The Lusail Iconic Stadium will play host to the tantalising World Cup 2022 final between Argentina and the reigning champions France on Sunday afternoon as the main event of the schedule.
Les Bleus will step out onto the Lusail turf as the first holders in 24 years to participate in the final, which they booked their tickets for courtesy of a 2-0 win over African trailblazers Morocco in the semi-finals.
With a 3-0 victory against Croatia in the final four, Lionel Scaloni’s team prevented them from reaching the championship game twice in a row.
Road to the Final
Argentina has had a great World Cup tournament thus far, scoring 12 goals in their first six games.
In their first group game, they had a rough start, losing 2-1 to the tournament’s second-lowest-ranked team, Saudi Arabia. However, they soon recovered, defeating Mexico and Poland 2-0 to finish first in the group.
After defeating Australia 2-1 in the round of 16, the United States faced the Netherlands in the quarterfinals. Argentina defeated the Oranje on penalties in the emotionally heated match, setting up Croatia for the semi-final.
The two-time World Cup winners secured their place in the tournament’s title decider after they defeated last year’s runners-up Croatia 3-0 in the first semi-final on Tuesday.
Argentina World Cup Form: L W W W W W
11 of the 12 goals Argentina have scored at this World Cup have come with Julián Álvarez on the pitch.
All 5 goals conceded have come when he was off it.
Argentina's unsung hero. pic.twitter.com/btlQswkpk8
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) December 16, 2022
The 2018 champions scored 13 goals in six games and had a strong run to the finals.
With victories over Australia (4-1) and Denmark (2-1), they had a great start to their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign. They could advance to the round of 16 with one group game remaining.
Their final group game loss to Tunisia, 1-0, did little to dampen their title aspirations as they bounced back to defeat Poland, 3-1, in their first knockout encounter.
That prepared them for the eagerly awaited quarterfinal match against England, whom Les Bleus narrowly defeated England with a 2-1 margin.
The reigning world champions booked their place in the football tournament’s title decider after they defeated Morocco 2-0 in the second semi-final on Wednesday.
France World Cup Form: W W L W W W
France have played nine World Cup games with Griezmann, Giroud, Varane and Lloris all starting.
They've won all nine ? pic.twitter.com/uv5zTIBhZW
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 16, 2022
Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel, two Argentinians who received their second tournament bookings against the Netherlands and were forced to witness the semi-final from the suspension step, are again at Scaloni’s disposal.
Alejandro Gomez, who is still recovering from an ankle sprain and may barely make the bench, is the only injury concern for La Albiceleste.
Dayot Upamecano and Adrien Rabiot were the latest victims of the continual air conditioning in Qatar in the France team. Kingsley Coman, who had been feeling under the weather before the semi-finals, is now apparently being joined in the sick room by Raphael Varane and Ibrahima Konate.
It is believed that Rabiot and Upamecano are feeling better and should apply for spots in the starting XI. In the midfield, the former may anticipate replacing Youssouf Fofana immediately, but Deschamps has a bigger problem.
Deschamps will still be expected to reintroduce Upamecano into his tried-and-true formula because Konate, who earned high praise for his performance against Morocco, reportedly feels worse than Varane. Meanwhile, Coman, who missed training on Thursday, was never likely to push for a starting position anyway.
Theo Hernandez, the left defender, suffered a couple of knee hits against Morocco. Still, it is not anticipated that this will prevent him from starting the final.
Mystery illness afflicts France players ahead of final
Several France players have caught colds, the French Football Federation said, as the team prepares for the WC final against Argentina, with defenders Raphaël Varane and Ibrahima Konaté the latest to fall ill on Friday. pic.twitter.com/ydd8iMu2As
— ZBC News Online (@ZBCNewsonline) December 17, 2022
Argentina’s possible starting lineup:
E. Martinez; Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Acuna; De Paul, Fernandez, Mac Allister; Di Maria, Messi, Alvarez
France’s possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Kounde, Varane, Upamecano, T. Hernandez; Tchouameni, Rabiot; Dembele, Griezmann, Mbappe; Giroud
Head to Head
Sunday’s final will mark the 13th meeting between Argentina and France in all competitions. The South American champions have won six of those matches, compared to just three victories for their European opponents. In contrast, three more have resulted in a draw.
The most recent matchup between the two teams, though, was in a thrilling 4-3 Bleus victory during the World Cup quarterfinals of 2018, with the thunderbolt from Benjamin Pavard still fresh in the minds of the France crowd.
France beat Argentina 4-3 at their last World Cup meeting.
How will it end tomorrow? ? pic.twitter.com/3dEzeaOQ3f
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 17, 2022
Time, Date & Venue
Date: Sunday, December 18
Time: 03:00 pm, GMT
Venue: Lusail Stadium, Doha
Argentina’s captain for the 2022 World Cup will be Lionel Messi, who has stepped up into his role with Argentina. The South American champs have united behind their talisman and developed into a challenging foe.
France is virtually unstoppable on the counterattack and has deadly speed on both flanks.
Argentina has shown tactical awareness throughout the tournament and may be able to fend off the French attack on Sunday.
In this weekend’s eagerly awaited World Cup final against France, we anticipate Messi’s Argentina will win by a slim margin.