FIFA World Cup: France and Argentina to Battle for Championship

Posted on: December 15, 2022, 11:22h. 

Last updated on: December 15, 2022, 12:05h.

Morocco gave its best shot, but failed to upset France in their World Cup semifinal match. The stage is now set for the crowning of the best team in global soccer this coming Sunday.

Kylian Mbappé
Kylian Mbappé of the French national soccer team celebrates a goal during the World Cup. He will make his second consecutive appearance in a World Cup final, looking to help France defend its title. (Image: Associated Press)

After achieving a resounding victory in the semifinal stage, Argentina will face France in the final of the Qatar 2022 World Cup. Argentina took care of Croatia 3-0 on Wednesday, while France took out Morocco 2-1 on Thursday evening.

Sunday’s match will either mark the dominance of France, or the perfect end to the career of perhaps the best player in the world. France is looking to defend its title, while Lionel Messi is hoping to score one more for Argentina before he steps away from the field as a player.

Messi and Mbappé Face Off

Messi is just 90 minutes away from winning the World Cup for the first time in what will be his final match in soccer’s biggest spectacle. Meanwhile, superstar Kylian Mbappé, 23, hopes to join an elite club by winning it multiple times in a row.

Mbappé and the French team beat Argentina in the 2018 World Cup. Now, the South American team will look for revenge.

Messi and Mbappé lead the race for the Golden Boot with five goals each, while also being the favorites to be named MVP. As for the lineups, both teams would seek to maintain a line of consistency in a match that could give glory to either nation.

For Argentina, Emiliano Martinez will likely start after keeping his third clean sheet in six games in the semifinals. After returning to a four-pronged defense against Croatia, the team could be left with the same lineup at the back, as well.

That means Lisandro Martinez will be on the bench. If nothing changes, Nahuel Molina, Cristian Romero, Nicolas Otamendi, and Nicolas Tagliafico will be starters.

In midfield, Scaloni could opt to start with Leandro Parades and Enzo Fernández again, with Alexis Mac Allister and Rodrigo de Paul on the bench. Up front, Julian Alvarez, who has scored four goals in four starts, would accompany Messi.

As for France, there are several doubts ahead of the final. Hugo Lloris will likely start, while the performance of the back that dominated against Morocco could be unchanged.

Despite the threat of the African team throughout the match, France kept its first clean sheet of the tournament against Morocco. Jules Kounde could, therefore, keep his place at right-back, with Ibrahima Konate pairing with Raphael Varane and Theo Hernandez on the left.

Croatia and Morocco Meet to Decide Third Place

At +100 for Argentina and -120 for France, DraftKings isn’t overly convinced that one team will dominate the other in the World Cup final. A similar situation emerges in the match between Croatia and Morocco to determine who gets third place.

The two will face each other on Saturday, although Morocco has already established itself in the soccer history books as the first African team to advance this far in an international soccer competition.

Both teams qualified in Group F, where they drew 0-0 in their opening match. The Moroccan squad was a surprise, defeating Belgium 2-0 and Canada 2-1. It continued to impress through its elimination of Spain in the Round of 16 via penalties and Portugal in the quarterfinals.

Currently, Croatia is out in front on DraftKings to win. The moneyline has the European team at +135, while Morocco is getting +215. If they draw again and go to a shootout, Morocco might have the advantage and could pull off an upset.