World Cup 2022: Early Guide for Argentina vs. France Final

Joe TanseyDecember 14, 2022

LUSAIL CITY, QATAR - DECEMBER 13: Lionel Messi (10) of Argentina is seen during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Semi-Final match between Argentina and Croatia at Lusail Stadium on December 13, 2022, in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Ercin Erturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Ercin Erturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The 2022 FIFA World Cup has a dream final.

Kylian Mbappé and France will try to defend their World Cup crown from 2018.

Argentina will try to earn the one thing missing on Lionel Messi's illustrious resume.

Sunday's final has everything you could ask for from star power to strong defenses to a recent history between the two sides.

France defeated Argentina 4-3 in the round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup in a game that featured Mbappé, Messi and plenty of others who will be on the field Sunday inside the Lusail Iconic Stadium in Qatar.

Match Preview

Argentina and France have been two of the best sides in Qatar and are deserving of playing in the final.

Argentina cruised past Croatia in the semifinal round thanks to an early attacking onslaught led by Lionel Messi and Julián Álvarez.

La Albiceleste have an extra day of rest compared to France and they played in a less stressful semifinal. Croatia did not produce much in the final third against the Argentinian defense.

The Argentina back line has been solid for most of the tournament. The South American side produced two clean sheets to recover from a humiliating loss to Saudi Arabia at the start of Group C.

Argentina defended well for long stretches of the knockout round. Its concession against Australia was an own goal and it held the Netherlands without many significant chances for 80 minutes. Croatia did not manage much in the final third on Tuesday.

Messi is the game-breaker in the Argentina attack, and he will be expected to shine again on Sunday, but the Argentinian defense could be the ultimate difference-maker.

France's back line has looked shaky for parts of the tournament. France was lucky not to concede in Wednesday's semifinal win over Morocco.

Before that clean sheet, France had not shut out an opponent in Qatar.

France has gotten away with the defensive mistakes because Mbappé, Olivier Giroud and Co. have scored multiple goals in every game the first team has started.

The concern for France comes in the form of the Argentina defense. Mbappé and Giroud could be limited by Nicolás Otamendi and Co.

Mbappé was not as dominant in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds as he was in his first three starts in Qatar.

Argentina can overload one side and commit an extra defender to Mbappé to take the 23-year-old out of the contest.

France still has other stars, like Antoine Griezmann, that can break apart Argentina, but losing some of Mbappé's chance creation could hurt Les Bleus. Griezmann is the only player with over 20 chances created in Qatar.

The attacking depth is as even as it could be. Each team has an in-form true striker in Giroud and Álvarez to support its superstar. The play of Messi, Mbappé, Giroud and Álvarez will determine the Golden Boot winner. Messi and Mbappé lead with five goals each, while Álvarez and Giroud have four goals.

If that even matchup translates to the field on Sunday, the defensive play will be the difference-maker, and that is where Argentina holds the edge for its performance over six games.