Argentina take on France in the World Cup final at the Lusail Stadium on Sunday 18 December. Argentina have relied on Lionel Messi’s magic feet in a lot of games throughout the tournament and the South American side come into the match off the back of a resounding 3-0 victory over Croatia in which the PSG forward was the star of the show. This time, he will be up against the player who many have already touted as his successor to the crown of ‘best player in the world’: Kylian Mbappé who shone in the earlier rounds but has perhaps failed to carry his high level through to the latter stages, being kept relatively quiet against both England and Morocco.
Messi’s magic feet were on show when he twisted past Gvardiol to set up Julián Álvarez for Argentina’s third goal. PETER CZIBORRAREUTERS
Argentina injury news
Messi skipped Argentina’s Thursday training session, raising further suspicions regarding the suspected hamstring injury he was concealing in his side’s 3-0 win over Croatia in the semi-final on Tuesday. It seems, however, that the absence was a precautionary measure and he is fit for the final. Ángel Di María is hopeful of making a recovery in time for the game; Papu Gómez and Lautaro Martínez worked in the gym.
Marcos Acuña and Gonzalo Montiel, the two full-backs who were not able to play in the semi-final due to suspension, are set to return for the showpiece event.
Argentina predicted starting XI:
Molina – Romero – Otamendi – Acuña
De Paul – Paredes – Enzo – Mac Allister
Messi – Álvarez.