The people from Argentina and Leo Messi have a bitter memory of their 2018 World Cup participation, especially when it comes to facing France. Back then, a teenaged Kylian Mbappe was presenting himself to the world as the generational talent we know today. His story is already being compared to Brazilian Pelé, who also scored in a World Cup final before turning 20.
During that last time they faced each other, France exposed Argentina’s many weaknesses and forced the federation to do a reconstruction from the ground up. Things worked out almost perfectly for them after Lionel Scaloni took a renewed squad to a Copa America victory in 2021. But that reconstruction was only getting started.
With Messi as the absolute leader of a refreshed group of young talents, this Argentina squad has very little to do with the one that got pummeled by France in the 2018 World Cup Round of 16. The final score of that game will deceive more than one, it was 4-3 but Les Bleus were far superior to an Argentina side that was simply below all expectations.
Kylian Mbappe had a magical evening with a brace he scored against one of the best players in football history. Messi would hold on to that result in order to fuel his thirst for glory and only hope he would meet this France side again for a chance to beat them at the biggest stage. The only problem is that Leo perhaps didn’t imagine the circumstances of their next match and France’s biggest strength.
Kylian Mbappe is still one of the best players of this World Cup but France’s real strength doesn’t only come from him. People often forget football is a team sport where other talents lend their skills to the greater cause. France came to this World Cup withthout three of their very best players. N’Golo Kante was Les Bleus’ most important player against Argentina. He didn’t allow Messi to breathe throughout 90 minutes but Tchuameni covers that position without issues.
Paul Pogba was also amongst the best players of that 2018 World Cup but Antoine Griezmann is performing at a similar playmaking position with outstanding results. Karim Benzema got injured right before the tournament but Olivier Giroud has covered him with no issues, scoring 4 goals in the World Cup thus far.
This Argentina side is nothing like the one that lost back in 2018, they truly have a chance to win it this time. However, France is no slouch with a squad depth that should be considered cheating by all standards. Messi can at least rest easy knowing he will have a far greater chance to win this final despite Kylian Mbappe’s mad skills.
Plus, you can add Leo’s thirst for revenge from that 2014 lost final against Germany. Another added incentive is that Messi won’t care Mbappe is his teammate at PSG, Argentina’s victory is far more important than that. Kylian knows that perfectly. We are in for a wild ride next Sunday, impossible to predict who wins but equally exciting. No matter who wins, both stars will make history when they do. Marca.