World Cup final predictions: Deschamps can carry France to another title
Argentina will meet France in Sunday's World Cup final at Lusail Stadium — evoking memories of the seven-goal thriller the two nations played out in Russia four years ago.
Les Bleus came from behind to edge that round-of-16 contest 4-3 and they might have to do something similar as Argentina have taken the lead in all of their six games in Qatar this year.
La Albiceleste maintained their record of never having lost a World Cup semi-final with a Lionel Messi-inspired 3-0 victory over Croatia in the last four on Tuesday.
The defending champions beat Morocco 24 hours later to qualify for their fourth-ever final and, on Sunday, will attempt to become the first back-to-back champions since Brazil in 1962.
Argentina full-backs Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel will both be available for the final after serving one-game suspensions.
Acuna was preferred over Nicolas Tagliafico, who started the semi-final in his place, for the previous four World Cup matches and last summer's Copa America Final, so should have a good chance of regaining his spot at left-back.
Coach Lionel Scaloni chose to match up his formation to quarter-final opponents the Netherlands by deploying a back three, then reverted to a back four against Croatia to copy their system.
If he follows suit here, Lisandro Martinez will almost certainly have to settle for a place on the bench with Nahuel Molina, Nicolas Otamendi and Cristian Romero forming the rest of a back four.
Angel Di Maria was rested for the semi-final after feeling some discomfort in his quadriceps against Poland in the group stage, but he was needed off the bench against the Netherlands and could be set to reprise that role as an impact substitute.
France were denied the services of Adrien Rabiot and Dayot Upamecano against Morocco because of illness, but both are expected back for the final.
Rabiot will replace Youssouf Fofana in potentially the only change for Sunday's clash as long as centre-backs Ibrahima Konate and Raphael Varane shake off a virus that prevented them, together with Kingsley Coman, training alongside the rest of the squad on Friday.
Midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni (hip) and Theo Hernandez (knee) are also minor doubts for the clash.
Speculation that Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema — who was ruled out on the eve of the tournament with a thigh injury — could make a sensational return for this game has been dismissed.
Olivier Giroud will lead the line once more with Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe flanking the centre forward while Antoine Griezmann operates in a deeper role.
Didier Deschamps can emulate Vittorio Pozzo, who led Italy to consecutive victories in 1934 and 1938, as one of only two managers in men's World Cup history to win the World Cup twice.
Ten French players — Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda, Alphonse Areola, Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernandez, Varane, Griezmann, Dembele, Giroud and Mbappe — can join the current list of 21 multiple World Cup winners.
Mbappe and Griezmann, who scored in the 4-2 victory over Croatia in the 2018 Cup final, now have the chance to join the select group of four players with goals scored in two finals — Vava, Pele, Paul Breitner and Zinedine Zidane.
Messi will become the player with the most World Cup appearances in history when he surpasses the 25-game mark of Germany's Lothar Matthaus on Sunday.
His goal against Croatia was his 11th World Cup strike and he now leaves Gabriel Batistuta (10) behind on the list of Argentina players with the most goals in the finals.
France have several advantages over Argentina which could see them take the title home again.
Deschamps is vastly more experienced than Scaloni, who has taken charge of just 61 matches in his career — 56 with the senior national team.
That could prove crucial in the tactical battle between the two coaches while Deschamps' substitutions in the tournament have been very effective — much more so than the changes made by his Argentine counterpart.
France have their flaws, but Deschamps' players have been stepping up to the mark and taking on additional responsibility to keep them on track.
They have the sort of speed in wide areas that could pin La Albiceleste's full-backs deep in their own half and restrict the options Messi looks for with his peripheral vision when he receives the ball.
And in Mbappe, Les Bleus have a player who can affect the game in more ways than Messi by virtue of his pace and finishing prowess.
France, unlike Argentina, have come from behind to win in this tournament and the manner of their victory over Australia was much more convincing than the South Americans' round-of-16 display.
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