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2022 World Cup final: Position-by-position breakdown between Argentina and France

Argentina and France square off in the World Cup final. Here’s a position-by-position breakdown ahead of Sunday’s big game.  

The World Cup final on Sunday pitting defending champions France and Argentina, winners of last year’s Copa America, is expected to be an epic affair between two of the planet’s best soccer teams.

The match at Lusail Stadium outside Doha, Qatar, has been billed as a contest between Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe. It is also a game between two attacking sides with plenty of offensive weapons.

“Hopefully, we can win it,” Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni told reporters on Saturday. “It would be great. We know how to attack them.”

That bodes well for those who want to see a high-scoring encounter. Nonetheless, World Cup finals have also been close affairs. The 2014 final, when Germany defeated Messi’s Argentina, produced only one goal. By contrast, the final that France won in Moscow four years ago produced six goals as Les Bleus defeated Croatia 4-2.

Here’s a position-by-position breakdown of how Argentina and France stack up against one another.

2022 World Cup final: Goalkeeping

Argentina has Emiliano Martinez in net. A veteran who earned his first senior cap 10 years ago, Martinez has given up five goals in six games at this tournament. Martinez is most vulnerable when his defense falls apart, but he’s been exceptionally strong in the knockout stage.

France features goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who captains a side that’s also given up five goals. Defensively, the French have sometimes looked suspect, but Lloris is a wonderful goalkeeper. He is looking to make history by becoming the first team captain ever to lift back-to-back World Cup trophies.

Should the match end in a draw after 120 minutes of action and go to a shootout, Martinez is much better on penalties than Lloris.

Edge: France 

2022 World Cup final: Defense

Argentina has center backs Cristian Romero and Nicolas Otamendi, who have anchored the defense for the Albiceleste. On the flanks, Argentina has Nahuel Molina and Marcus Acuna. Both Molina and Acuna run up the wings and help the offense, but they will need to be extra careful given France’s attack and ability to be quick on transitions.

France also has a great defense, but a flu that has plagued the team could deplete their backline. If Ibrahima Konate and Raphael Varane, two of the players who are sick, are unable to play, then it would leave the Didier Deschamps-led team without two of its three main center backs. Left back Theo Hernandez, meanwhile, likes to play a box-to-box style, but he may be hampered from making too many offensive forays given Argentina’s attack.

Edge: Argentina 

2022 World Cup final: Midfield

Argentina plays a 4-3-3 that features the trio of Rodrigo De Paul, Enzo Fernandez and Alexis Mac Allister. De Paul plays in the center of that trio, but often roams up to aid the attack. This group has gotten better with every match at this tournament and will be prepared to put loads of pressure on the French, thanks to their work rate and passing abilities.

By contrast, France will counter with a 4-3-3 of its own that is spearheaded by Antonine Griezmann. He’s had a wonderful tournament, especially after Deschamps moved him into a playmaking position deeper in the midfield. The result has been three assists for the Frenchman.

“Griezmann has been an elite player for 10 years now,” Deschamps said. “Like all world-class players, he’s at his best in the most important games.”

Edge: Argentina 

2022 World Cup final: Offense

Scaloni has been able to consistently rely on Messi to keep things feisty in the offensive third. Winger Angel Di Maria is healthy again and should be back in the starting lineup in time for the final. Julian Alvarez, who stole the starting position from Lautaro Martinez, has been this tournament’s best young player.

The defending champions have Mbappe teaming up with Olivier Giroud, with the attacking duo combining for nine of the team’s 13 goals at this World Cup. The French have the offense needed to win games (we’ve seen that at this tournament), but it remains to be seen if Argentina’s defense can keep them from getting on the scoresheet.

“Two players are under pressure to deliver special performances in the final: Mbappe for France and Messi, more than ever, to deliver something special for Argentina,” said former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who currently serves as FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development. “Two very important players on either side have been Giroud, who was not expected to figure much at the start of the tournament, and Alvarez, who also broke his way into the team during the tournament. Both of them have been very influential and will have an important part to play.”

Edge: Even

The reality of this final is that the teams, both two-time World Cup winners, are stacked up front. That leaves the defenses on both sides of the ball making up the difference in a game that’s billed as a showdown between two great offenses. Defense, it turns out, could be what matters most in the end.

Denise T. Jones

Denise T. Jones is a passionate sports enthusiast with a knack for capturing the electrifying essence of the sporting world. As a dedicated sports news writer for AccessTV.co, Denise brings her unparalleled love for sports and her adept storytelling skills to deliver captivating and insightful content to readers worldwide. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of various sports disciplines, Denise ensures that her articles provide comprehensive coverage of the latest events, matches, and developments in the sports realm. Whether it's the thrill of the game-winning goal, the drama of a nail-biting finish, or the heartwarming stories of triumph against all odds, Denise encapsulates it all with eloquence and precision. Denise's journey in sports journalism has been marked by her unwavering commitment to accuracy, integrity, and excellence. Her ability to blend statistical analysis with compelling narratives sets her apart as a trusted voice in the industry. From the adrenaline-pumping action on the field to the strategic maneuvers off it, Denise brings every aspect of the sporting world to life through her writing. With a finger on the pulse of the sports scene, Denise T. Jones continues to inspire and inform readers with her dynamic and engaging sports coverage on AccessTV.co.

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