The 2022 World Cup final is a tough one for punters to splt, as both Argentina and France chase history for different but equally compelling reasons.

Argentina v France, Monday 2:00am (AEDT)

  • History: Argentina 6, France 3, Draws 3
  • Most recent: France 4 – 3 Argentina (2018 World Cup, Round of 16)


So much of this World Cup has been centred on one man. And that man, arguably the greatest of all time, has a chance to rubber stamp his already incredible legacy with the one piece of silverware that has eluded him in his amazing career to date.

This has been Lionel Messi’s World Cup. Not just for those (rather abstract) conversations about his legacy, but for his sheer influence on the pitch. His twisting, weaving, and ultimately turning inside-out of Croatia’s Josko Gvardiol — one of the best defenders of the tournament — that provided an easily tap-in for Julián Álvarez and sealed Argentina’s progression to the World Cup final, underlined and put an exclamation mark on said influence. This moment was symbolic; no longer does 35-year-old Messi ($5.00 first goalscorer in the final) have the speed to dribble in straight lines for 50 yards, but he very much still has the craft to do so. He goes into the final as a huge chance to take home the Golden Ball (currently $1.20 with Palmerbet), Golden Boot ($1.57), in a World Cup win for Argentina ($1.90 to lift the Cup).

It’s perhaps unsurprising that, less than three days out from the final, the markets can’t be split; Argentina and France are both $1.90 to lift the cup, and $2.80 to win in normal time. Neither were forced into extra time during their respective semi-final wins, and should be relatively fresh heading into the showpiece at the Lusail Stadium. Argentina went down to France last time they faced off — a Kylian Mbappe brace sending La albiceleste home in the Round of 16 in Russia four years ago. But this is a wholly different side. A younger, more exciting outfit. There’s no Javier Mascherano in midfield, for example. Instead there’s Enzo Fernandez and Alexis Mac Allister who have both been excellent in Qatar. There’s 22-year-old Álvarez up front with Messi, who the goat himself has called “spectacular”. Their partnership has lifted a weight off Messi’s shoulders at international level.


Some say this World Cup belongs to Argentina. It’s written in the stars, supposedly. Pragmatists say they’ve got an awful lot of work to do to prevent France from becoming the first side since Brazil in the 1962 to claim back-to-back World Cup crowns. Relying on divine intervention, or anything of the sort, won’t be getting it done against this well-drilled French outfit.

This was a World Cup stacked against France. And, despite coming in as reigning champions, many thought a tournament in which they might struggle. First, Didier Deschamps’ side had to overcome the champions curse, which has seen the team that won the previous World Cup knocked out in the group stage of the following tournament. Next, and far more significant, was the injuries to key, influential players. Deschamps went into the tournament without reigning Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, midfield maestro Paul Pogba and workhorse and defensive midfield glue N’Golo Kanté, the latter two of which were hugely influential in the 2018 World Cup win. Further, centre half Raphael Varane came into the campaign injured, while first-choice right back Lucas Hernandez tore his ACL in the first half of their World Cup opener against the Socceroos.

But others have stepped up. Adrien Rabiot has been huge through the midfield. Global star Mbappe ($5.50 first goalscorer) has — and this shouldn’t be glossed over — again shone on the big stage. Olivier Giroud has led the line admirably. And, most importantly, Antoine Griezmann has been at the centre of everything. Deschamps’ decision to deploy the usual-forward into a midfield role has proved the masterstroke of the 2022 World Cup. Easily. Another big performance here in a France victory could easily see Griezmann take home the Golden Ball (currently $11 behind Messi @ $1.20 and Mbappe @ $5.50). All the talk rightly surrounds how France will stop Messi. But how Argentina stop the dual threat of Griezmann and Mbappe is arguably a bigger determining factor on who walks away with world sport’s most famous trophy.

Tip: (Same game multi) France H2H, Under 2.5 goals @ $4.86