Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 20/21
With all eyes falling on the Lusail Stadium on Sunday afternoon, Argentina and France will meet with this winter’s World Cup crown up for grabs.
Starting with Argentina, although the South American icons might have opened their World Cup adventure last month with a stunning 2-1 loss at the hands of Saudi Arabia, Lionel Scaloni’s men have proven that was nothing more than a minor blip. Clinching their sixth spot in a World Cup final after breezing their way to a 3-0 romp against Croatia earlier in the week, the mood in their camp appears to be at a red-hot high. Suffering just a single defeat from any of their last 41 straight appearances across all competitions – a run that stems all the way back to July 2019 – La Albiceleste are just 90 minutes away from making real history in the Middle East. Looking to lift the Jules Rimet trophy for a third time this weekend, Scaloni will be calling on his attacking icon to spearhead their charge. Once again stealing all of the headlines against Croatia on Tuesday, Lionel Messi has continued on a remarkable World Cup flurry. In fact, the Argentinian record-breaker has racked up five strikes out in Qatar this winter.
Both missing out on the 3-0 semi-final victory against Croatia earlier in the week, Argentina will welcome back Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel on Sunday afternoon. However, the South American giants are sweating over the fitness of Sevilla’s Papu Gomez this weekend.
Bagging a World Cup brace against the Blazers on Tuesday and racking up four strikes in Qatar this weekend, Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez should once again join Messi in attack.
As for France, while Les Bleus might have suffered a rather public nightmare crisis prior to this winter’s tournament, the European heavyweights have only continued to shine in Qatar. Eventually coming past the hugely impressive Morocco earlier in the week thanks to a 2-0 victory, Didier Deschamps’ men are on the cusp of making more World Cup history on Sunday afternoon. With Deschamps looking to become just the second manager to lift the Jules Rimet trophy on two seperate occasions, the defending champions have already picked up some notable scalps in the Middle East. Coming past European rivals England on December 10th as they landed a 2-1 victory in Al Khor, France also have their own attacking talisman enjoying a stellar World Cup run. With Kylian Mbappe sitting level with Messi on five strikes this winter, they should also be boosted by their most recent meeting against La Albiceleste. It should be noted, when the two nations faced off in Russia four years ago, Les Bleus claimed a thrilling 4-3 victory in the Round of 16.
Missing Les Bleus’ 2-0 victory against Morocco earlier in the week with an illness, France are hopeful that 27-year-old Adrien Rabiot can make his return at the Lusail Stadium. The Juventus ace could replace Youssouf Fofana at the heart of Deschamps’ midfield.
Matching Messi’s five World Cup strikes this winter, fellow PSG icon Kylian Mbappe will once again spearhead France’s charge on Sunday afternoon. Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate will be hoping to partner Raphael Varane at the back.
Key Factors to Consider
- When the two nations last faced off in Russia four years ago, France picked up a stellar 4-3 victory in the Round of 16.
- Argentina’s 2-1 loss against Saudi Arabia on November 22nd is their only defeat from their previous 41 straight appearances across all formats.
- Likewise, the defending world champions have won five of their six World Cup appearances this winter.
- However, France’s 2-0 win against Morocco in midweek was just the second clean sheet that Les Bleus have recorded in their last 12 outings.
- Both Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi have recorded five World Cup strikes in Qatar this year.
While neutrals from across the globe might be desperate for Messi to get his hands on a maiden world crown on Sunday, Argentina will face a real test here. With France desperate to make real history in the Middle East and defend their title in Qatar, we could be in for real fireworks at the Lusail Stadium. In a showdown that is highlighted by a pair of attacking icons, both La Albiceleste and Les Bleus certainly stole plenty of headlines four years ago. Watching France claim a remarkable 4-3 victory in their Round of 16 battle, we could see chances at both ends of the pitch here. Two heavyweights who have shown some defensive issues over the past month, we’re backing what could be another famous affair this weekend.
Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 20/21
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