Argentina are looking to add one more star to their jersey as they haven’t been able to win the world cup since 1986. France, also with two cups under their belt, will try to become the first team since Brazil in 1962 to win the trophy for two consecutive years.
After other legends of the game like Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, Robert Lewandowski, Luka Modric and Manuel Neuer had their final world cup appearances at Qatar 2022, it will be Lionel Messi who’ll play his final international game for Argentina tonight. This match will also give an opportunity to tomorrow’s legends like Kylian Mbappe and Julian Alvarez to win it for their team.
This will be Argentina’s fifth match (out of total of seven matches) at the Lusail Stadium in this tournament. It is the same venue where the Albicelestes lost to Saudi Arabia in their opening match. It is also the same venue where Lionel Scaloni’s boys have remained victorious ever since. Messi has checked off almost all of the items on his football bucket list, with the exception of the biggest one of them all—the world cup.
Argentina, after winning five consecutive matches at Qatar 2022, will have a chance to bid the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner an appropriate farewell. However, Messi is aware that the biggest sporting event in the world cannot be conquered by only one person’s efforts. Tonight, the entire team must deliver. The only other team to win the world cup final after losing their opening match was Spain in 2010.
Les Bleus will play at the Lusail Stadium for the first time in this tournament and try to make this memorable. They will be the first defending champions in 24 years to take part in a world cup final, thanks to their 2-0 win against Morocco. The best part for France is that their star players, Mbappe and Olivier Giroud, have been in tremendous form – both holding a chance to win the Golden Boot by scoring in the final.
Giroud’s performance has been particularly special because France depended a lot on the one he replaced just before the world cup – reigning Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema. France maintained a clean sheet in the semi-final against Morocco despite the African team giving them a scare with their back-to-back attacks. Now, as Didier Deschamps’ boys will look for glory, stopping Argentina from scoring will give them a spectacular advantage.
While the focus will remain on Mbappe and Giroud, Antoine Griezmann – who hasn’t scored in this tournament yet – will shine. Griezmann will have a chance to make a difference one last time in this tournament. Lionel Messi will be in the spotlight, but let’s not forget that it will be the final appearance for Angel Di María as well. If given the chance to be in the starting lineup, Di María will shine like a star.
The Argentina vs France match will be played on December 18 at 08:30 PM (Indian time) in the Lusail Stadium, Lusail.