FIFA World Cup Final: Argentina vs France Player Profiles Of Probable Starters
Here are the profiles of players who are expected to be in the starting XI for the final
The FIFA World Cup 2022 has been touted as a showdown between two of the finest stars in world football -- Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi -- at present. The two superstar footballers, who are also teammates at the club level, playing for Paris Saint-Germain, are also among the top scorers in Qatar, ahead of the final. Argentina eye a third World Cup triumph when they take on the defending champions France, who could become the first team to retain the title since Brazil (1958 and 1962). Here are the profiles of players who are expected to be in the starting XI for the final:
EMILIANO MARTINEZ (Aston Villa/ENG)
Established himself as Argentina's number one during last year's Copa America victory, and saved two penalties in the quarter-final shootout win over the Netherlands
NAHUEL MOLINA (Atletico Madrid/ESP)
Broke into side at last year's Copa America and has become a regular at right-back. Set up opening goal in crucial group game with Poland and netted first goal in quarter-final against Dutch.
CRISTIAN ROMERO (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG)
Shrugged off a sluggish start to tournament after struggling with hamstring injury. Argentina nearly paid heavily after removing him with two-goal lead against Netherlands.
NICOLAS OTAMENDI (Benfica/POR)
Appearing at third World Cup after missing cut in 2014. The former Manchester City man has played every minute in Qatar and brings vast experience to the backline.
MARCOS ACUNA (Sevilla/ESP)
A survivor from the 2018 squad who has emerged as the first choice at left-back since the loss to the Saudis. Missed the semi-final against Croatia through suspension.
RODRIGO DE PAUL (Atletico Madrid/ESP)
Key operator in central midfield has started all six games on run to the final. Has rewarded coach Lionel Scaloni's faith after being heavily criticised following the opening loss.
LEANDRO PAREDES (Juventus/ITA)
In and out of the team but played first hour of the semi-final against Croatia. Lucky not to be sent off against the Netherlands, later converting a penalty in the shootout.
ENZO FERNANDEZ (Benfica/POR)
Earned his first cap in September and played his way into the starting line-up at the tournament after a fine goal as a substitute against Mexico in the second group game.
ALEXIS MAC ALLISTER (Brighton & Hove Albion/ENG)
Unused during the defeat by Saudi Arabia, he has started every game since and scored the opening goal against Poland. Father Carlos played a handful of times for Argentina.
LIONEL MESSI (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA)
The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner has one final shot at winning the World Cup, the only glaring omission from a CV that includes 37 club trophies, a Copa America title and Olympic gold medal.
JULIAN ALVAREZ (Manchester City/ENG)
Has scored four goals but his movement and work rate in attack have been equally as instrumental in Argentina's turnaround since a shock loss to Saudi Arabia, for which he was a substitute.
HUGO LLORIS (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG)
France's most-capped player has yet to put a foot wrong in Qatar, providing an increasingly reassuring presence behind a defence that has been hit by injury and illness.
JULES KOUNDE (Barcelona/ESP)
Brought into the team after a shaky display by Benjamim Pavard in the opening game. A natural centre-back but capable of filling in on the right as he has done for club and country.
RAPHAEL VARANE (Manchester United/ENG)
Elegant and composed centre-back has looked solid after returning to team in second group game, having recovered from leg injury which jeopardised his participation.
DAYOT UPAMECANO (Bayern Munich/GER)
Made starter after Presnel Kimpembe was ruled out just before departure for Qatar. Left out for the semi-final against Morocco because of illness, but expected to be fit for the final.
THEO HERNANDEZ (AC Milan/ITA)
Replaced older brother Lucas at left-back after he tore his ACL. Can be exposed down the left but a dynamic threat going forward and scored opener against Morocco in the semi-final.
AURELIEN TCHOUAMENI (Real Madrid/ESP)
Hugely influential in a midfield shorn of Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante. Scored brilliant long-range goal against England in the quarter-finals before conceding penalty.
ADRIEN RABIOT (Juventus/FRA)
Has mended fences after refusing to go on standby list for 2018 World Cup. Tireless worker in midfield, but stayed at team hotel for the semi-final with flu-like symptoms.
ANTOINE GRIEZMANN (Atletico Madrid/ESP)
A revelation in a deeper-lying midfield role. Over a year since his last international goal but set up winner against England and excelled as Morocco threatened a comeback in the semi-final.
OUSMANE DEMBELE (Barcelona/ESP)
His pace and trickery on the right wing keeps defences on their toes. Has started all but one game but not as effective in the knockout rounds as in group matches.
KYLIAN MBAPPE (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA)
-- Joint top scorer with five goals and aiming to become youngest two-time world champion since 21-year-old Pele in 1962. Largely kept in check by both England and Morocco in the past two rounds.
OLIVIER GIROUD (AC Milan/ITA)
France's all-time record scorer with 53 goals. Gives the attack and focal point and allows Mbappe licence to roam. Has four goals in tournament and headed home late winner to sink England.
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