Argentina and France will go head-to-head in the 2022 FIFA World Cup final with both nations bidding to secure their third title – and there are plenty of other storylines adding spice to this iconic fixture.
Will Lionel Messi get his crowning moment? Can Kylian Mbappe confirm himself as the next potential greatest player? And will France become the first team since Brazil 60 years ago to go back-to-back in this tournament?
The managers’ team selections are sure to have a big say on which narrative wins out betwen two teams bookmakers are finding hard to separate.
Check out the predicted lineups below for the showdown at the Lusail Iconic Stadium.
France vs Argentina lineups
France boss Didier Deschamps has no interest in helping Lionel Messi bolster his case to be the greatest player of all time in Sunday’s World Cup final.
Argentina’s talisman is targeting a maiden success in this competition that would arguably push him beyond any of his rivals for the title of best ever.
But Deschamps, who has had a hand in France’s previous two victories as captain and then coach, would prefer to make it a hat-trick in Qatar.
On the possibility of Messi getting his hands on the trophy, he said: “We will do everything humanly possible for that not to happen.”
Argentina predicted starting 11
(4-4-2, right to left): 23. E. Martinez (GK) — 26. Molina, 13. Romero, 19. Otamendi, 8. Acuna — 5. Paredes, 7. De Paul, 24. Fernandez, 20. Mac Allister — 10. Messi, 9. Alvarez
Argentina’s only injury doubt is Papu Gomez, who missed out on the semifinal win over Croatia with an unspecified issue.
Fullbacks Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel will be both be available after serving a one-match suspension, though only the former should start.
Head coach Lionel Scaloni’s biggest call is whether to stick with the 4-4-2 formation that he used last time out or match up France and bring Angel Di Maria back into a front three.
MORE: World Cup bracket 2022: Live updated FIFA knockout stages and printable version for download
France predicted starting 11
(4-3-3, right to left): 1. Lloris (GK) — 5. Kounde, 4. Varane, 24. Konate, 22. T. Hernandez — 7. Griezmann, 8. Tchouameni, 14. Rabiot — 11. Dembele, 9. Giroud, 10. Mbappe
Injured: L. Hernandez
Defenders Raphael Varane and Ibrahima Konate were joined by winger Kingsley Coman in missing training on Friday because of flu, RMC reported.
Konate’s symptoms are reportedly more severe than Varane’s. The outlet also said that midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni (hip) and fullback Theo Hernandez (knee) missed training.
Adrien Rabiot was replaced by Youssouf Fofana because of illness against Morocco. But unlike Dayot Upamecano, who also fell ill, Rabiot is expected to come straight back in.
Should Benzema make that shock return, it would surely only be as an option from the bench given Olivier Giroud’s form.