Argentina to cement Messi's status with World Cup
The final of the 2022 FIFA Men's World Cup is firmly on the horizon, and for all the shocks along the way, it is Argentina and France who will contest the final on Sunday at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar. Lionel Scaloni's side largely had Croatia's number from the outset of their semi-final clash, eventually triumphing by three clear goals. Les Bleus beat Morocco by a margin of two in their encounter, but had a far harder, more ragged time of it in order to reach their second showdown in a row and have the potential to successfully defend the trophy they won four years ago. This almost certainly represents Leo Messi's ultimate opportunity to match or even surpass Diego Maradona's legendary status in his home country. Read our preview here:
Julián Álvarez's tenacity went a long way to securing victory in their semi-final, with the Manchester City forward bursting through to grab a brace. He is one of four players vying for the Golden Boot in the final, having four to his name. He'll be buoyed by what he saw England and in turn Morocco do to the France backline, even if neither nation ultimately bested the current holders. Leo Messi has five and is a shoo-in for the Golden Ball award as well, but neither accolade will give him much solace without helping La albiceleste lift the trophy for the first time since 1986 and after two failed attempts since. Scaloni will be able to reintroduce both first choice full-backs to the XI, though it remains to be seen whether it will be Nahuel Molina or Gonzalo Montiel who'll be given the onerous task of shutting down Kylian Mbappé on the right. Enzo Fernández will need to drop deeper to ensure the lines between the back four and the midfield three aren't stretched, especially early on.
Arguably even above Mbappé and Olivier Giroud at the tournament, Antoine Griezmann's selfless displays have helped to drive Didier Deschamps to within touching distance of sealing a second successive World Cup title. Though the Atlético Madrid midfielder hasn't actually scored at the tournament, he has shown a peerless work rate, helping out much deeper whilst still laying on three assists at the sharp end of the field. He should be assisted by Adrien Rabiot however after the latter missed the prior two games with a bout of flu. His inclusion alongside Aurélien Tchouaméni ought to give the double pivot area more stability, though the left channel that Dayot Upamecano and Theo Hernández often occupy could come under a lot of scrutiny yet again, with Mbappé not tasked with helping out in defensive situations.
On paper, it is a very difficult game to call, with the strengths and weaknesses Argentina and France have different yet likely to cancel each other out. Many neutrals want to see Messi fulfil what they feel is his destiny by lifting the World Cup at his last attempt and achieve footballing immortality in the process. Argentina arguably have the greater momentum, and Parimatch have odds of 2.62 for them to end nearly two generations of not winning the greatest trophy in football within 90 minutes.
Bet Argentina to win the World Cup in 90 minutes on Parimatch