Every World Cup final is an enormous match, that goes without saying. But enormous is an outrageous understatement for the scale of what we’re about to see this Sunday when an exceptional World Cup comes to a close with a mega-clash between Argentina and France. The incomparable Lionel Messi has the chance to finally grasp undisputed greatest of all time status, while France’s superstar Kylian Mbappé is just a win away from the almost-unprecedented accomplishment of consecutive World Cup titles before turning 24. Get France Vs. Argentina prediction, odds, and betting picks for the World Cup Final.
France vs. Argentina Prediction
If you know me, it’s rare that I’m at a loss for words, especially when it comes to sports. But when it comes to hyping this match up the appropriate amount, I’m finding an inability to write down strong enough superlatives. 8 years after coming oh-so-close in Brazil, Leo Messi finally has the chance to bring home football’s greatest honor, and add the only missing piece of an otherwise-sterling legacy. And he has certainly earned this opportunity, with one of his best national team performances thus far, which is seriously saying something.
He’s not alone- the likes of Julián Álvarez and Alexis Mac Allister have exploded onto the stage in this World Cup- but he’s surely been the driving force behind his nation’s success. Yes, three of his five goals were penalty kicks- questionably-awarded ones in some cases- but his impact goes far beyond the scoresheet; he’s simply the driving force at all times. He just needs one more match of magic, and then he can rest easy for all time.
On the France side, Kylian Mbappé obviously can’t secure a top all-time status on Sunday, but 250 goals, 2 World Cups, to go with potentially a golden ball and/or boot from this tournament and possibly the Ballon D’Or would put him in pretty rarefied grounds for a 24 year-old at season’s end. He’s level with his PSG teammate Messi for the tournament Golden Boot- and with zero penalties taken- but he’s not surely the best player on France in this tournament. This is no disrespect to Mbappé; it’s simply recognition of the greatness of Antoine Griezmann.
He was the winner of the World Cup Bronze Ball in 2018, is back in his very best form, and has arguably been the best player for Les Bleus, especially in the latest couple of knockout matches. Truly, it’s been a team effort for a France side that has persisted admirably, showing incredible next-man-up mentality through an absolute slew of injuries to starters, key contributors, and straight up all-time legends.
Speaking of legends, Olivier Giroud has entered the ranks of the French elite, as with one of the goals of an excellent tournament for him, he passed Thierry Henry on France’s all time goalscoring list. If there’s a weakness, it’s the defense; the match against Morocco was just their first clean sheet of the tournament, and there were some extremely close calls mixed in. But they’ve had big moments when it’s been needed, and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has turned back the clock. It’s been 60 years since the last successful World Cup title defense concluded; maybe it’s finally time for history to repeat.
Personally, I believe that it is. France’s attack is on another level compared to any other in this tournament, especially those Argentina have faced so far. They’re going to find goals, plural. Of course, if there’s anyone capable of the moments of brilliance that would be necessary to overcome such an onslaught, it’s Leo Messi, especially in his current form. I just wouldn’t bet on it, especially with everything on his shoulders right now, the hopes of a Nation and beyond.
So while I’m picking France within 90 for my France Vs. Aregentina prediction, in a very tough decision, the goalscoring number is less challenging to figure out; I’m going with the over. After Morocco didn’t give up a goal to opposition through 5 matches, except for an own goal, France fired two in; they’ve just been that good, and I believe that they’ll find two or more in this one. Pair that with a Messi on a mission, as well as Álvarez in ridiculous form, and I think we could have a goal fest on our hands. Besides- who could bet the under after that 4-3 thriller between these two sides in Russia?
France Vs. Argentina Prediction: France ML + Over 2.5 Goals
France vs. Argentina Odds
Vegas sees this game as being literally as even as possible. France are listed at +180 to win within 90 minutes, while Argentina is absolutely razor-thin favorite at +175 and the draw is set at +210. For the goalscoring total, it’s not quite as close; under 2.5 is favored pretty well at -175
France Attack vs. Argentina Defense
When your defense is physically incapable of keeping a clean sheet but you still get to the final without any legitimately close calls, you know you have a special attack. And it’s of course led by a special player, Kylian Mbappé, who is really showcasing his development at this tournament. He was a breakout star the last time out, but he’s now probably the best player at the event, as he leads the Golden Boot race and is influencing the game beyond his goalscoring; just check out his dribble before France’s second against Morocco.
If Mbappé doesn’t win the Golden Boot, it could be Messi- or it could be a French teammate, Olivier Giroud, who has four goals thus far. He has been quietly excellent for a lifetime, and is finally beginning to get a fraction of the recognition he deserves for his clinical finishing in big spots, and his work rate. To round out the starting group Ousmane Dembélé is, as always, talented but not always productive in terms of end product, and while he’s technically a midfielder, we have to talk about Antoine Griezmann’s role in the attack; he’s been positively everywhere, even providing assists from out on the left wing.
And, in addition to bigger names like Marcus Thuram and Kingsley Coman on the bench, France also got a huge late goal from lesser-known Randal Kolo Muani against Morocco; there’s just an absolute wealth of quality attacking options on this side.
The performance of Argentina’s defense could well be the top determining factor in this one. They’re a fine group capable of good performances- they relatively shut down a pretty good Croatia side- but they don’t have nearly the talent of the French attack, and they haven’t seen anyone quite like their next adversaries. There’s a pair of solid Prem defenders at centre-back, in Nicolás Otamendi and Cristian Romero, and they’ve been fine, even if a bit careless at times. One might question however, why a fellow Prem player, Man United rising star Lisandro Martínez, hasn’t been given too much of a chance in this World Cup.
The fullback pairing of Nicolás Tagliafico and Nahuel Molina comprises another example of players with some solid experience in Europe’s top leagues, but players who could be easily outclassed by the attackers who will be running directly in their areas of responsibility, especially Molina with Mbappé patrolling the left side more often than not. In the net, Emi Martínez has been his country’s saving grace before, and he could again- but Argentina fans should be hoping for a top performance from the back four, so it doesn’t come to that.
Argentina Attack vs. France Defense
Yeah, two editions of attack vs. defense can be a bit monotonous, but how can we not? It’s Messi vs. Mbappé, which alone is a crazy headline, but there’s even more to get into. It’s pretty hard to write a new take on the ex-Barcelona superstar, the flashy goalscoring numbers are just the tiniest bit of a mirage, considering the high percentage taken from the spot, but you could almost say it’s fair, considering how many of his contributions will never find their way into the scoresheet.
It’s the double-marked run to open up space, the pass before the assist, simply the gravity he has just walking around; this is one of the most special performances from one of the greatest players you’ll ever see, and to cap it off with the greatest glory in sports would be the ending befitting a king. But last game, despite the puzzling Man of the Match distinction for Messi, the hero was young Julián Alvarez, who bagged a pair of nice goals and drew the penalty that led to Messi’s opener.
He’s the second striker Messi has been craving his whole career, and possibly the teammate who can help him get over the top. Often, that’s been it for Argentina as far as attacking starters, just the pair of strikers. But there’s depth in the form of quality substitutes; Angel Di Maria is still in the mix, Lautaro Martínez has his moments, and even Paulo Dybala got some minutes last tournament. You just never know who the hero might be.
If France’s defense has anything to say about it, there won’t be a hero, at least not one from the Argentine attacking group. This group has struggled at times throughout the tournament, but they finally secured a clean sheet against Morocco, including some heroic individual moments of brilliance in front of the net. The centerpiece has been Raphaël Varane, and he’s been steady as always, but his centre-back partner has been a bit of a dynamic situation.
It’s been Dayot Upecameno for much of the tournament, but Ibrahima Konaté stepped in against Morocco, and the Liverpool man was absolutely fantastic, and I expect him to start the final. Jules Koundé, more often a centre-back, has had some struggles at times at right back, but also had some really bright moments against Morocco. And last but surely not least, Theo Hernández, who achieved the dream of being a World Cup starter, but only through watching his brother experience the nightmare of a career-altering injury. Still, he’s shaken off what must be a complex set of emotions to play what has been a stellar tournament, aside from one careless challenge against England.
He scored with a neat finish to give France the opener against Morocco, and that turned out to be all they needed; it was just one more big moment in what has become a tournament full of them for the AC Milan superstar. This has been a streaky group, so anything’s possible, but they’re going to need to be at their absolute ceiling in order to limit Messi and his teammates enough to get France to the finish line and complete a historic repeat.