Croatia have wrapped up third place at the FIFA World Cup, beating Morocco 2-1 in Sunday’s play-off.
This leaves one game remaining at the Qatar tournament — Monday’s final between France and Argentina.
Game played on Sunday December 18, 2022
Third place playoff
Croatia 2 (Gvardiol 7′, Oršić 42′)
Morocco 1 (Dari 9′)
Game to be played on Monday December 19, 2022
The final sees both Argentina and France bidding to lift football’s most coveted trophy for the third time and therefore become the competition’s fourth most successful nation – after Brazil (five wins), Germany and Italy (both four).
This is Argentina’s sixth appearance in the FIFA World Cup final.
Winners in 1978 and 1986, they were runners-up in 1930, 1990 and 2014. France are appearing in their fourth final, victories in 1998 and 2018 sandwiching a defeat (on penalties) in 2006.
Argentina’s record in finals against European opponents is two wins followed by two defeats, while France’s only previous final against a South American side brought a 3-0 victory against Brazil in 1998.
Argentina have defeated three European teams in Qatar – Poland, the Netherlands (on penalties) and Croatia – whereas this is France’s first game at the tournament against South American opposition.
Les Bleus are on a ten-match unbeaten run against South American teams at the FIFA World Cup.
They defeated three of them en route to their 2018 success, including Argentina 4-3 in the round of 16 in Kazan, where they came from behind to win with two Kylian Mbappé goals.
While that was Argentina’s most recent FIFA World Cup defeat against a European side, France’s last defeat to South American opposition at the finals was against Argentina back in 1978, when they were beaten 2-1 in the group stage by the eventual champions in Buenos Aires.
The first of the nations’ three FIFA World Cup meetings came in the inaugural 1930 tournament, and was Argentina’s first-ever finals encounter, which they won 1-0. In all matches between the teams, including friendlies, Argentina have won six and France three, with three drawn.
The teams have not met since that 2018 encounter in Russia.
There have been ten previous FIFA World Cup finals between South American and European teams. While the head-to-head record stands at 7-3 in South America’s favour, the last six such finals have produced alternate winners, with Europe prevailing in the most recent, when Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 after extra time in 2014.
Argentina v France
Lusail Stadium, Lusail, 4am (NZT)
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