- Argentina saw off a formidable Croatia side 3-0 in the semi-final
- France overcame surprise package Morocco to reach the Final
- The teams were involved in a memorable encounter at Russia 2018
Argentina and France will contest the Final of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ on Sunday, with both teams on the hunt for a third global crown.
La Albiceleste are looking to lift the prestigious Trophy for the first time since 1986, while Didier Deschamps’ men could become one of the very few national teams to successfully defend their title. Argentina, after an initial slip-up, finished top of Group C. They subsequently defeated Australia 2-1 in the last 16 in a match notable for an outstanding performance from talisman Lionel Messi, prior to beating the Netherlands on penalties in a tumultuous quarter-final encounter that had ended 2-2.
In the last four, the South Americans secured a berth in the Final with a comfortable 3-0 win over Croatia. France, meanwhile, topped Group D and went on to seal a 3-1 success versus Poland in their first knockout test. In the quarters and semis, Les Bleus were pushed all the way by England and Morocco, but they dug deep to pull off 2-1 and 2-0 victories respectively.
Date and time
18 December, 18.00 Doha time
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FRANCE CURRENT SQUAD (FROM WIKIPEDIA COMMONS)
CURRENT ARGENTINA ROSTER (FROM WIKIPEDIA COMMONS)
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Poland) Assistant referee 1: Pawel Sokolnicki (Poland) Assistant referee 2: Tomasz Listkiewicz (Poland) Fourth official: Ismail Elfath (United States) Reserve assistant referee: Kathryn Nesbitt (United States) VAR: Tomasz Kwiatkowski (Poland)
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni has a full complement of players to choose from, with Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel available again after serving their suspensions. France’s Dayot Upamecano and Adrien Rabiot, who missed the Morocco match due to a virus, are doubtful but could feature.
Possible starting XIs
Argentina: Emiliano Martinez; Nahuel Molina, Cristian Romero, Nicolas Otamendi, Marcos Acuna; Rodrigo De Paul, Leandro Paredes, Enzo Fernandez, Alexis Mac Allister; Julian Alvarez, Lionel Messi.
France: Hugo Lloris; Jules Kounde, Raphael Varane, Ibrahima Konate, Theo Hernandez; Aurelien Tchouameni, Youssouf Fofana, Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe; Olivier Giroud.
Head to head
The two powerhouses have locked horns 12 times in total, with Argentina winning six and France winning three; the remaining three matches ended in draws.
They have met three times at the World Cup: a 1-0 triumph for Argentina (thanks to a goal by Luis Monti) at Uruguay 1930, a 2-1 win for La Albiceleste on home soil in 1978 (Daniel Passarella and Leopoldo Luque on the scoresheet for Argentina), and a spectacular 4-3 victory for Les Bleus at Russia 2018 (Antoine Griezmann, Benjamin Pavard and a Kylian Mbappe brace for France sealed the win).
Key match stats
- This is the second World Cup in a row that these teams have crossed swords.
- From that Russia 2018 clash, 15 players remain: seven for the South Americans, eight for the Europeans.
- Argentina are playing in their sixth World Cup Final, while this is France’s fourth appearance in the tournament’s showpiece match.
Didier Deschamps, France coach “This is not the same Argentina team that we faced four years ago.”
Lionel Scaloni, Argentina coach “Winning is always beneficial, and before a final it’s the best rest and remedy we can get. We’ve been able to give all 23 outfield players some minutes, and that’s fundamental to me.”
HISTORY OF FIFA WORLD CUP (COURTESY WIKIPEDIA COMMONS)
The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men’s national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport’s global governing body. The tournament has been held every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The reigning champions are France, who won their second title at the 2018 tournament in Russia.
The format involves a qualification phase, which takes place over the preceding three years, to determine which teams qualify for the tournament phase. In the tournament phase, 32 teams compete for the title at venues within the host nation(s) over about a month. The host nation(s) automatically qualify.
As of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, 21 final tournaments have been held and a total of 79 national teams have competed. The trophy has been won by eight national teams. Brazil, with five wins, are the only team to have played in every tournament. The other World Cup winners are Germany and Italy, with four titles each; Argentina, France, as well as inaugural winner Uruguay, with two titles each; and England and Spain, with one title each.
The World Cup is the most prestigious association football tournament in the world, as well as the most widely viewed and followed single sporting event in the world. The cumulative viewership of all matches of the 2006 World Cup was estimated to be 26.29 billion with an estimated 715.1 million people watching the final match, a ninth of the entire population of the planet.
Seventeen countries have hosted the World Cup. Brazil, France, Italy, Germany and Mexico have each hosted twice, while Uruguay, Switzerland, Sweden, Chile, England, Argentina, Spain, the United States, Japan and South Korea (the latter two jointly), South Africa and Russia have each hosted once. Qatar is hosting the 2022 tournament; in 2026 it will be jointly hosted by Canada, the United States and Mexico, which will give Mexico the distinction of being the first country to host games in three World Cups.
RESULTS OF PAST FIFA WORLD CUPS (COURTESY WIKIPEDIA COMMONS)
COURTESY FIFA AND WIKIPEDIA COMMONS