FIFA WORLD CUP 2022 – SEMI FINAL PREVIEW
And then there were four. As always, comprehensive free live coverage will be offered in the UK by BBC and ITV.
Ladies and gentlemen we have reached, to steal a phrase from Alex Ferguson, squeaky bum time! The World Cup semi-finals are here and we have only four games left in this World Cup. The semi-finals are fascinating match-ups and could lead to a predictable final, a final that nobody would have dreamed of, or there could be something in between. This most unpredictable of World Cups promises to have at least one more surprise in store between now and Sunday’s final.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 will take place in qatar from Sunday 20 November until 18 DECEMBER.
The unpredictability and drama have been the saving graces of this World Cup it must be said. The quality of football has left a lot to be desired and the atmosphere in the stadiums and the fan zones have fallen way short of what’s expected at a World Cup
Let’s take a look at the semi-finals.
It is the first World Cup to be held at this time of the year, so that has also challenged broadcasters BBC and ITV, who will be sharing the coverage while balancing this tournament with some of their flagship shows.
FIFA World Cup 2022 Semi Final | Argentina vs Croatia
Tuesday 13 December | 1900 GMT | ITVX Live TV Streaming
Lionel Messi’s dream to win the World Cup remains alive and it could well be suggested that the manner in which the quarter-finals played out substantially raised the belief that the little maestro from Rosario might finally get his hands on the most precious trophy that football has to offer. This will be just the sixth ever meeting between these sides, but is their third contest at a World Cup.
In 1998 the met in the group stage, and Argentina triumphed on the day with a Mauricio Pineda goal giving them a 1-0 win and securing top spot in the group. Argentina would go on to knockout England before losing to the Netherlands in a bad tempered game in the quarter-finals. It might have worked out better for them if they had lost and finished in second place, as Croatia were matched up with Romania, who they defeated to advance to a tie with Germany. They knocked out the Germans but lost to eventual winners France in the semi-finals.
In 2018 they once again met in the group stage, but this time it was Croatia who came out on top and they did so in style. Ante Rebic, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic inflicted the damage as Croatia won 3-0 while roaring through Group D to finish with a perfect record of three wins from three games. Both sides advanced from the group and would eventually lose to France. Argentina were beaten by the eventual winners in the Round of 16 after a thrilling game, while Croatia ended the competition as beaten finalists.
So what we’ve learned from these previous games is that if Argentina and Croatia meet at a World Cup, Croatia will reach a semi-final, and that if Croatia reach a semi-final then France will win the World Cup.
Argentina made things hard for themselves against the Netherlands, taking a 2-0 lead with goals by Nahuel Molina, after a moment of genius from Messi, and a penalty by Messi himself. As with their game against Australia in the previous round, they began to look extremely shaky while in a commanding position and two late goals from Wout Weghorst forced the game into extra-time. The last 25 minutes of normal time, 15 minutes of regulation time and 10 minutes of stoppage time, were a real reminder of what World Cup football really is as two great rivals combined goals, drama, needle and flat out violence. Argentina went on to win the game on penalties with goalkeeper Emi Martinez of Aston Villa making himself a hero with two outstanding saves in the shoot-out.
Croatia knocked out many people’s favourites, Brazil, in the quarter-finals showing the same dogged determination and refusal to accept defeat that served them so well four years ago in Russia, and in the previous round against Japan. Croatia actually outplayed Brazil for much of the 90 minutes but seemed to be slowing down in extra-time and when Brazil took the lead through Neymar in stoppage time at the end of the first half of extra-time, it seemed like their time in this competition was coming to an end. Brazil seemed to think they had the game won and began to playing a bit arrogantly and Croatia punished them. Orsic broke down the right, crossed for Petkovic who had barely looked like a footballer to that point and his shot found the net via a deflection off Marquinhos. It was the Croatians who held their nerve in the shootout and goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic following on from his shootout heroics against Japan with another big save, after an outstanding performance throughout the game.
This is a really difficult game to predict. Both teams have reached this stage of the competition on merit, though neither have truly sparkled yet. This game will likely be won and lost in midfield, the strongest area of the pitch for both sides. DePaul-Fernandez-MacAllister vs Kovacic-Brozovic-Modric. Whoever comes out on top will probably take their place in Sunday’s final, with the other having to make do with Saturday’s third place playoff.
FIFA World Cup 2022 Semi Final | France vs Morocco
Wednesday 14 December | 1900 GMT | BBC Live TV Streaming
Some games are just bigger than football, and you can be certain that this is one of them.
These teams have met seven times, but never at a World Cup. France have won five of those games with the others ending in a draw. The last game between them was 15 years ago. They don’t have a footballing history between them, but they do have history between them as countries. France, as a result of the Treaty of Fez in 1912, took control of Morocco and would rule there for over two decades. Nobody forgets that type of thing in a hurry and you can rest assured it will come up as the Moroccans seeks extra motivation for their tired and heavy legs.
France turned in a disappointing performance against England in the quarter-final but goals from Aurelian Tchouameni and Olivier Giroud gave them a 2-1 which kept them on track to become the first team to win back-to-back World Cups since Brazil in 1958 and 1962, and only the third ever along with Italy who achieved the feat in 1934 and 1938. Their biggest issues came in defense where both Dayot Upamecano and Theo Hernandez had poor games. Going forward they created far better chances than their opponents but still seemed short of ideas outside of “Give it to Mbappe”. With England dedicating three players to stopping the PSG superstar, it created opportunities and space for Tchouameni to score and Griezmann to pull the strings but it did leave France without a consistent outball. Didier Deschamps might have to consider at least one change in defense, with Ibrahima Konate replacing Upamecano the obvious change.
Morocco followed up their heroic win over Spain, with an equally incredible showing against Portugal and claimed a 1-0 win through Youssef En-Nesyri’s towering header just before half-time. They overcame the absences of Nayef Aguerd and Noussair Mazaoui, and the in-game injury to Romain Saiss to once again put on a defensive clinic. Morocco’s defensive unit, including midfielders Selim Amallah, the monstrous Sofyan Amrabat and the excellent Azzedine Ounahi have been their ticket to the promised land. You could make a case to include their entire back four and at least two of their midfielders in a team of the tournament so far. The only goal they’ve conceded was an own-goal against Canada and they have kept clean sheets against Croatia, Belgium, Spain and Portugal. It’s been an incredible run, made all the more special by the fact that they are the first African country, the first Arab Nation, and the first majority Muslim group, to reach a World Cup semi-final. What better place for them to have this run than in Qatar.
France will be heavy favourites going into this game, but if both sides play the way they did in the quarter-finals then Morocco stand a great chance of causing an upset. They will have incredible support behind them as Africa, the Arab world and Muslims everywhere, likely including many in France, come together to support this incredible team who have overcome injuries and a truly difficult path to this stage of the competition. No matter what happens, Morocco have done themselves proud.
How to watch the FIFA World Cup 2022 from anywhere…
The FIFA World Cup 2022 will be streamed live for free on BBC and ITV as well as their respective BBC iPlayer and ITVX apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, Smart TV, Now TV, FireTV etc.
But these streaming services are not available to everyone, for example when you load Sky Sport in the USA, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, France, Spain, Portugal, Australia, Dubai, Canada etc. you will get an error message.
BBC IPLAYER ONLY WORKS IN THE UK. SORRY, IT’S DUE TO RIGHTS ISSUES. IN THE UK? HERE’S SOME ADVICE.
This is basically because their streaming services are geoblocked based on the IP address being used to access it. You must be a UK domestic web user to access BBC and ITVX live tv streaming.
- Get a UK IP address for the FIFA World Cup 2022 Semi Finals
- If you want to watch on your Windows PC, Mac, FireTV, iPhone, iPad or Android then you can get a UK Proxy or VPN Apps from Liberty Shield, FREE for 48 hours and then from only £8.99 per month.
- Prefer to watch on supported media streaming devices like Now TV, Smart TVs, Apple TV, Xbox, PS4, Roku etc? You’ll need a UK configured VPN Router setup as British, available from only £22.99 with Worldwide Shipping available.
Furthermore; BBC and ITVX aren’t the only geographically-censored streaming services a VPN or Proxy will allow you to access. Other UK services like Channel 4, Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime and BritBox are available. Plus with the option to switch to our USA service whenever you like, you can access Hulu, HBO GO, Netflix and Pandora. Essentially you can access international content from virtually anywhere!