WATCH: World Cup Semi-Final Picks and Predictions

By Dean Ryan
 |  3 mins
8E3DFB6F-93D4-478C-99D9-112C2BB6C04E  Fact Checked by Charlie Mullan
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WATCH: World Cup Semi-Final Picks and Predictions

We’ve now reached the final four of the 2022 World Cup, and there are at least a couple of teams that many people wouldn’t have chosen as their World Cup picks with World Cup betting sites before the tournament began.

Two of the outright favorites to be World Cup winner before the start of the competition are still going strong in France and Argentina, but can they take down their semi-final opponents Morocco and Croatia?

Tom Lee is once again joined by former USMNT and Premier League goalkeeper Brad Freidel to discuss the first semi-final, inconsistent refereeing, the futures of Jude Bellingham and Gareth Southgate, and plenty more.

Different Refereeing Cultures Make for Inconsistent Calls

England played out a dramatic 2-1 defeat to France in the final quarter-final of the round, with Harry Kane missing from the penalty spot in the last 10 minutes that would have taken the game to extra time. 

However, much of the discourse after the game was based on the performance of referee Wilton Sampaio. Many viewers with an England allegiance felt he had a poor game, with a potential foul in the build up to the first France goal and another penalty not given to England in the first half among the controversial calls.

Sampaio is among the refs staying in Qatar and could feasibly be in line to officiate the final. Brad thinks some of the calls made Saturday were due to the difference in cultures between the English and his native Brazilian domestic games.

The pressure on a referee to govern the match in the way a European referee might have done can sometimes lead to additional fouls not being given.

Gareth Southgate Should Stay for Continuity

England have come away from their quarter-final defeat to France with great credit, with most observers agreeing that the Three Lions were hard done by when losing to a French team that is the tournament favorite on soccer betting apps.

Since this was manager Gareth Southgate’s third tournament with England, there have been calls in some quarters that he should leave his role or even be sacked by the FA. Brad doesn’t agree and thinks instead that continuity in the manager position can only help in the long run with such a young squad.

Jude Bellingham Will Move to Where He is a Starter

Bellingham was one of the breakout stars of the World Cup, with people all around the world lavishing the 19-year-old with praise and touting him as a potential future England captain. However, it is his future at club level that has got most people talking with many of the best soccer betting sites taking prices on his next destination, with a Premier League club the current favorites.

The midfielder moved to Borussia Dortmund from Birmingham City in 2020, and he could command a huge transfer from a number of clubs. However, Brad feels like he has played his way into being particularly choosey with his suitors. Given his increased stature, Brad thinks Bellingham will simply choose the team that provides the most playing opportunity for him.

Argentina Will Likely Try to Focus on Luka Modric

Luka Modric won the Golden Ball at the 2018 World Cup as he inspired his team to the final against France. He has been willing his team on to do the same thing this time around, in spite of the team’s limitations. His performance for Croatia could go a long way in deciding who will win the match.

If Argentina can make Modric defend more than get on the ball, that could be the difference between a win or a loss for La Albiceleste.

Argentina Tipped to Make Final

Argentina have been Brad’s picks since before the tournament, and they are now the second favorites with the best betting sites. They are now just one game away from making the final, so is Brad sticking to his guns? 

The odds at CobraBet on this game show that Argentina are the favorites for the matchup, and Brad thinks Argentina will sneak a one-goal win, leading to their place in the final.

Dean is respected tipster, journalist and broadcaster on sports - mainly horse racing. Having featured across radio, TV and podcasts, his betting knowledge is developed over decades in the gambling industry across a number of different publications and platforms. You will usually find him on social media discussing Tottenham Hotspur or the Cheltenham Festival.

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