DOHA ( Associated Press) – Lionel Messi in “Maradonian” version; the mental strength of their goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez; the beauty of defender Cristian Romero; And the freshness of young talents Enzo Fernandez and Julian Alvarez are five key pieces in Argentina’s gear ahead of the World Cup final against France. Les Bleus have Kylian Mbappe, determined to emulate Pele’s record; The flair of reinvented midfielder Antoine Griezmann, the security of Hugo Lloris, the calm central Raphael Varane and the young Aurelien Tchoumeni as the pivot in midfield.
Next, a description of each of them.
It is impossible to imagine this result without the exceptional level of the Argentine captain. Unbalanced in the heads-up despite his 35 years, Messi is one of the tournament’s top scorers with five goals – the same number as his French rival Kylian Mbappe – and three assists.
His level in the Qatar tournament is very reminiscent of Diego Maradona’s inspired version in the 1986 World Cup, the second and last one won by Argentina. But not only because of the ability of his left foot, but also because of his temperament. An arrogant Messi confronted the referee, rivals and veteran coach Louis van Gaal in the quarter-final win over the Netherlands.
“Sometimes we play better, sometimes worse, but it is not easy to go out on the field thinking that if you don’t leave you have to win. And that happened to us from the second game onwards”, highlighted the captain.
In his final event at the World Cup, as he himself confirmed, Messi will go for the great trophy he has so long lacked.
“There are many years to come and I don’t think it will happen. And it’s best to end like this”, he admitted.
Martinez, Cold Head
The 30-year-old goalkeeper was a mainstay of Argentina’s 4-3 victory over the Netherlands in the penalty shootout, again resorting to unorthodox means to save two shots, as he did last year in the semi-final against Colombia. The Copa America that he won.
“Dibu”, who had handled the national team’s goal the year before, made another decisive save in the final minutes of a 2–1 win against Australia in the Round of 16.
“If we don’t win it, it has no value,” he told Argentine sports newspaper Ole before the final. “Ever since I started playing (in the national team), we are getting better and better. We are not a Copa America team, we are not a Finalsima team, I think we are a step up.”
romero, class and fierce
Romero brings together the qualities of the best central defenders in the world. Aggressive in one against one and square to play from your zone.
The English Tottenham defender didn’t have a great start to the World Cup. He was inactive due to injury and featured in goals for Saudi Arabia in the premiership. He lost the position for the second game with Mexico, but returned against Poland to neutralize striker Robert Lewandowski and was not substituted again.
He will now have the difficult task of controlling Mbappe in his own zone in partnership with winger Nahuel Molina.
Enzo, Middle Marshal
After a setback in his debut, it was the move by coach Lionel Scaloni to replace usual starter Leandro Paredes, who had arrived at the World Cup with physical problems.
At 21, Fernandez plays like a legend in central midfield, although he cannot be pigeonholed. Versatile, you can play the role of organizer or front. He has a knack for deception, mid-range shots and goals (he scored one against Mexico).
It is possible that in the final he will be entrusted with the mission of controlling the versatile Antoine Griezmann.
Alvarez, Deadly Scorer
At the age of 22, he won the title at the World Cup as a centre-forward, displacing the more experienced Lautaro Martínez, who had been the position’s undisputed owner since the start of Lionel Scaloni’s cycle in Argentina.
The “Spider”, transferred to Manchester City six months ago, scored four goals at the World Cup, two of them in the semi-final against Croatia.
He blends in wonderfully with Messi and his physical placement to put pressure on the opposition defense is remarkable.
Kylian, second title
Two days before his 24th birthday, Mbappe could win his second World Cup and become the first footballer since Pelé to do so at such a young age.
He has not scored in his last two World Cup games, going unnoticed against England in the quarter-finals and tying Achraf Hakimi’s mark in the semi-final win over Morocco. He will have every reason to repeat his performance in the final four years ago – his 65th-minute goal sealed a 4-2 win over Croatia.
a detail. Embappé has never been beaten by any team with Messi on the field. This includes a cross in a 4-3 win in a round of 16 duel in Russia 2018 and two more – a 4-1 win and a 1-1 draw – against Messi’s Barcelona in the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain. Mbappe has scored six goals in those three matches.
Antony, New Mid
Griezmann has been a revelation for France at this World Cup, transforming himself into an all-terrain midfielder.
The change in profile was forced when coach Didier Deschamps had to improvise after losing midfielders Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, who were 2018 champions’ lungs. tasks.
A direct duel with Messi, with whom he spent time at Barcelona, is expected.
“There are more people ahead of me and I am more in creation. I will do what the team needs and do what it takes to win”, he said after the victory against Morocco in the semi-finals.
hugo in the arch
The 35-year-old goalkeeper is within reach of the former captain of two world champion teams.
A calm leader, he just holds the record for most appearances with the national team.
EL Imperial Varane
In his third World Cup, the 29-year-old centre-back is a constant piece in France’s rear, an area that has been hit by injuries.
A four-time European champion with Real Madrid, Varane has returned to his best form with Manchester United in October after suffering an injury.
chowmein pour pogba
Toumeni did not accept the burden of responsibility when he had to cover the gap left by Pogba.
He reminded us of the punch Pogba made against England. Making his first move with Real Madrid this season after ignoring Mbappe’s siren calls to join PSG, the 22-year-old’s biggest test will be against the Argentine.