Reigning world champions France will take on Copa America holders Argentina in the World Cup final on Sunday in a match which pits Kylian Mbappe against his Paris-Saint Germain team-mate Lionel Messi. The PSG pair have been two of the standout players of the tournament in Qatar and both are also vying for the Golden Boot with five tournament goals.
Didier Deschamps is aiming to become only the second manager in football history to win two consecutive World Cup titles- the last manager to achieve this feat was Italy’s Vittorio Pozzo who oversaw back to back triumphs in 1934 and 1938. France have previously lifted the World Cup on two occasions in 1998 and 2018 - they are aiming to lift the historic trophy for the third time in their history. Argentina are also seeking their third World Cup title. The South American giants have previously lifted the trophy in 1978 and 1986.
The two teams have established themselves as two powerhouses of international football in recent years and one team will achieve football immortality during the tournament in Qatar. But who has the better record between the two teams and who is the bookmakers’ favourite heading into the final at the Lusail Iconic Stadium?
Here is everything you need to know.
When did France last play against Argentina in the World Cup?
France and Argentina came head to head in the World Cup round of 16 four years ago in one of the standout games of the tournament in Russia. France comfortably finished top of Group C and secured top spot with two victories and one draw from their opening three games.
Meanwhile Argentina struggled to find their best form in Group D and managed just one win, one draw and one loss from their group stage campaign. The South American side scraped through the group to finish as runners-up after a last-gasp winner from Marcos Rojo against Nigeria.
France met Argentina in the first knockout game of the competition and prevailed to the quarter-finals after a 4-3 victory. Though much of the focus before the game was centred on Argentinian icon Messi, it was Mbappe who got his name on the post match headlines by scoring a sensational second half double.
Mbappe announced himself on the world stage in that game and became the first teenager since Pele in 1958 to score two goals in a World Cup knockout match.
France went on to be crowned world champions and Mbappe continued to stamp his mark on the tournament with two goals in the final against Croatia.
Who has the better head to head record between France and Argentina?
Although France won the last encounter between the two sides, it is Argentina who have the superior record in the overall head to head battle. Argentina have won six of their 12 meetings against France, who have managed just three victories. The other three matches between the two teams ended in draws.
Who has the better World Cup record?
France and Argentina have faced each other just three times in the World Cup. Argentina have a slightly better record with two wins compared to France’s one win.
Previous World Cup meetings
Argentina 1-0 France - World Cup group stage (1930)
Argentina 2-1 France - World Cup group stage (1978)
France 4-3 Argentina - World Cup round of 16 (2018)
Who are the favourites to win the World Cup?
France are the bookmakers favourites heading into the World Cup final in Qatar. Les Bleus possess one of the most talented teams on the planet and they have already proven themselves on the world stage four years ago.
France have a mouth watering frontline of Mbappe, Oliver Giroud, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele. While at the back they are blessed with solid defenders such as Raphael Varane, Ibrahima Konate, Theo Hernandez and Jules Kounde. France are fortunate to have a strong mixture of youth and experience and there are even rumours of a late return for Karim Benzema in the build up to the final.
However, there is very little to separate the two sides and Argentina also possess a hugely talented team. Lionel Scaloni’s side have proven they have what it takes to lift a major trophy and were crowned Copa America champions last year in Brazil.
Scaloni’s team entered the tournament high on confidence after a 36-game unbeaten streak. While they may have suffered an upset on the opening day of the tournament, the South American giants have grown into the competition with each passing game and produced their best performance yet to dismantle Croatia with a 3-0 win in the semi-final.
Argentina possess a great deal of firepower in attack - they are spearheaded by seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi but also have a bright young talent in Manchester City youngster Julian Alvarez.
Messi has established himself as one of the greatest footballers on the planet over the last two decades and is viewed by many as the greatest player in the history of the sport. He will be aiming to bow out of his final international game with a blockbuster performance and the most coveted prize in the game.