Well there we have it. 62 games of football later and we now know that holders France will be taking on Copa America champions Argentina in the 2022 FIFA World Cup final.
There have been plenty of upsets at this World Cup – Morocco making history to become the first African country to reach the semi-finals for one – but the cream has now risen to the top and we have two footballing superpowers ready to square off at the Lusail Stadium on December 18.
Argentina reached the showpiece event by easily dispatching a Croatia side that many assumed would put up more of a fight against the Albiceleste. Argentina won 3-0 thanks to a goal from Lionel Messi and a double from Julian Alvarez. For France, they had a tougher time against Morocco despite taking a very early lead through Theo Hernandez.
The Atlas Lions were a genuine threat to the France goal right up until Randal Kolo Muani’s clincher with 10 minutes left to play, ensuring the game ended 2-0 in favour of Didier Deschamps’ side.
It should be a thrilling final between two teams billed as favourites coming into the tournament, but what can their head-to-head record tell us about what may go down?
France v Argentina H2H record
France and Argentina are certainly no strangers to one another, having met 12 times before Sunday’s final. That is a high figure considering they are from different federations and generally only meet in the World Cup or in friendlies.
History would suggest that Lionel Messi is going to achieve the eternal dream of lifting the World Cup in an Argentina shirt, something that would undoubtedly be his crowning moment. The Albiceleste have beaten France six times, while the French have only won three of their meetings. The other three games have ended all-square.
15 goals have been put past France by Argentinian players in the past, whereas Les Bleus have only netted 11, and their most recent encounter was in 2018. That was some 88 years after they first locked horns, and there was also a rogue meeting in the Brazil Independence Cup of 1972 for good measure.
There’s never been a walkover victory for either side, with a 2-0 win the largest margin either side has mustered. The first occasion was in favour of Argentina in 1971, before France returned the favour 15 years later in another friendly.
France vs Argentina H2H record
- Argentina Wins: 6
- France Wins: 3
- Draws: 3
France v Argentina at major tournaments
These are the games that really matter. Their first and most recent games against each other were World Cup clashes, starting in the first ever World Cup in 1930. That was a first round group match and it was Luis Monti’s goal in the 81st minute that secured an Argentina victory.
It was another 48 years until they met at a World Cup again, this time in 1978 in Argentina’s back yard. Another first round group game saw saw Argentina emerge 2-1 winners; Daniel Passarella and Michel Platini were on target for either side before Leopoldo Luque bagged the winner. Argentina would go on to win the tournament.
Their third meeting was the crowning moment of entertainment between France and Argentina. They met in the Round of 16 at the 2018 Russia World Cup and played out a thrilling 4-3 win for the French, who would go on to win the tournament.
The two sides played out a thriller in Kazan / Allsport Co./GettyImages
Antoine Griezmann’s penalty gave France an early lead, but goals from Angel Di Maria and Gabriel Mercado either side of half-time turned the game around. Benjamin Pavard then scored one of the goals of the World Cup before Kylian Mbappe took matters into his own hands, scoring twice in devastating fashion.
Sergio Aguero pulled one back in the 93rd minute, but it was too little too late for Argentina.
Top scorers in France v Argentina fixtures
The history books are not particularly detailed when it comes to goalscorers of old, but Kylian Mbappe is already on strong footing after his two-goal showing in 2018.
Lionel Messi has just the one, scored in 2009, but the sparsity of matches between the two countries means they aren’t far from the top of the tree.
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