Euro 2020 Special

FIFA World Cup 2022: Tactical Preview Of The Final Between Argentina and France

Lionel Messi’s Argentina will take on defending champions France in an epic contest on Sunday with the winner claiming the FIFA World Cup 2022 trophy. Thousands of fans from both nations have made their way to Qatar to watch the fixture live with emotions riding high on both sides.

France are eager to become only the third nation in history to successfully defend the championship, while for Argentina, winning the trophy would be the perfect way to cap their journey under their skipper Lionel Messi.

As the FIFA World Cup 2022 reaches its conclusion, here’s a tactical preview of the final between Argentina and France.



After a spectacular loss to Saudi Arabia in the opening game of the tournament, Argentina’s chances of winning the World Cup looked slim. But the Albiceleste improved with each passing game, learning from their failures and ensuring that they took control of the game early on.

Argentina have ignored Lionel Messi’s latent potential for years – instead focusing on team spirit and collective excellence to try and win every game. But that strategy hasn’t worked out so well with a long title drought that brought the Latin American nation’s reputation into question.

Under Lionel Scaloni, a new approach took hold in the Argentinian camp. The 44-year-old rebuilt the team around Messi, giving him ample freedom in the field to play to his strengths.

That meant the rest of the forwards and midfielders had to adapt to his game and they have done so with great enthusiasm after the initial success of the new tactics. The change is evident in the current World Cup, with Lionel Messi walking the field for most of the time instead of running around to defend the ball.

With Lionel Messi focusing purely on attacking the opponent’s goalpost, Julian Alvarez has embraced the role of Argentina’s No.9, sprinting around the track trying to win back possession and closely mark the opposition’s midfielders. This is particularly bad news for France, as the Albiceleste have three players on the right to contain Kylian Mbappe’s freedom.

Lionel Scaloni has been tweaking the team’s formation throughout the World Cup – starting with a 4-4-2 before switching to 4-3-3 in the first two knockout games, before reverting to 4-4-2 for the game against Croatia.

With France strong in the midfield like Croatia, it is likely that the midfield will once again be bolstered with a 4-4-1-1 formation very likely. Nahuel Molina and Rodrigo De Paul will join Julian Alvarez on the right, effectively blocking Kylian Mbappe from the game.

Aurelien Tchouameni and Enzo Fernandez have enjoyed excellent time in the middle throughout the tournament and will have the added task of containing Antoine Griezmann and Adrian Rabiot from catching Argentina by surprise. Cristian Romero and Nicolas Otamendi are a guaranteed start at the back with Nicolas Tagilifico joining them there.



Didier Deschamps has adopted one of the most laid-back approaches to the modern game in recent times, with France reaping the results of low-effort, high-impact play.

In the current World Cup, France did not enjoy more than 50% of the possession even once – and the team did not try to win the possession that much either. Instead, Les Bleus have perfected the art of waiting for the right moment to counterattack and dealing with the challenge presented by the opposition while they are out of possession.

France’s success in the tournament could be mostly attributed to the brilliance of Kylian Mbappe, as the 23-year-old has been given ample freedom by Didier Deschamps. Like Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe has played barely any defensive role in the tournament. Instead, his job has been to find and exploit the gaps in the opponent’s defences and has been successful at it so far in every game.

While Kylian Mbappe leads the scoreboard for France, it is Antoine Griezmann that has been their true star. France’s No. 8 has played a key part in every goal of France at the tournament so far, providing three assists.

Olivier Giroud is in phenomenal form at the front too, with the 36-year-old keen to have a happy ending to his international career.

While there are rumours going around of a possible return of Karim Benzema, it is unlikely that Didier Deschamps would make drastic changes to the starting XI at this stage. France are likely to continue with their 4-2-3-1 formation, with Ousmane Dembele joining Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe behind Olivier Giroud.

France’s midfield and defensive unit are uncertain as of now with three players falling sick with the flu ahead of the game.

That includes Raphael Varane and Ibrahim Konate – both of whom have been critical at the back for France. With Kylian Mbappe abstaining from defensive duties, the absence of two key defenders would mean more freedom for Lionel Messi at the front.


What to Expect

The last time France and Argentina met at the World Cup in 2018, both sides contested in an epic thriller with the defending champions winning the game 4-3, mainly on the back of Kylian Mbappe’s brilliance in the second half.

But Argentina look much stronger this time and they are the more disciplined side of the two. The contest is equally poised and the game’s outcome will depend very much on how Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe perform during the crucial 90 minutes of the game.




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