World Cup 2022 final preview: 3 things ahead of Argentina vs. France

The World Cup final that will be played on Sunday will feature Argentina against France. Here are three things you need to know. 

The streets around Lusail Stadium have been bustling with fans for days. Lusail Stadium, located 12 miles north of Doha and a 45-minute train ride from the spice markets of the Qatari capital, will be the site of Sunday’s final.

The locals, who had adopted Morocco as their team, will now need to choose between finalists Argentina and France.

While the smells of the Doha markets can make your mouth water, it’s the sounds of the chanting fans waving flags along the eight-lane Lusail Boulevard (many of them pulling for Argentina) who have provided sensory overload. The days leading up to the final are always a mix of emotion, passion and national pride. It’s what makes the World Cup such a massive event.

It’s the hope, however, that a final evokes that will have fans on both sides smiling incessantly over the coming days. Four years ago, France prevailed to win their second World Cup. In Qatar, the French are still here. Once again, the excitement is palpable among supporters of Les Bleus.

Every major sport has loads of buzz ahead of a trophy being awarded. Be it Game 7 of the World Series or the Super Bowl, such excitement is real. It can’t be denied. The World Cup final is that on a much larger scale. After all, the game is not contested annually, but every four years, and draws over one billion TV viewers across the globe.

As the planet awaits the final between Argentina and France, here are three things to know ahead of the game.

How they got there

Argentina, World Cup champions in 1978 and 1986, won Group C after losing the first game 2-1 to Saudi Arabia. Argentina grabbed six points after that by beating Mexico (2-0) and Poland (2-0).

Here’s how they got to the final:

Round of 16: Argentina 2, Australia 1Quarterfinals: Argentina, 2, Netherlands 2 (4-3 in the shootout)Semifinals: Argentina 3, Croatia 0

France, meanwhile, finished first in Group D. They advanced after defeating Australia (4-1) and Denmark (2-1). The team, with mostly subs starting, dropped their final group stage game to Tunisia (1-0).

Here’s how they got to the final:

Round of 16: France 3, Poland 1Quarterfinals: France 2, England 1Semifinals: France 2, Morocco 0

Messi vs. Mbappe

Argentina entered the tournament among the pre-tournament favorites after winning the Copa America last year. They are also the sentimental favorites for many who want to see Lionel Messi cement himself as the GOAT.

“I am very happy to finish my journey in World Cups in a final and to play the last game in a final,” said Messi, who lost the 2014 final against Germany. “That is really very gratifying. Everything I lived in this World Cup has been emotional after seeing how much it has been enjoyed in Argentina.”

Messi has scored five goals and added three assists to his personal tally at this World Cup. He’s poised to win the Golden Ball as the tournament’s top scorer, but none of that will mean anything to him unless he can lift the trophy.

On the other side of the ball will be Kylian Mbappe. Messi’s PSG teammate also has five goals (and two assists) at this tournament. Mbappe won the World Cup with France four years ago and will be looking to add another as France attempts to be the first team since Brazil 60 years ago to win back-to-back World Cups.

World Cup Final: Who’s likely to win?

A World Cup final may be the toughest game to predict given how talented the teams that get there are. Both survived a six-game slog to reach the final, including three knockout stage encounters that tested both sides.

Argentina and France have both won two World Cup each. This year’s final is also a rematch of the 2018 World Cup round of 16 encounter that Les Bleus won 4-3.

My pre-tournament pick to win it all was Argentina. I’m sticking with that pick.

Prediction: Argentina 2, France 1

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