France will continue their World Cup title defense as they face off against Morocco in the semifinals on Wednesday. Set to kick off at 2 p.m. ET from Al Bayt Stadium, the defending champs are the heavy favorites, priced at -185 on the moneyline. Morocco are clear underdogs at +600 while a draw in regular time is set at +300 at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Let’s take a look at how France advanced to the semifinals of the World Cup bracket.
France’s path to World Cup semifinals
France successfully broke the European World Cup champions’ curse, becoming the first European nation in over 20 years to avoid being sent home in the group stage after winning the previous tournament. It all started with France as they made a group stage exit in 2002 after winning their first title in 1998. It happened to three more European nations after that, with 2006 champions Italy seeing a group stage elimination in 2010, followed by 2010 winners Spain being sent home in 2014, and of course 2014 champions Germany making an early exit in 2018.
The French side finished on top of Group D this year fairly comfortably, locking up a berth in the knockout rounds after a 4-1 win over Australia and a 2-1 victory over Denmark to start the group stage. They suffered a 1-0 loss to Tunisia in the final group stage match, but Didier Deschamps chose to rest most of his usual starters to save their energy for the round of 16.
The round of 16 saw France meet up with Robert Lewandowski and Poland, who had advanced out of the group stage for the first time since 1986. Les Bleus had no trouble with the Polish side, securing a comfortable 3-1 win thanks to a goal from Olivier Giroud and a brace from Kylian Mbappe.
In the quarterfinals, they were in for a tougher test against an England side who looked extremely potent throughout the group stage. Although the Three Lions outshot their opponents, France secured a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Aurelien Tchouameni and Olivier Giroud. England’s Harry Kane took two penalties throughout the course of the match, making the first one but missing the second in the 84th minute that surely would have sent the match into extra time.
Now, France has an opportunity to reach the final for a second consecutive World Cup, but they’ll have to get through Morocco first. The Moroccan side have been on an incredible Cinderella run throughout this tournament, sending giants Spain and Portugal home in the knockout rounds so far.