The 22nd men’s World Cup final takes place on Sunday as Argentina take on France at the Lusail Iconic Stadium at 15:00.

Argentina cruised past Croatia 3-0 in the semi-finals and have been inspired by Lionel Messi’s virtuoso showings, with the maestro clearly keen to banish the memories of his side’s extra-time to defeat to Germany in the 2014 final in what is sure to be his final World Cup.

Meanwhile, defending champions France have belied their pre-tournament injury issues and have been at their entertaining best, with their 2-0 semi-final success over Morocco one of the games of the tournament.

Les Bleus are looking to become just the third nation to successfully defend the title, having won it for a second time four years ago in Russia.

On a similar theme, boss Didier Deschamps is just one of three men to have won the World Cup as both a player and a coach and his experience is in contrast to his opposite number Lionel Scaloni.

The 44-year-old inherited the side after their poor showing in Russia but has injected colour and calm into their play and ended a 28-year wait for silverware with last year’s Copa America success.

Can he repeat the trick? Or will it be Deschamps’ day again?

Argentina vs France Betting Tips

  • Both teams to score @ 10/11
  • #PickYourPunt – Lionel Messi to score anytime and Cristian Romero to be carded @ 4/1

Team news

Argentina have switched between a back three and a back four during the knockout stages of the tournament but Scaloni is likely to stick to a quartet, with left-back Marcos Acuna expected to come back in for Nicolas Tagliafico after suspension.

Ahead of them, Alejandro Gomez is still battling an ankle sprain but could feature off the bench, while Angel Di Maria, who missed out on the final in 2014 is pushing for a recall to the starting XI.

Illness has swept through the France camp with Dayot Upamecano, Adrien Rabiot and Kingsley Coman all under the weather, and Raphael Varane and Ibrahima Konate have reportedly joined them.

Youssouf Fofana could continue to deputise in midfield for Rabiot but Deschamps has big decisions to make elsewhere.

However, everything seems to be coming together in attack, with Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe all playing well. Meanwhile, there are rumours that Ballon d’Or Karim Benzema, ruled out with a thigh injury on the eve of the tournament, could be fit to feature.

Latest Argentina vs France Betfred Odds

Both teams to score @ 10/11

Traditionally, World Cup finals have been cagey affairs and for obvious reasons. However, France’s win four years ago over Croatia was by a 4-2 scoreline and there is a feeling that both of these sides are a lot happier going out on the front foot.

That has helped them score a combined 25 goals in Qatar. Meanwhile, despite both keeping clean sheets in the semi-finals, both have shown vulnerability at times and the attacking quality on show suggests there could be goals at the Lusail Stadium.

The pair’s most recent meeting was in the last 16 in 2018 when they played out a 4-3 thriller in Kazan.

With Messi and Julian Alvarez on one side and Giroud, Griezmann, Dembele and Mbappe on the other, there is the possibility of goals and both look set to find the net.

#PickYourPunt – Lionel Messi to score anytime and Cristian Romero to be carded @ 4/1

It feels inevitable that somehow Messi will be the star of the show. The 35-year-old has scored five goals and added three assists so far in Qatar, with his contribution to Alavarez’s second goal against Croatia particularly memorable.

The Paris Saint-Germain star has found a new gear in the Middle East and, having scored in the last 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals, he looks a decent price to do so again on Sunday.

Meanwhile, team-mate Cristian Romero was hauled off in the opening defeat against Saudi Arabia but has grown into the tournament in Qatar and is sure to start on Sunday.

The 24-year-old is an enigma. He has both excellent positioning and is deceptively elegant on the ball. However, like plenty of his predecessors, he often seems to go out of his way to be seen as a classic rugged Argentine central defender.

Romero’s penchant for flying into tackles often results in cards, as was the case against both Netherlands in the quarters and Croatia in the semis, collecting cautions in both games.

While he may not mean to, the Tottenham star might not be able to help himself if the opportunity occurs to bring down Giroud, Griezmann, Dembele or Mbappe.

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