France Morocco Odds, Pick | Women’s World Cup Preview
Sopa Images/Getty. Pictured: Eugenie Le Sommer.
France Morocco Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (-211 / +160)|
|Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)||(+125 / -175)|
|Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute World Cup odds here.|
Morocco were the biggest underdog to advance from the group stage and the only first-time World Cup participant to make the final 16. The Moroccans made history with their 1-0 victory against Colombia and eliminated Germany in the group stage for the first time in German history. They were as high as 50-1 to advance from Group H at some books.
They'll look to make history once again on Tuesday and take out another European giant when they face off against France in the final match of the round of 16. The winner of this contest is set to take on host Australia in the World Cup quarterfinal. France are the overwhelming favorite to advance, but the French didn't play a flawless group stage.
France Well-Rested For Key Clash
France had a really lackluster first half of their first match against Jamaica before finally kicking into gear and taking control of the group with a 2-1 win against Brazil. The French had periods of inconsistent play throughout the group, but the building blocks of a potential World Cup winner were on display in other parts of the group.
One major key for France was that manager Hervé Renard could rest two of his top players for the final group stage match against Panama. Neither Eugenie Le Sommer nor captain and center back Wendie Renard played in the eventual 6-3 victory. Wendie is battling a calf injury and her absence would be a huge loss for France's defensive solidity. Le Sommer should partner with Kadidatou Diani up top to make one of the best attacking duos in the world.
Despite the offensive outburst with 4.5 xG created, France conceded 1.5 xGA in that match against Panama. Les Bleues allowed two other big chances plus the penalty, and that's a bit of a red flag given how little Panama created against Jamaica and Brazil in the other two matches in their group.
The defensive questions remain for Renard's side. His tournament resumé is quite conservative and I'd expect France to play similarly in this knockout stage. Most of France's ball progression has come from wide areas and the French will possess a major edge on set pieces in this contest. It will be a lot of cross defending from Morocco and the Moroccans have conceded the sixth-most crosses into the penalty area in the entire tournament.
Morocco Fortunate to Be in This Position
Morocco did make it out of Group H, but Reynald Pedros' side rode a lot of good finishing variance to advance. The Moroccans finished in the bottom five in shots per 90 produced. That's better than only Switzerland, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Given that they were also in the bottom eight in xG per shot in the group stage, there's just not much to go on for this attack. Morocco scored from a penalty kick rebound against Colombia that fueled their advancement. It took Germany losing to Colombia in stoppage time and failing to beat South Korea to sneak through with their -4 goal difference.
Pedros has organized them defensively and Morocco did a respectable job of preventing big scoring chances against them. The Germans did score six goals in the first match, but there were two own goals and just 2.6 xG conceded in that match. Germany are better in attack than France based on most of the underlying numbers.
Morocco aren't doing much to disrupt opponents' passing — they finished bottom five in pass completion rate allowed in the group stage. They did a solid job of keeping opponents from consistently progressing the ball into the penalty area however. The defense projects similarly to Jamaica through three matches with the 10th-most touches allowed in their own penalty area.
France are a ball-progression machine — only Spain have more passes into the penalty area per 90 in this tournament — which will stress the Morocco defense for all 90 minutes.
France vs Morocco Pick
France's defense showed some real cracks against Panama, but it's hard to say whether that's signal or noise. They conceded far more chances than they should have been given the opponent, but a 30-yard free kick and a penalty kick are pretty difficult to replicate as a strategy to score on France. Wendie Renard will also likely be back in the lineup to solidify and organize the French back line.
Morocco haven't offered much attacking output this entire tournament. Given our priors about both teams' talent level and the organization of the Morocco defense under Pedros, I'm holding my nose and betting the under. Renard is notorious for more conservative approaches in knockout tournaments and I'll bet under 3.5 at -140 or better and hope that France doesn't run up the score in what profiles as a rather one-sided round of 16 tie.
The Pick: Under 3.5 (-140 or better)