Argentina and France will take on each other in the final of the FIFA World Cup 2022 at the Lusail Stadium on Sunday.
The final will be the 13th meeting between the two football powerhouses, a sixth in the World Cup. Overall, Argentina has won six, France has won three while three have ended in draws.
At the quadrennial event, Argentina leads France two games to one. The last match between them at a World Cup was in 2018 and became an all-time classic.
Argentina came into the World Cup with reports claiming discontent among players with manager Jorge Sampaoli. These players included star Lionel Messi. The talisman himself had a point to prove after losing two Copa America finals and coming back from a retirement.
France, on the other hand, was the team that made heads turn. No one expected the very young team to claim the title, but the sheer talent within its ranks made the world stop and take notice. Kylian Mbappe was at the front of this awe-admiring team.
Argentina and France faced contrasting fortunes in the group stage. France topped Group C with seven points, winning two and drawing one game. Argentina, meanwhile, started with a draw against Iceland where Messi missed a penalty. It was thrashed 0-3 by Croatia next before a close 2-1 win over Nigeria sealed its spot in the knockouts.
The Round of 16 match started at frantic pace. Kylian Mbappe, staying true to his reputation, put on the afterburners, beat half of Argentina’s outfield players before winning a penalty for his side. Antoine Griezmann converted the chance to give the lead to France.
Argentina pared through a stunning long range effort from Angel Di Maria, and later took a lead after a Messi shot was deflected into the goal off Gabriel Mercado.
France answered in style. First, Benjamin Pavard got the side level with a long range attempt hit from the outside of his boot.
Their teenage sensation Mbappe then scored twice to take a almost unassailable 4-2 lead. Argentina found a late flourish when Sergio Aguero headed Messi’s cross past Hugo Lloris.
This proved insufficient and the time ran out to allow France to seal the seven-goal thriller. France went on to better Uruguay and Belgium before beating Croatia to lift its second World title.
Argentina’s Round of 16 exit was a humiliation by its lofty standards, and saw the termination of manager Sampaoli.
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