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It’s not often that an audience of over 3 billion people get to witness a passing of the torch moment from one GOAT of a generation to the GOAT of a new generation, but on December 18, at 10 AM Eastern Standard Time, that is exactly what the fans will witness.
The script writes itself. Lionel Messi, the greatest player of all time, the little magician from Rosario, Argentina, who has been able to score 791 goals and tally 350 assists in his storied career goes against the young hotshot, Kylian Mbappe. Mbappe, a fan of Messi’s rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, growing up, has the chance to keep Ronaldo’s name alive in the GOAT conversation with a win, and a chance to put his name right in there. At 23, this is Mbappe’s second World Cup final. In 2019, as a 19-year-old, Mbappe became the first teenager to score in the World Cup since Pele.
Mbappe has lighting quick pace and supreme technical skills all capped off with a rocket of a foot. At the age of 23, Mbappe has 114 more goals and 29 more assists than Messi did at that age.
Kylian Mbappe has the it-factor, he shows up when the lights shine the brightest, as seen in his two World Cup’s. He already has 9 goals, putting him tied for 15th place of all-time, and ahead of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and Diego Maradona, and just two behind Lionel Messi.
To put the cherry on top, Messi and Mbappe are currently teammates for Paris Saint Germain in Ligue 1.
This World Cup Final will be by no exaggeration the biggest soccer game of all time.
After a shock loss in the opening match, Messi has led Argentina to the World Cup Final. Since that upset, Argentina has coasted by Mexico, Poland, Australia, Netherlands, and eventually, Croatia, en route to the final.
Meanwhile, France, coasted by Australia 4-1, then beat Denmark before falling to Tunisia in a game where they rested their main starters. In the knockout rounds, France knocked off Poland, England, and Morocco.
France’s play has been highlighted by the star that is Kylian Mbappe alongside Giroud who has been scoring a surplus of goals from the central striker position and Ousmane Dembele on the opposite flank.
The midfield of France is deadly, Antoinne Griezmann played under Giroud last game, and similar to Roy Kent of Ted Lasso, Griezmann was here, there, and everywhere. Griezmann’s defensive duties, along with Giroud also helping support, have left space behind for Kylian Mbappe to exploit while also giving him minimal defensive duties.
Another key piece for France is Aurelien Tchouameni, the 22-year-old midfielder that plays club football at Real Madrid and has made his presence known to the world by scoring a worldie against England.
Meanwhile, the Argentinians have been dragged to the final by moments of brilliance from Lionel Messi.
Messi made Josko Gvardiol - perhaps the best center-back of the entire tournament - look like a little kid in a moment of individual brilliance against Croatia in which he burnt by Gvardiol before assisting Alvarez.
Julian Alvarez has overtaken the starting position at the 9 from Laturo Martinez and has run with it, literally and figuratively.
Alvarez’s solo effort in the 39th minute of the match put Argentina 2-0 up following a Messi penalty kick and was the icing on the cake to cement the Croatians a place in the third-place match and book Argentina their ticket to the final.
Enzo Fernandez, the 21-year-old central midfielder from San Martin, Argentina, currently plays for Benfica is primed for a big move after his stellar play throughout the tournament.
Argentina likes to play Messi through the middle and attack from there, as France’s ideology is much different. France tends to find Mbappe and Dembele out wide and let them take on defenders 1 on 1.
The biggest difference maker in this game will be the speed that Kylian Mbappe possesses and how the Argentinian defense can control it. If they cannot, France should find relative ease in this game as they know how to finish a good opportunity, not often letting them go to waste.
However, if Argentina can gameplan around defending Kylian Mbappe, it just takes one moment of Messi's brilliance to turn this game upside down.
Every piece of my brain tells me France is winning tomorrow, but something in my heart sees this game going into extra time with a winner from Julian Alvarez.
Argentina 3 - France 2.
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All Editorials written by Chris Dailey