One of the biggest games in world football will be played on Sunday as France take on Argentina. An incredible journey for both sides to reach the final as they aim to clinch the third World Cup title in their history. Will it be a back-to-back title for France, or will Lionel Messi get the farewell he deserves by lifting the trophy that eluded him back in 2014?
France played Argentina in the FIFA World Cup three times prior to the upcoming final; the first meeting was won by Argentina by 1-0, then again in 1978 with a scoreline of 2-1. In the last World Cup, France managed to get one over Argentina as they played out a seven-goal thriller which the eventual Champions won 4-3. It was a battle of who had the best-attacking force as both defences underperformed.
Taking a look at the FIFA rankings, we have Argentina in third and France in fourth place with no clear favourite between the two.
At the start of the campaign, many did not think that France could mount another challenge for the World Cup for various reasons, mainly due to the number of injuries that Didier Deschamps had to contend with. This France side is without Kante and Pogba in the middle of the park, who were key men in Russia, but Aurelien Tchouameni and Adrien Rabiot have replaced them to good effect.
It will surely be heartbreak for any team to reach the final and leave the tournament empty-handed, but that is a cruel possibility. The defensive line has been chopped and changed by Deschamps in this tournament, with Ibrahima Konate, Varane and Upamecano all playing a great number of minutes. It could be an experiment to judge who will be better positioned to face Lionel Messi, as we saw; even some of the best defenders around are still struggling to keep tabs on the Argentinian superstar.
France has an ace up their sleeve, and Argentina came up against it in Russia, and now he has matured and became arguably a better overall player: Kylian Mbappe. Against England, he was well ushered by Kyle Walker and Bukayo Saka as they both doubled up to prevent him from getting into any dangerous area around the box. Mbappe is valued at 9/2 (5.50) to win the golden ball and at 21/20 (2.05) to be the top goalscorer.
The entirety of the Argentinean nation is roaring their team on to win the World Cup and crown Lionel Messi the best player in football history. Going into the tournament, Argentina had a fantastic unbeaten record, so their form in the late stages of the tournament comes as no surprise. The whole team looks up for the challenge and willing to go the extra mile to get Lionel Messi over the line and win the World Cup.
The Argentinian fans in Qatar have been outstandingly serenading their players during and after their matches. Although having a hard time beating the Netherlands, Argentina brought their A game against Croatia as they played out their best performance yet in the tournament. Football enthusiasts will be eager to watch what unfolds in next Sunday’s game.
Up against France, who are the defending champions, Argentina can learn from the quarter-final encounter that France played against England when in the second half, England pushed up the field and really put the French team under immense pressure. Lionel Scaloni might use that tactic to win the ball high up the pitch and leave it to the partnership of Lionel Messi and Julian Alvarez to finish off chances when they present themselves.
Argentina to win and both teams to score is priced at 5/1 (6.00), whilst a correct score win of 1-0 for Argentina is priced at 13/2 (7.50). A goal anytime during the game from Lionel Messi is priced at 11/8 (2.37)
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A very tight game to call with both teams having amazing squads and talented players; France are the slight favourites pre-game at 9/5 (2.80) whilst Argentina are at 13/7 (2.85), and a draw is at 19/9 (3.10)
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*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing