We are down to the final four in the 2022 World Cup, but who is value to make it to the final? Jake Osgathorpe uses Infogol's xG model to highlight some best bets.
Using Infogol's xG model and probabilities, this article will aim to provide a verdict for who will is most likely to win their quarter-final and advance to the semis.
1pt Croatia to qualify for the final at 23/10 (Unibet)
0.5pt Morocco to qualify for the final at 7/2 (Unibet)
Usually, reigning world champions don't fare very well the following tournament. Not France.
They beat England 2-1 to make it to the semi-finals, with Didier Deschamps' side just two wins from retaining their title.
Morocco stand in their way after their remarkable run that has seen them claim the scalps of Spain and Portugal on their way to becoming the first African side in World Cup history to make it to the last four.
Defence has been their game plan, and boy has it been effective at Qatar.
Despite playing Belgium, fellow semi-finalists and 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia, 2010 World Cup winners Spain and 2016 Euro winners Portugal, the Atlas Lions have allowed just 1.15 xGA per game and are yet to concede to an opposition player - the only goal they have allowed coming via an own goal.
They have proven incredibly difficult to break down, conceding just six non-penalty big chances (0.35 xG+) in five games, with their organised deep-block coupled with brave play on the ball seeing them rack up the shocks.
France will have issues creating chances in this game, and Les Bleus haven't exactly been prolific in the knockouts so far.
Against a poor Poland side, France created just 1.25 xGF, while against England they mustered just 1.41 xGF.
Also, somewhat interestingly, Deschamps' side have conceded three penalties in two knockout games, highlighting their rashness in defence that could potentially be exploited by a savvy Moroccan side.
The current holders are understandable favourites to progress, but they are too short at 1/4 (1.25 - 80%), with Infogol making the French 2/5 (1.40 - 71%) to qualify.
It seems the underdogs are again being underestimated by the market, which is surprising in what has been a World Cup of shocks, so backing MOROCCO TO QUALIFY and do the unthinkable by making it to the final is the value play.
We can get 7/2 (4.5 - 22%) about the Atlas Lions, with the model making them closer to 12/5 (3.4 - 29%), so the underdogs are worth chancing.
Wow, we were treated to two incredible spectacles on Friday, with both Argentina and Croatia seeing their quarter-finals go all the way to penalties in dramatic fashion.
Argentina had their vulnerabilities exposed when shipping two late goals to throw away a seemingly comfortable lead against the Netherlands, while Croatia were perhaps fortunate not to have lost in normal time against Brazil but went on to show incredible resolve when going behind in extra-time.
La Albiceleste have been the more impressive of the two from a data standpoint, averaging 2.11 xGF and just 0.37 xGA per game in Qatar. They are a team who don't concede many high-quality chances.
As for the Croats, they have ridden their luck - and on the shoulders of their in-form goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic - to get this far. They have conceded over 2.0 xG in both knockout games against Japan and Brazil, but have found a way to come through both ties on penalties.
That has been the story of their recent success in major tournaments, as don't forget, Croatia made it all the way to the final in the 2018 World Cup.
In fact, after their game against Brazil, eight of their last nine knockout games have been level at the end of 90 minutes and settled either by extra-time or penalties.
That tells you everything you need to know about the mental and physical strength of this experienced team, and it wouldn't be a surprise if they did the same thing yet again in this contest, which will be one of fine margins.
The bookies don't see it that way though, as they make Argentina the 2/5 ( 71%) favourites to advance, making Croatia a 23/10 (30%) shot.
That means that, yet again, CROATIA represent value in the 'TO QUALIFY' market, and should be backed to end Lionel Messi's World Cup dream.
We successfully backed them at 9/2 (5.50) to advance past Brazil, so the 23/10 (3.30) may seem like a big shortening of price, but the Infogol model suggests the drop between Brazil and Argentina is that big.
Against Brazil, Infogol gave Croatia just a 23% (33/10 - 4.30) chance of qualifying, with that percentage increasing to 35% (37/20 - 2.85) against Argentina.
We can expect another battling display from a Croatia team who just know how to get over the line in these contests, so we should again get a good run for our money with Zlatko Dalić's side again the value play.
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