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Argentina vs France: World Cup final combined XI

In this article, we will take a look at the best combined XI to be made up of players from both the Argentine and French national team squads.

This, of course, comes ahead of the showpiece occasion of what has proven a pulsating World Cup in Qatar.

After getting the better of Morocco and Croatia in their respective semi-final outings, France and Argentina will lock horns

The former will head into proceedings eyeing a 2nd successive crown on international football’s biggest stage, after going all the way in Russia back in 2018.

Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina, on the other hand, will be aiming to add to their status as South American champions, whilst simultaneously taking advantage of the final opportunity for talisman Lionel Messi to lift the World Cup.

Safe to say, then, that a hard-fought, action-packed 90 minutes are expected to play out at the Lusail Stadium on Sunday night.

In truth, one would do well to argue against the fact that, when all are fit and available for selection, France boast

Without the likes of Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Mike Maignan, Lucas Hernandez and Christopher Nkunku owing to injury, though, do Les Bleus boast a superior starting XI than Argentina, on a player for player basis?

Below, we provide our best attempt to ascertain as much.

For the purpose of clarity, the following line-up is based on the players to have both proven themselves as first-choice across the World Cup tournament to date, and on their general abilities, not solely performances in Qatar.

Goalkeeper – Hugo Lloris

Emiliano Martinez may count himself as hard done-by here, and with good reason. The Aston Villa standout has enjoyed a superb World Cup, with his penalty heroics versus the Netherlands in the tournament’s quarter-finals having proven absolutely crucial to Argentina’s advancement to the showpiece clash. Counterpart Lloris, though, continues to step up to the plate for France time and time again, with both his leadership and shot-stopping ability an underappreciated aspect of Les Bleus’ challenge for a 2nd World Cup triumph in succession.

Right-back – Jules Kounde

One of the easier calls in this list, Jules Kounde continues to prove himself one of world football’s finest young defenders, capable of lining out at either right-back or in a more central role. Didier Deschamps’ decision to place his trust in the Barcelona summer addition has been fully justified, with Kounde having excelled on both sides of the ball across the World Cup to date.

Centre-back – Raphael Varane

Need an explanation be provided? Raphael Varane has been the subject of occasional criticism since taking his talents to Manchester United, but the fact remains that, on his day, the former Real Madrid man is one of world football’s very best in his position.

Centre-back – Cristian Romero

Fitting into the disclaimer outlined above, Romero’s inclusion here comes despite the Tottenham star having arguably been outperformed by first-choice France counterpart Dayot Upamecano in Qatar. In truth, though, had this line-up been based solely upon efforts at the World Cup, then Ibrahima Konate would slot in ahead of both Romero and Upamecano. But, on his day, Romero is arguably one of the best central defenders on the planet, with Argentina’s heart-stopping quarter-final collapse against the Netherlands, which forced proceedings to extra-time and an eventual penalty shootout, having come directly on the back of his exit from the action.

Left-back – Theo Hernandez

A testament to France’s vastly superior options at left-back when compared to those of Argentina, Theo Hernandez did not even begin the World Cup as first-choice for Les Bleus. Owing to a long-term injury suffered by brother Lucas, though, the explosive AC Milan man has been afforded the chance to shine in the Middle East. He may not boast the defensive capabilities of his sibling, but, further up the pitch, Theo is debatably world football’s best in his role.

Central midfielder – Aurelien Tchouameni

The most straightforward midfield pick in our XI, Aurelien Tchouameni, despite his tender years, has stepped into a real leader’s role for France this winter, only reinforcing his status as one of football’s most exciting young talents. The rave reviews of the Real Madrid faithful over the early months of his stint in Spain’s capital have since been backed by similar commendation from the French public, with his stunning opener in Les Bleus’ quarter-final triumph over England a testament to Tchouameni’s often underrated capabilities in the attacking third.

Central midfielder – Adrien Rabiot

It feels incredibly harsh to not include at least one of Alexis Mac Allister or Enzo Fernandez in this team, but the fact is that Adrien Rabiot, at both club and international level, has been nothing short of superb of late. The Juventus man has always boasted the abilities befitting of a top midfielder, but having added a new element of consistency and drive to his game, Rabiot has taken things to a new level, with France the gleeful beneficiaries. The fact that Juve teammate Paul Pogba’s absence has barely been felt is as strong a testament as any to Rabiot’s legitimate brilliance en route to Les Bleus’ finale showdown with Argentina.

Attacking midfielder – Antoine Griezmann

Yes, this XI is beginning to look altogether France-heavy, but the fact of the matter is that the reigning world champions simply boast a superior squad to their upcoming opponents. Antoine Griezmann is a perfect example of as much, with the Atletico Madrid star having looked reborn this winter, in the midst of a difficult campaign at club level. Slotting into a deeper midfield role than he would generally be accustomed to, Griezmann has not missed a step, and remains an outside contender for Player of the Tournament honours. So recently written off as past his best, the 31-year-old, when firing on all cylinders, remains an unquestionably world-class performer.

Right-wing – Lionel Messi

No explanation required.

Left-wing – Kylian Mbappe

Same as above. A mouthwatering showdown between arguably world football’s two best attackers, who just so happen to be teammates at club level, awaits in Lusail.

Centre-forward – Olivier Giroud

A strong argument could well have been made for Julian Alvarez to take his place as the spearhead of our XI, particularly owing to his brace in the competition’s semi-finals. How, though, could we in good faith leave out Olivier Giroud? Continuing to age like a fine win, the veteran forward remains a remarkably reliable source of goals, with his penchant for producing when it matters most having proven the key once more in France getting the better of England. Alvarez, without question, is primed to explode at Manchester City in the near future, whilst Lautaro Martinez’s talents cannot be discounted despite a difficult tournament to date in Qatar. On his day, though, Giroud remains the man for the big occasion, and simply could not be overlooked.

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Conor Laird

Die-hard Juventus fan with a love for all things Italian, and a real soft spot for Arsenal cult heroes. Emmanuel Eboue, Nicklas Bendtner, Philippe Senderos... Give them all statues outside the Emirates.

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