World Cup 2022 LIVE: Messi’s Argentina prepare for showdown against Mbappe’s France

by: fifa2022newsnet


World Cup: France battle past Morocco to set up thrilling final against Argentina

Lionel Messi has the weight of a nation on his shoulders as he prepares to lead his Argentina side out in the final of the 2022 World Cup against defending champions France on Sunday.

Messi is looking to go one better than eight years ago when he missed out on football’s greatest prize at the hands of Germany; Argentina will be full of confidence after a convincing 3-0 victory against Croatia in the semi-finals.

France, meanwhile, saw off Morocco’s valiant challenge in the semi-finals to reach a second consecutive World Cup final, with Kylian Mbappe looking to guide his country to another historic triumph as they bid to become the first team in 60 years to win back-to-back World Cups.

Elsewhere, Morocco are eyeing a medal as they take on Croatia tomorrow in the third-fourth play-off in Qatar.

Follow all the latest news and reaction from Qatar plus build-up to Sunday’s World Cup final between France and Argentina in our live blog below:


Morocco evolve but can’t advance as unforgettable World Cup dream ends

Impenetrable for so long, Morocco were first forced into and then thrived as a more nuanced version of themselves before bowing out with pride at the hands of defending champions France.

Invigorated by Walid Regragui and embracing such a resolute style without the ball, their game plan was torn to pieces within five minutes of this absorbing World Cup 2022 semi-final.

Les Bleus ruthlessly applied a pin to what was a burgeoning atmosphere filled with whistles swirling around a hostile Al Bayt Stadium packed with Moroccan support.

The world champions happily teased the Atlas Lions, gently nudging what had been an defiant layer in front of Yassine Bounou’s goal. First through Ibrahima Konate, in for the ill Dayot Upamecano, and then Raphael Varane, who both observed and probed early on as Regragui’s men retreated into that familiar shell.

And Morocco were soon entirely deflated after a flash of blue darted into the half space; Jawad El Yamiq was forced to bite, leaving Antoine Griezmann spinning into the space left behind.

Michael Jones16 December 2022 09:22


‘We need to clear our heads’

The third place play-off is an unnecessary game featuring two sides who have both suffered crushing disappointment in failing to reach the World Cup final.

It creates a foggy and unfocused mindset in which to play but being the third best team in the world sounds a lot better than being the fourth as crazy as that statement in itself sounds.

That means there is still a little something to play for when Morocco and Croatia meet on Saturday and Walid Regragui has been stressing that to his players saying: 

“We need to clear our heads a little bit. When you play a semi-final, and it was our first at a World Cup, the emotions are running high. It was quite difficult coming out of that game.

“However, my players still have the appetite. They want to finish well and they know they’ve still got one game with everything to play for. They have understood what is at stake.

“Obviously finishing third is not the same as the finishing fourth and it would be great to take a medal home with us. We want to ensure that we finish well and my players have digested the defeat by France.

“They’ve got their heads around the fact they are part of the best teams in the world. We need to clear our heads and go into this game with our heads held high.”

Michael Jones16 December 2022 09:17


Regragui speaks ahead of third place play-off

Morocco have been the standout team of the tournament. They topped their group before eliminating Spain and Portugal from the knockout rounds on their way to becoming the first African nation to ever reach the semi-finals.

Head coach Walid Regragui has been speaking ahead of his country’s third-place play-off against Croatia on Saturday and says his players are excited for one last outing despite being disappointed on missing out on a spot in the final.

“I guess it the worst game that we have to play,” said Regragui. “But we’re still excited to play it despite the disappointment.

“We obviously would have liked to be in the actual final but there is third place we play for. We want to finish on the podium.

“It is going to be quite difficult with fatigue, but there are also mental hurdles that we need to overcome. We know that Croatia will also want to finish third. We played them in our first game so it will be a nice finisher. It will be no walk in the park.”

Michael Jones16 December 2022 09:12


World Cup 2022: Latest news and updates from Qatar

Good Morning and welcome to The Independent’s coverage of all things World Cup. The 2022 edition of the tournament is heading towards its conclusion with just two matches left to play.

Morocco take on Croatia in the third place play-off on Saturday before Argentina and France go head-to-head in the grand finale on Sunday afternoon.

The defending champions ended Morocco’s valiant run through the tournament to set up the possibility of back-to-back World Cup wins whilst Lionel Messi will have a shot at redemption having lost out in the final of the 2014 edition with Argentina.

France are bidding to become the first team in 60 years to win consecutive World Cups whilst star forward Kylian Mbappe has reached his second World Cup final in as many appearances at the age of just 22.

Argentina reached the final having defeated Croatia on Tuesday evening following another inspired performance from Messi. The 35-year-old has confirmed that Sunday’s final will be his last World Cup match. Will he bow out of the international stage on the highest of highs having finally won football’s greatest prize?

Michael Jones16 December 2022 09:07

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