Lionel Messi. Argentina. Kylian Mbappé. France.
It doesn’t get much better than that – and that’s the matchup for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Final in Qatar.
Argentina became the first nation to book its spot in the final after cruising past Croatia 3-0 in the semifinal. La Albiceleste had topped Group C with wins over Mexico and Poland before beating Australia in the round of 16 and the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.
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France joined the matchup after topping Morocco 2-0 in their semifinal contest. Les Bleus also finished first in Group D with wins over Australia and Denmark before eliminating Poland in the round of 16 and England in the quarterfinals.
Now that the two heavyweights are going at each other for the first time since their 2018 round of 16 thriller in Russia, let’s preview what should be a riveting finale in Qatar:
Who are the top players and captain for Argentina and France?
Surprise, surprise – Messi is the top player and captain for Argentina. La Pulga has tallied five goals and three assists through six games and is in top contention to win the Golden Ball Award, given to the best player throughout the tournament, should La Albiceleste win. Other than him, striker Julian Álvarez and midfielder Enzo Fernández have risen to the occasion despite being at the ripe ages of 22 and 21, respectively.
Álvarez has taken a huge load off Messi’s offensive burden with four goals in six games, and he did not start the first two group stage matches behind Lautaro Martínez. Fernández also did not join the starting lineup until he unleashed a beautiful curling strike against Mexico in the second group game, and now both are pivotal starters Argentina can’t play without.
For France, the captain is goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who was also the main man between the sticks in its 2018 title run. After a six-save performance against England, Lloris finally notched his first clean sheet of Qatar against Morocco, though there were some troubling signs for the defense in that game.
Along with Lloris, Kylian Mbappé is no doubt the superstar garnering the headlines, though Olivier Giroud’s four goals and Antoine Griezmann’s three assists have been just as vital in Les Bleus’ run. Griezmann, in particular, has been at the heart of everything France has been doing – clearing out play in their own defensive third, helping progress the ball through the different phases of attack and delivering the final ball for goal-scoring chances in the attacking third.
Who are the managers for Argentina and France?
Argentina is led by Lionel Scaloni, a 44-year-old Argentine who took over the role in November of 2018 after its early exit in the World Cup earlier that year. He then guided the team to the 2021 Copa América title after beating Brazil in the final. He has a win-draw-loss record of 37-14-5 in all competitions since taking over.
France is led by Didier Deschamps, a 54-year-old Frenchman who took over the role in 2012. Under Deschamps, Les Bleus finished second in the 2016 UEFA Euros, won the 2018 World Cup and the 2020-21 UEFA Nations League. France has a win-draw-loss record of 89-27-22 in all competitions under him.
What are the team nicknames for Argentina and France?
Argentina’s nickname is La Albiceleste, which means “the white and blue”.
France’s nickname is Les Bleus, which means “the blues”.
Where do Argentina and France play home games?
When the nations host games outside of the World Cup, they each have a designated home stadium.
Argentina hosts games in Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires, the capital of the country. It is also where the Argentine club River Plate play. The stadium has a capacity of 70,054.
France hosts games in the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, which is just north of Paris. No other football team plays in the stadium. It has a capacity of 81,500.
How many World Cup titles do Argentina and France have?
Both nations have hoisted the trophy twice.
Argentina won the title in 1978 and 1986. France’s wins have been more recent, having come in 1998 and 2018.
Also, both the 1978 and 1998 wins were done so in their own countries, as each nation hosted those respective tournaments en route to winning in front of a home crowd.
How did Argentina and France reach the World Cup Final?
Here’s a game-by-game look for each team’s path to the final:
- Group C Game 1: 2-1 loss vs. Saudi Arabia
- Group C Game 2: 2-0 win vs. Mexico
- Group C Game 3: 2-0 win vs. Poland
- Round of 16: 2-1 win vs. Australia
- Quarterfinals: 2-2 (4-3 penalties) win vs. Netherlands
- Semifinals: 3-0 win vs. Croatia
- Group D Game 1: 4-1 win vs. Australia
- Group D Game 2: 2-1 win vs. Denmark
- Group D Game 3: 1-0 loss vs. Tunisia
- Round of 16: 3-1 win vs. Poland
- Quarterfinals: 2-1 win vs. England
- Semifinals: 2-0 win vs. Morocco
How many goals has Argentina and France scored in Qatar?
Both teams are the two-highest-scoring nations in Qatar. France has the edge with 13, with Argentina’s 12 coming next.
France vs. Argentina head-to-head matchups
Dating back to 1930, France and Argentina have met 12 times. La Albiceleste has the advantage with a 6-3-3 win-draw-loss record. Here’s a look at each result and what competition it came in:
- 1930 FIFA World Cup Group Stage: Argentina 1-0
- 1965 International Friendly: Draw 0-0
- 1971 International Friendly: France 4-3
- 1971 International Friendly: Argentina 2-0
- 1972 Brazil Independence Cup: Draw 0-0
- 1974 International Friendly: Argentina 1-0
- 1977 International Friendly: Draw 0-0
- 1978 FIFA World Cup Group Stage: Argentina 2-1
- 1986 International Friendly: France 2-0
- 2007 International Friendly: Argentina 1-0
- 2009 International Friendly: Argentina 2-0
- 2018 FIFA World Cup Round of 16: France 4-3
Is France the defending World Cup champion?
Yes, France is looking to be the first team since Brazil in 1958 and 1962 to successfully defend its World Cup title after winning in 2018. That year, Les Bleus breezed past Croatia 4-2.
Are any players from Argentina or France in the race for the Golden Boot Award?
Not just one, but four players in total from both nations are vying for the Golden Boot Award. Mbappé led the way with five after scoring two against Poland in the round of 16, and Messi tied him after scoring a penalty against Croatia.
Giroud and Álvarez each have four goals apiece and could look to overtake the lead should they score two without Mbappé or Messi adding to their totals.
The Al Hilm ball, which translates to “The Dream”, will be the one the players look to put into the back of the net to secure the award.
When is the Argentina vs. France 2022 World Cup Final?
Kick-off time is slated for 10 a.m. ET, 7 a.m. PT, which is 6 p.m. locally in Qatar.
Who is playing in the third-place game of the 2022 World Cup?
Croatia and Morocco will duke it out for the bronze medal in the third-place game on Saturday after falling short in the semifinals. The two sides already met once in Group F play in their first game of the 2022 tournament, where they played to a 0-0 draw. One nation will have to win this time, though.
The Vatreni won the bronze medal in 1998 in their first ever time competing in the quadrennial tournament while the Atlas Lions are hunting for their first silverware from any World Cup.