The 2022 World Cup Final is finally here (well, kickoff is Sunday afternoon, our time here in Canada). It's two soccer powerhouses – one defending champion and the challenger from a nation where the sport is a religion.
Argentina plays France. This is the big game many millions were expecting.
A superstar clash: Lionel Messi vs. Kylian Mbappe....a thrilling heavyweight title finish that the 2022 World Cup deserves. What a perfect way to end it.
According to FIFA rankings, this final will put the No. 3 vs. No. 4 teams on the field; but after watching them both over the past month in Qatar, who can disagree that there are the two most deserving teams?
It's the perfect final for the world's biggest sporting spectacle.
Despite several injuries before the tournament started in November, France was sensational throughout competition, overwhelming teams with a steady pace and precision passing on the counter-attack, run by Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann.
However, Messi and his Argentina squad will be ready, finally given the opportunity to bring the trophy back to Argentina for the first time since 1986. Since then, France has won two cups, and is hoping to add one more for the ultimate trifecta.
So who will lift the trophy this Sunday? A riveting, star-studded World Cup final awaits us, so let's break it down with analysis and a few predictions.
First, here's a look at the latest odds at SPREADS.CA.
CHECK OUT ALL 2022 WORLD CUP ODDS AT SPREADS.CA – INCLUDING BOOSTED ODDS, WHICH OFFERS A POSITIVE EXPECTATION ON YOUR WAGERS!
Oddsmakers around the world have a roughly even split down the middle, so far as picking the winner. France are slightly favoured in some places, but there's almost no value in taking the dog as slightly plus money, at outlier betting sites. SPREADS.CA calls it dead even.
Where the best wagering opportunities exist might be on totals betting, that is, the number of goals to be scored.
A defensive battle is expected, as the UNDER 2.5 goal total is a short price, while the OVER gets the plus treatment.
What's tough to predict is if BOTH teams will score, or not. Oddsmakers seem to agree that out of all the possible regulation outcomes, a 1-1 draw is most likely.
[Note: Some of this is from CBS Sports.com]
Argentina vs France (Players and Injuries):
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni officially has a fully healthy squad, which is a rarity at this stage of the competition after a grueling, month-long journey in Qatar. The only slight questions are the fitness of Angel Di Maria and Paulo Dybala, as the former was an unused substitute against Croatia in the semifinal, while the latter saw just 16 minutes off the bench, his first appearance of the tournament. It's been no matter, as Julian Alvarez has been outstanding in support of star Lionel Messi.
France have weathered their early injury crisis with aplomb. Les Bleus are without Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante, Karim Benzema, Presnel Kimpembe, Christopher Nkunuku, and Mike Maignan, who all missed the tournament with pre-World Cup injuries. They then lost Lucas Hernandez to a torn ACL in the opening match. Yet, they've made use of their world-class depth, as Lucas Hernandez has stepped in for his brother admirably and Olivier Giroud has been fantastic up front in Benzema's absence.
- Argentina and France have played three times previously at the FIFA World Cup. Argentina won the first two meetings in 1930 and 1978, while France knocked Argentina out of the 2018 World Cup in the Round of 16.
- If Kylian Mbappe continues at his current pace for the French national team, by age 30 he will have amassed 153 international caps and 79 goals. At that rate, he would catch Cristiano Ronaldo's record of 118 international goals in his 229th cap at age 36.
- Should Argentina win the final, Lionel Messi would become the fourth-oldest player to win a FIFA World Cup in which he played, behind Miroslav Klose, Nilton Santos and 40-year-old Italian record-holder Dino Zoff.
More Argentina vs France Facts:
- Date: Sunday, December 18
- Kickoff Time: 10:00 a.m. ET / 3:00 p.m. GMT / 2:00 a.m. AEDT (Mon, Dec. 19)
- Location: Lusail Stadium
Argentina vs France Predictions:
- Moneyline Lean: France at 2.80
- Full Time Lean: Draw (tie) at 3.05
- Score prediction: Argentina 1-1 France (France to win on kicks)