Match Today: Argentina and France 12-18-2022 World Cup Final 2022
France's head to head against Argentina isn't that pretty, having won only three of 12 meetings against them in all competitions and losing two of three World Cup clashes, but that epic 4-3 victory at the previous World Cup set Didier Deschamps' men on course for the title.
Antoine Griezmann restored the lead just before half time, which is when Les Blues ran riot with a six-minute double salvo from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe. A Mandzukic goal - this time at the right end - gave Croatia minuscule belief, but that was in vain as France saw the game out.
Likewise, France is more than Mbappe. Had they had some of their global superstars such as the injured Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante playing, there's no guarantee the 2018 winners would have made it this far. Due to their absence, the attention of the world's press, as well as that of defensive lines across the tournament, has been on Mbappe. And that has allowed the super-versatile Antoine Griezmann and the veteran performer Olivier Giroud the time and space to shine.
“Tomorrow's game is Argentina against France, much more than Messi against Mbappe,” Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni told reporters on Saturday when asked about the two superstar and PSG teammates who have both scored five goals so far in the tournament in Qatar.
“I think that both teams have the weapons they need and that the match can be decided by other players and not necessarily by those two. Leo [Messi] is doing well and let’s hope the match goes our way, but it’s a game between Argentina and France, and there are many players that can decide the game.”
How can I watch Argentina vs France?
The game will be broadcast on UK screens via BBC One and streamed on the BBC iPlayer. You can also tune in TV coverage on ITV1 or stream the action via ITV X. Coverage begins at 1:50pm UK time on BBC, and 1:30pm on ITV.
Who is the referee?
Polish official Syzmon Marciniak will take charge of the final following strong performances in officiating France vs Denmark in the group stage as well as Argentina vs Australia in the last-16.
What happened in the last World Cup final?
France are mainstays at this level; Having beaten Belgium in the semi-final in 2018, they faced off against Croatia in the 2018 final - with the latter having beaten England in the final four stage.
As predicted, France took an early lead through a Mario Mandzukic own goal, though Ivan Perisic leveled just 10 minutes later.
Lionel Messi's Argentina challenge reigning champions France for the right to get their hands on the 2022 World Cup when they face off in the final at Lusail Stadium on Sunday.
It could have been another final between Croatia and France after the 2018 event that was eventually clinched by Les Bleus, but Lionel Scaloni's men changed the script with a 3-0 win over the Checkered Ones in the semi-final.
The French followed that by beating underdog fan-favorites Morocco 2-0 in the second semi-final to become the first holders to feature in successful finals in 24 years, and they are now in contention to break a 60-year-old record that has stood since Brazil successfully defended their title in 1962
Argentina vs France Preview
Messi, in likely his last World Cup match, will set the outright record for finals appearances (26) as he gets his second shot at glory.
The Argentina captain was part of the team defeated 1-0 by Germany in the final eight years ago. Their title tilt at Russia 2018 then ended in the last 16, beaten by France.
But Messi has guided his side through to kick off at the Lusail Stadium showpiece this time, where France are again their opponents.
Argentina teams of recent years may have been built entirely around Messi but as his years advance, his role in La Albiceleste has developed beyond that of nonstop goal machine and into playmaker supreme, empowering his teammates and waiting for that perfect moment to unleash a little magic . And it works.
Football is a team game, and Messi's Argentina understand that.