Follow for all HIGHLIGHTS from the FIFA World Cup final between Argentina and France.
As we wait for the summit clash, you can check out Sportstar’s live coverage of the FIFA World Cup closing ceremony - HERE
7:10pm - Having lost 2-1 to Saudi Arabia on matchday one, Argentina could become the second side in World Cup history to lose their opening game of an edition and go on to lift the trophy, after Spain in 2010.
7:05pm - France is unbeaten in their last 10 World Cup matches against South American nations (W6 D4). Indeed, its last such defeat came against Argentina, going down 2-1 in the 1978 first group stage.
7:00pm - Les Bleus, the reigning champions, are looking to become only the third nation to win back-to-back World Cups, after Italy (1934 and 1938) and Brazil (1958 and 1962).
6:55pm - France has reached the World Cup final for a fourth time, all since 1998 (1998, 2006, 2018, 2022). This is twice as many as any other nation in this period.
Argentina vs France head-to-head
6:45pm - Argentina in World Cup finals: Over the years
1930—Uruguay 4-2 Argentina
1978—Argentina 3-1 Netherlands
1986—Argentina 3-2 West Germany
1990—West Germany 1-0 Argentina
2014—Germany 1-0 Argentina
6:40pm - Argentina is competing in its sixth World Cup final, with only Germany (8) participating in more. It is looking to win the trophy for a third time, along with 1978 and 1986, but defeat would see it with the joint-most World Cup final losses in history (4, level with Germany).
This capital of the energy-rich thumb-shaped Gulf nation has often made you feel that you are in (cleaner) streets of Mumbai or Kochi as Indians tend to outnumber everyone else around. And for a month, a vast majority of them along with the 35,000 visiting Argentine fans have turned this place into a sacred tour of Lionel Messi. His face adores most billboards and the neon buildings that light up the evening skies and every second person in the streets wears a Leo Messi jersey (mostly fake), while the rest rummage through the stores in Mushareib, Souk Waqif, Wakrah or Lusail to pick the last few available ahead of Argentina’s final against France.
The Argentine captain has not disappointed his disciples as he has lighted up the tournament with a sprinkling of sorcery – the goal against Australia, the no-look pass to Nahuel Molina, or his toying of Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol in the semifinal. His greatness has been demonstrated throughout the tournament, but for Doha to build a permanent shrine for Messi, the final act of deliverance needs to arrive. A World Cup trophy from Lusail to truly establish his supremacy.
But France is chasing a record of its own – first back-to-back World titles since Pele and Garrincha’s Brazil of 1958 and ’62. And it, too, has a star in Kylian Mbappe, Messi’s PSG teammate and fellow contender for the tournament’s Golden Boot. Morocco tried and mostly succeeded in negating his threat by using right-back Acharf Hakimi’s pace and dribbling skills to trouble Theo Hernandez and break the chain of connection between the left-back and Mbappe.
But, Molina, Argentina’s right-back, is a few steps slower and might find it difficult to match the success of the Moroccan icon. A move to a back-three for extra protection against Mbappe might prove detrimental for Lionel Scaloni’s midfield balance and Argentina’s chances of attacking the still shaky full-backs of France. A 4-3-3 formation with a fit-again Angel Di Maria brought in to exploit the defensive weaknesses of Hernandez might be Argentina’s answer, while Alexis Mac Allister will play on the left and Rodrigo De Paul on the right with Enzo Fernandez, the only holding midfielder, looking to deal with Antonie Griezmann, the standout player for France.
But with a largely immobile Messi, he has made 0.5 tackles on an average and has spent 5102m walking (Ivan Perisic is second with 4719m), a midfield three can end up offering too much space to Griezmann, who has made three assists and 3.5 key passes. Messi and Argentina, though, have found a tireless Julian Alvarez to do the running for the team’s luminous star, falling back to press whenever Argentina loses the ball.
For Didier Deschamps, there’s also the worry about a cold virus ravaging the camp. Dayot Upamecano missed the last game and now his excellent replacement Ibrahim Konate and the experienced Raphael Varane have missed training, casting doubts about their participation. France, which ceded 61 per cent possession to Morrocco, will continue to exploit its ability to hurt teams with quick transitions and has made the most direct attacks (23) in this World Cup, relying on the creativity and explosiveness of Ousman Dembele and Mbappe from the flanks.
Marcos Acuna, available after serving his suspension, is expected to be reinstated as the left-back ahead of Nicolas Tagliafico to negate the threat of Dembele from the right. Scaloni will look at the workman-like tactical flexibility, emotional aggression of his team and the decisiveness of Messi’s moments of magic to win this ultimate game against France.
Whoever wins – Messi or Mbappe, Argentina or France – the golden hues of the Lusail Stadium on the final Sunday of the 2022 World Cup can irrevocably establish its place as one of the iconic sporting venues of the world when history is created in its sweat-filled turfs.
How can I watch the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 final in India?
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 final will be telecasted live on Sports18 and Sports18 HD. On Android as well as iOS, it will be live streamed on JioCinema.
How can I watch the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 final in the USA?
In the USA, the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 final will be telecast live on Fox, Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2, in English. The telecast will be available in Spanish on Telemundo and Universo.
The knockout matches can be live streamed on the Fox Sports app, fuboTV, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo, Universo Now and Peacock Premium.
How can I watch the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 final in the UK?
The broadcasting rights for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 final are shared between BBC and ITV. As a result, all matches of Qatar 2022 will be telecast live on BBC 1, ITV 1 and ITV 4.
In Scotland, the matches will be telecast on STV. BBC iPlayer and ITVX will offer live streaming in England while Scotland will have the live coverage on STV Player.
How can I watch the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 final in Bangladesh?
Viewers can watch the live telecast of the World Cup matches on PTE LTD, Viacom 18, and T Sports.
The matches will also be live streamed on Toffee, the digital platform powered by Banglalink.
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