World Cup Match Preview: Argentina Vs France
By Chidi Nwoke, Abuja.
South American champions Argentina will take on defending champions France in the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals, with both nations looking to claim football’s biggest prize and make history at the Lusail Stadium in the city of Al Daayen, Qatar.
The football spectacle will kick off by 4pm (Nigerian Time), as Lionel Messi will go up against Kylian Mbappe in what promises to be a thrilling encounter. Both players have scored five (5) goals so far and would be seeking to claim the Golden Boot and top prize in the competition.
🥇 Today, to win the #FIFAWorldCup
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 18, 2022
La Albiceleste of Argentina
Argentine talisman Messi has a chance to solidify his claim as possibly the best the world has ever seen, by winning the World Cup. He will be up against the resilient defence of the French.
The South Americans lost 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in their opening match in Qatar, which spurred them on to record victories against Mexico (2-0) and Poland (2-0) to progress form Group C.
Argentina then went on to beat Australia (2-1) and the Netherlands 4-3 on penalties to progress, before claiming a 3-0 victory against Croatia in the semis.
“Our biggest triumph is that everyone feels part of this, even the fans,” Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said in an interview with FIFA. “We are going to enjoy these moments right up until the final starts.”
“If Messi said that this is his last match with the national team, then what better than this stage for it, whatever the outcome? We hope we win. It would be incredible and I hope it ends in the best possible way for him.”
Argentina teams of recent years may have been built around Messi, but this year we have seen other stars such as Julian Alvarez, Enzo Fernandez and Alexis Mac Allister emerge to help complete the South American team.
Messi’s playmaking role has been empowering his teammates to perform brilliantly on the biggest stage in football as they seek glory in Qatar.
For France, the Europeans will be seeking to keep the title on the continent with star striker Kylian Mbappe along with Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann will square up against Argentina’s defence.
The 2018 champions had a number of superstars out injured such as Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, but yet battled its way to another final in style. France beat Australia 4-1 in their opening match and also won Denmark 2-1 in the next match.
Africans Tunisia then beat the world champions 1-0, but France had already done enough to progress from Group D. France then beat Poland 3-1 and then claimed a 2-1 victory against rivals England, before winning Morocco 2-0 in the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup.
“We come to a key point in the tournament, this is the last step and certainly the most difficult one,” France captain Hugo Lloris said to FIFA in an interview. “You have to be ready to surpass yourself, raise ourselves as a team and end the game with as few regrets as possible”
“One of the strengths of the current French team is the penetration on the flanks with Ousmane Dembele and especially Kylian Mbappe, who is an outstanding player.”
“We will be able to rely on the speed of Kylian, the efficiency of Olivier (Giroud), the accuracy of Antoine (Griezmann), and Dembele’s dribbling skills.”
France received a boost on Saturday, with several players who had been out of action for the past few days with a virus returning to the team’s training session. Raphael Varane, Ibrahima Konate, Kingsley Coman, Adrien Rabiot and Dayot Upamecano have all recovered and will be available to head coach Didier Deschamps.
Mbappe will be the man to watch out for as he would be looking to claim his stake in the best player debate as he chases the Golden Boot award, Golden Ball and World Cup title in Qatar.
Head To Head
Both Argentina and France have won the World Cup twice in their history. Argentina won in 1978 and 1986, while France won in 1998 and 2018
This would be the 11th World Cup final played between a South American and a European nation. The last time both sides met, France beat Argentina 4-3 in the knockout stages of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Amazing analysis. Loved it.