|Lionel Messi is seeking the elusive World Cup to seal his GOAT status but will France let him? (Photo credit: BBC)|
It’s what you call the final hurray for some and for most, a lifetime opportunity to etch their respective names into the coveted history books; good people of the world, it’s the World Cup finals.
The journey to the final was never going to be smooth but the roads rose to meet the two sides; one of them emerged from the shadows of a shock defeat to Saudi Arabia and the other from the jaws of an unwanted curse that plagued every defending champion since they won it themselves in 1998.
France will take on Argentina at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar and beyond the stans behind the legend of the house of Albiceleste, Lionel Messi, first of his name, god of the Argentine army and his quest to be the undisputed greatest of all time, it’s a show we all want to enjoy from the first minute till the end.
France can do what no one has done in sixty years – to retain the title they won in 2018 after beating Croatia 4-2 in Russia, it would be their third-ever time winning the title if they’re able to subdue the Argentines but will they find it easy?
France has played the semifinals seven times, they lost the first three and have won the last four; three out of the last four times that they made it to the final, they went on to win twice, in 1998 and in 2018, losing on penalties to Italy after Zinedine Zidane’s fall from grace in 2006.
For Argentina, their two triumphs had Diego Maradona written all over it but they’ve experienced final pains on many occasions for comfort. A part of them would pray for Morocco but they’ve been handed the hardest possible draw, the defending champions.
France against Argentina goes beyond Messi and Kyllian Mbappe but either of them can win it for the team. The battle will be lost and won in the wide areas where Argentina will have to pay attention and ensure they do the needful.
Unheralded players typically steal the show in the final; Zidane in 1998, Mario Goetze in 2014 and Andreas Iniesta in 2010 explain that analogy; while Messi doesn’t need the World Cup trophy to be crowned a king, winning the trophy will seal a career you can’t find elsewhere.
Argentina must be wary of the pace on the flanks of the defending champions, they cannot afford to sleep off hence they would be badly punished. France will find ways to keep Messi quiet but they can’t afford to pretend there are no other match-winners in the Albiceleste squad.