Qatar 2022 Match Preview Final, Argentina Vs France:
Written By Onyeka Daniel
Argentina will face World Cup defending champions, France for a chance to win the World Cup trophy and also a place in history for whoever wins at the end of the day. After their opening game defeat to Saudi Arabia, the Albiceleste were mostly written off from the tournament, but they seem to grow and improve after that setback and should they go on to win today, that defeat would have played a big part in their triumph.
While this type of game is a dream for most professional players, it holds a special type of meaning for Argentina captain, Lionel Messi, who wants the trophy to crown his illustrious career in football winning every conceivable trophy except the World Cup. Following the heartaches of the past where they were beaten by Germany in the final in South Africa before being knocked out by this same France in the quarter-final four years ago, a win today could help erase all that as Messi had made it known that this would be his last World Cup.
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At 35 years of age, winning the World Cup will also cement his place as the greatest of all time footballer and probably set him apart from his closest rival, Cristiano Ronaldo who got knocked out in the quarter-final. France, aren’t less motivated to go for the win either today as they would become the first team in recent times to defend their World Cup title and the second team after Brazil to do it in football history.
It even holds a more special meaning for young France forward, Kylian Mbappe, who is set to become the second player after the great Brazilian Pele to win two World Cup trophies before the age of 23. This kind of record will surely set him on a great career in football and should he continue in this direction, could set him up to take up the title of greatest of all times.
Style Of Play
After that defeat to Saudi Arabia, Argentina coach, Lionel Scaloni is yet to repeat a formation at the World Cup and that unpredictability could help them overcome their today’s opponent. Today, he can either play a 4-4-2 formation to stifle the midfield or play a 4-3-3 formation to start pressing France with Angel dị Maria being asked to help out in defense against the threat of Mbappe. One thing is for sure, Messi will drift into the attacking midfield role where he’s most lethal to either go for goal or supply that killer pass.
For France, their tactics has always remained the same throughout the tournament and one of the the success stories of the Les Blues has been Antoine Griezmann and the way he has made the attacking midfield role his own with his attack runs between the lines and intelligent runs which has greatly been beneficial to Giroud upfront. Out wide, Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele will stay close to the by-line and use the support from their wing-backs to great advantage as they create a numerical advantage and their abilities in 1 on 1 becomes more effective in these scenarios.
In their double pivot of Tchouameni and Rabiot, they have players that can quickly cover any position in case they lose possession. This tactics is effective against teams that try to stifle the midfield. In a situation where the wings is shut out, theymake euse of their centre-backs who have ball playing abilities and can play that great pass. Against Morocco, Les Bleus’ first goal came after Varane was able to break the lines and find Griezmann in the final third. Both Varane and Konaté are very good ball-playing defenders.
Argentina in their last 20 games played across all competitions have 16 wins, 3 draws and just 1 loss, which was their first game that they lost to Saudi Arabia in their opening game at the World Cup. France in their last 20 games have 13 wins, 3 draws and 4 losses.
Head To Head
Both teams have faced each other five times, thrice at the World Cup and two other friendly encounters. Argentina won the four previous games before France grabbed a win in Russia four years ago, which was the last time the two teams met.
Players To Watch
Messi would be hoping to lead this team to a win in what will be his last tournament for Argentina while Mbappe will lead the line for France and probably get a goal to get his hands on the golden boot award. The two players who play for the same club are on five goals each and will fancy their chances of getting their hands on the golden boot award after today.
Injuries And Suspensions
Argentina only have doubt over Sevilla forward, Papu Gomez while France have plenty to worry about. Olivier Giroud, Theo Hernandez and Aurelien Tchouameni are all carrying knocks and would be assessed before the match to ascertain their level of fitness.
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This will be the first time that two players from the same same club will be leading in the Golden boot race at the World Cups with Giroud following behind Messi and Mbappe on four goals, one goal less than the first two.
Would be a tough game as both teams are evenly matched with their strength and abilities while not lacking in motivation either. In the end, it would be decided by whoever is able to exploit the other team’s weakness the most. Will most likely be decided in extra time or penalties.
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