Is Messi, to end the GOAT debate?
Messi collapsed to his knees after the final whistle and the entire squad ran to their captain as Argentina defeated Brazil to win the Copa America at the Maracana Stadium in the summer of 2021.
The sole blemish on an otherwise great career was his first-ever trophy on an international platform. The World Cup is the last component of the puzzle.
The stakes have never been higher for Messi after witnessing Cristiano Ronaldo concede defeat in his quest for this most elusive of prizes. Before his Copa America victory, Ronaldo held a slim lead in the now 14-year-long competition to be the best of a generation, if not ever. Messi may now make the final score.
The celebrations from two summers ago demonstrate how much the Argentina players would value winning this World Cup. Not only are they doing it for their nation, but also Messi.
The little forward has so far lived up to his potential and nearly led his country to the final four. Only his teammate Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain is ahead of him in the Qatar Golden Boot competition thanks to his four goals and two assists.
Messi was sometimes criticized in his native Argentina for choosing Barcelona over the international competition, but he has allayed those worries in recent years and has come into great shape just in time for the finals in Qatar. On his path to the semifinals, he scored in each of the knockout games against Australia and the Netherlands.
This is his opportunity to succeed in what he failed to do in the 2014 final against Germany in Brazil. to accomplish what Diego Maradona did. to return the World Cup to Argentina.