After 62 matches over nearly a month, it’s time for Qatar 2022’s showpiece final.
It’s a mouthwatering showdown with plenty of plot lines heading into the match.
France is the first champion to reach the final in two decades, while Argentina is chasing a third title. According to FIFA’s most recent rankings, La Albiceleste is No. 3 while Les Bleus are No. 4.
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The match provides one last chance for the 35-year-old Lionel Messi to fulfill his lifelong dream of guiding Argentina to its third world title.
The magical Messi has cast his spell over opposition teams at Qatar 2022, including a sublime pass to set up his side’s first goal against the Netherlands on Dec. 9, and then a penalty and an assist against Croatia in the semifinal on Dec. 13.
Along the way, Messi has been ably assisted by striker Julián Álvarez, who scored two of the three goals to overpower Croatia, and midfielder Alexis Mac Allister.
Goalkeeper Emi Martínez also further endeared himself to Argentine fans with two saves in the penalty shootout against the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.
Standing in Messi’s way is his Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappé, as France seeks to win back-to-back World Cup trophies.
Mbappé is tied with Messi as this tournament’s top goalscorer and will be doing his very best to derail Argentina, as France looks to have the most complete team of the tournament.
Antoine Griezmann has provided much of France’s creative force, while also helping out defensively. The Atletico Madrid star was instrumental in France’s win against England, superbly crossing for Olivier Giroud to head home France’s winner in a 2-1 quarterfinal victory.
Like Griezmann, the 36-year-old Giroud has had a renaissance in this World Cup after failing to score a single goal in 2018.
But at Qatar 2022, the AC Milan forward has scored four goals at the World Cup – only one behind Mbappé – and has become France’s all-time record goalscorer.
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