The 2022 World Cup in Qatar concludes on Sunday night as Argentina take on holders France in a mouthwatering looking final.
Despite Antoine Griezmann’s all-action efforts, this showpiece will invariably be billed as the showdown between the Paris Saint-Germain pair of Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe. Qatar Sports Investment – who just so happen to own PSG – hedged their bets with a third celebrity forward, but the feted stars of the past and future (and present) pulled through following the quarter-final exit of Neymar’s Brazil.
Messi and Mbappe both sit on five goals as they bid to also win the Golden Boot, though it’s the Argentine who is having the slightly better tournament statistically as he’s bagged three assists compared to the Frenchman’s two.
Here’s everything you need to know about a final fit for the dreams of the competition’s organisers.
Argentina vs France H2H Results (All Time)
Current Form (Last Five Games)
Argentina team news
Lionel Scaloni will be able to welcome back Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel after the fullback pair sat out the semi-final through suspension – Acuna will be vying with Nicolas Tagliafico for a starting berth.
Alejandro Gomez is a doubt with an ankle problem and Angel Di Maria has been struggling with muscular issues. The Juventus forward didn’t feature at all in the semi-final though could make his first start since the group stages in Sunday’s final.
Argentina Starting 11 (4-3-3): E Martinez; Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Acuna; De Paul, Fernandez, Mac Allister; Di Maria, Messi, Alvarez.
Bench: Armani, Rulli, Li Martinez, Pezzella, Foyth, Paredes, Rodriguez, Palacios, Almada, Correa, Dybala, La Martinez, Tagliafico, Montiel.
France team news
Adrien Rabiot watched France’s semi-final against Morocco from the team hotel as one of the multiple players suffering from what Didier Deschamps described as “flu-like symptoms”.
Dayot Upamecano made the trip to the stadium but didn’t get off the bench while he nursed the bug. However, Deschamps is confident that both players would be available for the final. Kingsley Coman is the third player known to be affected and he’s a doubt.
France Starting 11 (4-3-3): Lloris; Kounde, Varane, Upamecano, Hernandez; Griezmann, Tchouameni, Rabiot; Dembele, Giroud, Mbappe.
Bench: Areola, Mandanda, Disasi, Saliba, Konate, Pavard, Veretout, Camavinga, Coman, Guendouzi, Kolo Muani, Thuram, Fofana.
FRANCE TO WIN – France have won all seven of their World Cup knockout games since the start of the 2018 tournament.
France to win is currently 9/5*
ARGENTINA TO WIN TO NIL – 10 of Argentina’s last 11 wins in all competitions have come with a clean sheet, while France have failed to score in six of their last seven World Cup defeats.
ET & PENALTIES – Three of the last four World Cup finals have gone to extra time, while only two of the 20 finals before 2022 have gone all the way to penalties (1994 & 2006).
ARGENTINA TO WIN ON PENALTIES – Argentina have won more penalty shootouts than any other side in World Cup history (5/6), while France have lost two of their four shootouts, including their most recent on in the 2006 final vs Italy.
Argentina to win on penalties is currently 8/1*
ARGENTINA TO SCORE FIRST & WIN – Argentina are the only side to have opened the scoring in all of their World Cup matches at the 2022 tournament (6/6), while the team scoring first has won nine of the last 10 World Cup finals (D1 – France vs Italy in 2006).
ARGENTINA CLEAN SHEET – Argentina have restricted their opponents to just 5.7 shots per game at this World Cup, fewer than any other side. They haven’t faced above 0.6 expected goals against in any of their six games so far.
BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE? YES – Argentina have scored in each of their last 15 games in all competitions, while France have scored in 14 of their last 15 matches in the knockout rounds of the World Cup.
Both teams to score is currently 1/1*
UNDER 2.5 TOTAL MATCH GOALS – Six of the last eight World Cup finals have seen under 2.5 goals, although the two exceptions have seen France as winning finalists (France 3-0 Brazil in 1998 & France 4-2 Croatia in 2018).
FIRST GOALSCORER – Lionel Messi has scored the opening goal in more World Cup matches than any other player in the competition’s history (7), doing so four times at the 2022 tournament alone.
ANYTIME GOALSCORER – Julian Alvarez has scored in six of his eight starts for Argentina (7 goals), including four goals in four starts at the 2022 World Cup.
Julian Alvarez to score anytime is currently 11/4*
LIONEL MESSI TO SCORE & OVER 1.5 SOT – Lionel Messi has scored in nine of his last 10 appearances for Argentina (15 goals), also netting against France in a 2-0 win back in 2009. He has had more shots on target (14 – 2.3 per game) than any other player at the 2022 World Cup.
KYLIAN MBAPPE TO SCORE & FRANCE TO WIN – Kylian Mbappe has scored more World Cup goals (9) than any other player across the last two tournaments, with France winning all six games in which he’s found the back of the net, including the 2018 final.
ANTOINE GRIEZMANN TO SCORE A PENALTY (NORMAL/ET) – France have taken the last two penalties in World Cup finals (2006 & 2018), while Griezmann has netted all three of his World Cup penalties (all in 2018), including one against Argentina and one in the final.
LIONEL MESSI TO SCORE A PENALTY (NORMAL/ET) – Three of Lionel Messi’s five goals at the 2022 World Cup have come from the penalty spot, while Argentina have taken 20% of the penalties (excl. shootouts) at the 2022 tournament so far (4/20).
Insights courtesy of Opta. Head to The Analyst Stats Hub for live group stage standings, top scores, match metrics, team stats and much more!
*Odds correct at time of publication. 18+. Please gamble responsibly. BeGambleAware.org
This may be the match that decides the best team in the world, but this is not a meeting between two flawless outfits. In fact, it’s only the second time in men’s World Cup history (the first since 1978) that both finalists arrive in the showpiece having already lost a match in the tournament.
Argentina saved their best display of the competition for a convincing semi-final victory over Croatia but they remain wildly reliant upon one (admittedly brilliant) 35-year-old. France kept their first clean sheet in Qatar against Morocco but – as Hugo Lloris admitted – “suffered so much”.
There’s enough talent in both sides for this game – which is devoid of a clear favourite – to be decided by a moment of magic. But there has been plenty of evidence this winter to suggest a mistake may prove even more likely and pivotal. Argentina, Messi and their deafening travelling support may just edge out Mbappe and co.
Prediction: Argentina 2-1 France
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