The semifinal matches of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, in which Croatia will face Argentina and France will play Morocco, appear to be a showcase for perseverance on the field and a victory of realism over genius.
After a nail-biting penalty shootout victory over Brazil that had the pre-tournament favourites in tears, Croatia advanced to the semifinals for the second time in four years.
The Croatians’ never-say-die attitude, combined with the skill of seasoned midfielder Luka Modric and defender Dejan Lovren, led to a strong defensive performance and demonstrated that they are a team that does not know how to give up, according to the Xinhua news agency. They have recently taken many ties in the knockout stages of major tournaments to extra time.
Every team in the final four has a standout player, but Lionel Messi stands out for Argentina because the 35-year-old is playing in what is almost certainly his final World Cup and looked like a man on a mission as he led his team to victories over Australia in the round of 16 and the Netherlands in a shootout in the quarterfinals.
Although Emiliano Martinez, the shootout winner, is a great goalkeeper and Messi has capable lieutenants in Julian Alvarez and Enzo Fernandez, Argentina as a whole seems to be a team of players performing better than the sum of their individual parts.
That is a testament to the Argentine players’ and coach Lionel’s character.
The semifinal will be tactical and challenging rather than brilliant.
After beating Portugal to go to the World Cup semifinals as the first African team, Morocco coach Walid Regragui referred to his team as the “Rocky of this World Cup.” This is perhaps a fair description.
Morocco scored first and then made sure that Portugal didn’t, with to goalie Bono stopping everything Portugal threw at them. They demonstrated complete dedication to the cause, and a stadium full of supporters encouraged them to make history.
A potential issue is that a team that is so committed on defence would struggle to attack at some stage.
Current champions With a thrilling 2-1 victory over England, France advanced to the semifinals. The French are possibly the exception to the rule. a team that is capable of unitary defence and has a terrifying attack.
While England played outstanding defence to stop Kylian Mbappe on Saturday, they were unable to stop Olivier Giroud from scoring, and Aurelien Tchouameni’s goal in the 17th minute was the kind of goal for which you can never really prepare. He hit the ball at over 100 km/h and curled it away from goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Antoine Griezmann, who contributed two assists and provided coverage in midfield while he whizzed over the field, was France’s man for all seasons.
Didier Deschamps, the coach of France, said before the game that he was not putting aside the semifinals, but in addition to team spirit and discipline, France also has a little bit more in attack that, once more, might be important.