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France faces Argentina in thrilling World Cup final: NPR


Argentina striker No. 10 Lionel Messi (L) in Al Rayyan, Qatar on December 3, 2022 and French striker No. 10 Kylian Mbappe in Al Wakrah. Argentina plays France in the final match of the 2022 World Cup in Doha, Qatar on December 18, 2022.

Frank Fife/AFP via Getty Images; Joel Samad/AFP via Getty Images


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Frank Fife/AFP via Getty Images; Joel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

There are 64 matches to be played at the 2022 World Cup – and this last game on Sunday is not only the most important, but arguably going to be the most exciting game of the month-long tournament in Qatar.

The storylines abound:

When the World Cup brackets first appeared and fans saw the possibilities, the final between Argentina and France was a dream match that many hoped would happen. But football is a brutal sport that often shatters dreams. Except this time.

France is the defending champion and no country has won back-to-back World Cup titles in 60 years (Brazil, in 1962, being the last). glaucoma Enter this match fast and equipped with talent.

Let’s start with Kylian Mbappe.

He’s scored five goals in this tournament (tied for the most with Messi) and four in 2018. He has unbelievable speed and his combat with the ball and his trickery are otherworldly. Just 23 years old, comparisons to Brazilian legend Pele continued to pile up (in 2018, Mbappe became the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since Pele in 1958 and this year he surpassed Pele’s World Cup scoring record for an under-24 player with 9 goals). ). And unlike Messi, Mbappe owns a World Cup title (sorry, that has to be said).


Antoine Griezmann celebrates after France’s 2-1 victory over England in the quarter-finals on December 10, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar.

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Antoine Griezmann celebrates after France’s 2-1 victory over England in the quarter-finals on December 10, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar.

Dan Mullan/Getty Images

But soccer is a team sport with ten other players on the field. While most attention is riveted on Mbappe or Olivier Giroud (France’s all-time leading goalscorer), Antoine Griezmann has been one of France’s most important players in Qatar. Formally a striker, but was relegated to midfield after a slew of French injuries, Griezmann brilliance – penetrating both creating goalscoring chances and returning to defence. He has kept the team together with his creativity and ingenuity.

Coming to this World Cup – both countries have won this tournament twice before. France (1998 and 2018) and Argentina (1978 and 1986). For Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, this is the only missing trophy from his illustrious career. The 35-year-old is one of the best players to ever play the game – but he hasn’t been able to say he’s a World Cup champion. It has reached the final once before – in 2014 – but Argentina lost to Germany. This is expected to be his last World Cup match.

When he takes to the field against France, Messi will set a FIFA record for the most appearances in a men’s World Cup competition: 26. Earlier in the tournament, he scored his 11th goal – the most ever for an Argentine. He has also had an assist at the World Cup five times – the first man to do so. With his run to the final, Messi leads the Golden Boot competition as the tournament’s top scorer. While Messi and Mbappe each scored five goals, Messi has the advantage in the tie-break (three assists to two for Mbappe).

Messi belongs to a top club – but for all his records and successes, he will always be in the shadow of Argentine great Diego Maradona – unless he can win a World Cup for his country.

The match will kick off at 10 a.m. EST on Sunday. In the United States, it will be broadcast on Fox and Telemundo.