World Cup: Argentina vs France; who will be Champion of the World!

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The World Cup final is set! Argentina and France have made it to the championship game at the 2022 World Cup. The two nations were in the top-five favorites to win the tournament, and now they have the opportunity to be the champions of the world. Can France repeat as champions or will Messi finally win his coveted and elusive World Cup for Argentina?

World Cup
Al Khor, Qatar, 20th November 2022. Opening ceremony during the FIFA World Cup 2022 at Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor. (Photo by Focus Images/Imago/Icon Sportswire) ****NO AGENTS—NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA SALES ONLY****

The 2022 World Cup Final: Argentina vs France

This final showcases two nations who met in the round of 16 of the 2018 tournament. It was a thrilling match that France won 4-3, and then went on to win the whole tournament. The match was one for the ages, and it is a match that Argentina will remember heading into this final.

Let’s look back at both nations’ runs to the final, talk about what we expect from the final, and also give the third-place game some love as well!

Argentina’s path to the 2022 World Cup Final

Argentina comes into the World Cup final with a 4-1-1 record. Their lone loss was in their first group-stage match where they fell to Saudi Arabia. In their remaining group stage matches they beat Mexico and Poland; not allowing a single goal, and topped Group C in the process. the early tournament scare was enough to get them back on track for the knockout rounds.

Their round of 16 match was mighty underdogs Australia. The match was a bit drab, but Argentina’s talisman Messi did produce a moment of magic early on. Both he and Julian Alvarez scored before Australia pulled one back, but it was too late for the Socceroos to find a second to send it to extra time.

The quarter-final match against the Netherlands might just be the moment that announced to the world what Argentina was capable of. Argentina was able to thwart a relatively unscathed Dutch team, going up on them 2-0 by the 73rd minute. The Dutch did pull off a special comeback to make the game 2-2, but in penalties 4-3 the Argentines showed their quality, and then chirped about it to the Netherlands side as well. This Argentina team is not here for niceties, they’re here to win.

Their semi-final against staunch Croatia proved just how good this Argentina team is. Croatia had not given up more than one goal in any 2022 World Cup match and was a collective unit that found ways to advance. Argentina dissected them twice in six minutes to take a 2-0 lead in the first half. A moment of brilliance from Messi and a finish by Alvarez made it 3-0 in the second half sending the Argentines to the World Cup final.

Argentina’s opponent in the final, France, has had just as good a 2022 tournament, and they’re looking to be the first nation to win back-to-back World Cups since Brazil did it in 1958-1962!

France’s path to the 2022 World Cup Final

France has a nearly perfect record at the 2022 tournament, boasting five wins and one loss. Like Argentina, France’s only loss came in group stage play, but at the end of that campaign. They started off the group stage with wins against Australia and Denmark and qualified for the knockouts with those six points earned. They then rested players in their third group game against Tunisia and fell 1-0. The poor performance from a somewhat rotated squad didn’t carry over into the knockout rounds.

In the round of 16, France took on a Poland side that hadn’t played well at all in the 2022 World Cup. France found a way to take the lead before halftime through an Oliver Giroud strike and never looked back. Their talisman, Kylian Mbappe scored two late in the second half to make it 3-0; Poland got a cancellation goal on a PK on the last kick of the game to make it 3-1, but France was flying.

France’s quarter-final was against their rivals England. This match was the biggest test for France, but still, fortune favored them. Aurelien Tchouameni scored in the 17th minute to give France the lead; after that England awoke. The English took the game to the French, and just on the other side of halftime, they equalized. After that it looked like England was the better side, France was shocked, and couldn’t find many chances. But they don’t need many chances to change a game; in the 78th minute, Oliver Giroud’s headed home a perfect corner kick to give France the lead. England then squandered their chance to equalize from the penalty spot, and France was off to the semis.

Their semi-final match came against the great underdogs of Morocco. The first African semi-finalists were the darlings of the world. They were on the precipice of making a World Cup final, but France’s quality was just better on the day. As was their habit in many of the matches, France started fast. They found the lead just five minutes thanks to a Theo Hernandez strike. Morocco stayed in the match creating chances that just wouldn’t go into France’s net, and then the French landed the final blow scoring again in the 79th minute thanks to Randal Muani. France won 2-0, and headed to back-to-back finals.

Will we see history in the final? Yes! Whether that history is of the French winning back-to-back World Cup championships, or one of the greats Lionel Messi lifting his first World Cup is yet to be seen!

Who will claim eternal glory?

This final has two heavyweights of the sport duking it out for eternal glory. Here in America we often say that the champions of our sports leagues, the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL, are champions of the world. That is folly and a very American thing to say. In this truly global tournament, we see nations playing to actually become World Champions in the sport. Will we see Argentina or France top the world for the next three-and-a-half years?

Either way, there will be history. Both nations have won a World Cup in the past; which is saying something as only eight nations have ever won a World Cup (Spain: 1, England: 1, Uruguay: 2, France: 2, Argentina: 2, Italy: 4, Germany: 4, Brazil: 5). Will Argentina win it for the first time in 36 years, or will France be the first nation to win back-to-back World Cups in 60 years?

Look for Argentina’s surprisingly impressive defensive record of a tournament-best goals-against-percentage of 1.8 to play a huge factor. Mbappe and France will look for the spaces Argentina leaves when Messi and company move forward to create attacks. It should really be a back-and-forth affair; the team that scores first might just do enough to win the World Cup. Don’t be surprised if this match is settled on penalties though, as both are very evenly matched!

Kickoff Time: Sunday, Dec. 18, 10 am ET

3rd Place match: Croatia vs Morocco

While the attention of the world will be on the final, the teams who fell agonizingly short of said final will play a game the day before to determine who will take thrid-place at the 2022 World Cup.

Croatia were runners-up at the 2018 World Cup and was one match short of forcing a rematch with the team that beat them in that game, France. They come into the third-place match as a defensive juggernaut that expended too much energy to beat mighty Argentina; can they muster up what energy they have left to beat Morocco for third place?

Morocco is the first African nation to make a quarter-final, a semi-final, and the third-place game at a men’s World Cup! They enter this match having accomplished so much already. Now they get the chance to play for national pride and to show that they belong on the world stage. Can Morocco’s strong defense, and mesmerizing counterattacks be enough to best Croatia?

Kickoff Time: Saturday, Dec. 17, 10 am ET

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Mandatory Credit: Focus Images/Imago/Icon Sportswire

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