Football legends look forward to showpiece final at Lusail Stadium
Tonight, at Lusail Stadium in Qatar, either Argentina or France will lift the FIFA World Cup™ Winner’s Trophy for the third time.
It is a tantalising match-up and will provide a fitting finale to the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world. France is aiming to become the first team to defend the title since Brazil in 1962, while Argentina is aiming to end a 36-year wait to reclaim the famous prize and become the first South American team to win the FIFA World Cup since Brazil in 2002.
With the big kick-off only hours away, we caught up with a host of FIFA World Cup Ambassadors to get their thoughts on the match-up.
Legendary defender Marcel Desailly, who helped France win their maiden title in 1998, expects Les Bleus to win 2-1 after extra-time. “France will win the World Cup, as they are in a positive dynamic right now,” he said. “Even though they lost five first-choice players before the tournament, they have still reached the final. They are on the verge of an historic moment for French football – and in the modern game – as it is not easy to repeat what they achieved in Russia in 2018.”
Qatar 2022 presents Lionel Messi with his final opportunity to claim the coveted trophy. Messi is the neutral’s choice to win – and Germany legend Lothar Matthäus, a World Cup champion in 1990, is expecting a famous victory for one of the greatest players in the history of the game.
“I thought before the World Cup started that Argentina will win the trophy, so why change my mind now,” said Matthäus. “To me, Argentina is the favourite, even though there is not a big difference between both teams. They both have players that can make a difference, especially Messi for Argentina and Kylian Mbappe for France, but I feel Argentina has a little bit more spirit than France, so I expect them to win the title.”
Australia legend Tim Cahill sees the final as a contrast between the emotion and spirit of Argentina and the technical proficiency of Didier Deschamps’s French side. “A lot will come down to France’s play down the wings and their crossing, being quick and more dynamic, whereas Argentina will be more compact and resilient, and like against Croatia, they will try and hit France on the transition,” he said. “For me personally, I think France will win 2-1 from a technical standpoint, but from an emotional standpoint, Argentina will win on penalties.”
The difficulty of predicting Sunday’s final should not come as a surprise. Even Ivory Coast legend Yaya Toure sees the challenge of separating these two final combatants. “When you see both teams, they are very similar, so it’s difficult to predict how this final will unfold,” he said. “Both teams are good defensively and have different ways of attacking. I think this game may go to penalties, with France winning the shoot-out.”
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final Predictions:
Ali Al Habsi: Argentina 2-1 France
Cafu: Argentina 2-1 France
Fahad Al Kubaisi: Argentina 2-1 France
Ghanim Al Muftah: Argentina 2-1 France
Lothar Matthäus: Argentina 2-1 France
Luis Hernandez: Argentina 2-0 France
Marcel Desailly: Argentina 1-2 France (after extra-time)
Mehdi Mahdavikia: Argentina win on penalties
Mohammed Sadoon Al Kuwari: Argentina 2-1 France
Nadia Nadim: Argentina 1-2 France
Sara Essam: Argentina win on penalties
Tim Cahill: Argentina 1-2 France
Wesam Qutob: Argentina 2-1 France
Yaya Toure: France win on penalties
Younis Mahmoud: Argentina 1-3 France