Key match-ups in World Cup final between Argentina and France | Football News

DOHA: Argentina and France face each other in the World Cup final at Lusail Stadium on Sunday. Both countries are in contention for their third title, with the French having the chance to become the first back-to-back champions since Brazil in 1962.
Here are three of the key matches which are likely to have a big bearing on the outcome:
Kylian Mbappe against Nahuel Molina
Mbappe is a contender for the World Cup Player of the Tournament award, having led France to their second consecutive final.
The 23-year-old jet-heeled striker has scored five times in six games, surpassing his tally from the 2018 tournament, and has now scored nine World Cup goals in 13 appearances across both editions.
Mbappe’s explosive pace and technique were a nightmare for Moroccan defenders Achraf Dari and Achraf Hakimi, who tried unsuccessfully to prevent him from descending into France’s left channel in their semi-final.
Now, Argentinian right-back Molina will be in charge of scoring Mbappe.
Molina arrived at the World Cup after being criticized after struggling in his first season with Atletico Madrid, but he was solid during the tournament and started every game.
The potential match-up could see coach Lionel Scaloni deploying a three-man defense like he did in their quarter-final against the Netherlands, to provide support for Molina.
This would likely pit Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Cristian Romero against Mbappe.
Lionel Messi against Aurélien Tchouameni
One of the most anticipated clashes will be Argentina great Messi against rising star French midfielder Tchouameni.
They have faced each other once before, as Paris St Germain and Monaco played in the French league in the 2021-22 season.
Messi got the better of Tchouameni in the encounter, with PSG winning 2-0 and the Argentine providing an assist for one of Mbappe’s two goals.
However, 22-year-old Tchouameni has been brilliant since joining Real Madrid in August, where he immediately replaced long-serving Casemiro and is considered one of the most talented midfielders.
His task of slowing down Messi on Sunday should be crucial to France’s success.
Enzo Fernandez against Antoine Griezmann
Griezmann’s combination of hard work and trickery at both ends of the pitch captured attention and made his role as a floating midfielder one of the most compelling World Cup stories to date.
While Kylian Mbappe could claim the tournament’s Golden Boot, Griezmann has been the cornerstone of France’s success in the tournament, creating several chances while losing deep and interrupting play.
Playing a similar role for Argentina is rising star Enzo Fernandez, who didn’t even make his debut six months ago but has become an integral part of Scaloni’s system as a box-to midfielder. -box.
With both being the heart and soul of their teams’ midfield, whoever manages to take control could be tasked with dictating the pace of what should be a balanced clash on Sunday.


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