WC: Records and stats that beckon Argentina and France

After 25 days and 62 matches, we finally have the last two teams standing in the race for the holy grail of world football – the FIFA World Cup trophy.
It’s going to be a clash between two teams who have both won the trophy twice before. 1978 and 1986 champions Argentina will take on 1998 and 2018 champions France in the summit clash in Qatar on Sunday.
Both teams are not just on the cusp of World Cup glory, but also a plethora of records.

Fifa final

TimesofIndia.com here take a look at the records and key stats that beckon both Lionel Messi‘s Argentina and Hugo Lloris’s France as they stand within one win of winning what will be their third World Cup title:
If Argentina win the World Cup:
1. The Albiceleste will end a 36 year wait for the World Cup title. They last won the World Cup in 1986
2. Lionel Messi will win his first ever World Cup title and will emulate the other two Argentinian World Cup winning captains – Daniel Passarella and Diego Maradona
3. They will become just the fourth team to win three or more World Cup titles. The all-time record is still with Brazil, with 5 titles, followed by Germany and Italy, who are tied on 4 titles each
4. They will break Europe’s hegemony and become the first South American team to win the title since Brazil in 2002. The last four editions of the World Cup have been won by European teams (2006 – Italy; 2010 – Spain; 2014 – Germany and 2018 – France)

5. Their win-loss record at the World Cup final will become 3:3. It currently stands at 2:3, with wins in 1978 and 1986 and losses in the finals of the 1930, 1990 and 2014 editions
6. Lionel Messi will bring the curtain down on his World Cup career with the biggest win and biggest trophy of his life
7. Argentina will become the first South American team since Brazil in 2002 to beat European opposition in the World Cup final. Brazil beat Germany 2-0 in the 2002 final
8. If – Lionel Messi scores one goal in the final, Kylian Mbappe doesn’t manage to get on the scoresheet, and Olivier Giroud and Julian Alvarez score either once or not at all, Messi will win the Golden Boot for the first time for the most goals. (Messi and Mbappe are currently tied on 5 goals each, while Giroud and Alvarez have 4 goals each)
9. Messi is also a serious contender for the Golden Ball award for the Best player of the tournament. He won this in 2014 also, when Argentina lost to Germany in the final. If he wins the Golden Ball again, he will become the first player to win the coveted award twice, since it was first given out in the 1982 edition in Spain, which was won by Italian Paolo Rossi

10. Messi already has four Player of the Match awards at Qatar 2022, which is the joint highest ever in one edition of the World Cup. If he picks up the award again in the final, he will be the first man to get to five in one edition. Messi won four Player of the Match awards in 2014 himself and Wesley Sneijder did the same for the Dutch in 2010
11. If Messi scores one more goal in the final, he will get to six goals in this edition of the World Cup, which will also be the most goals he has ever scored in a single edition. He previously scored five goals in the 2014 edition in Brazil, in which Argentina were runners-up to Germany
12. If Messi scores once in the final he will equal Pele’s World Cup record of 12 goals. If he scores twice, he will go past Pele and equal Just Fontaine on 13 goals. In case Messi scores a hat-trick he will then go past Pele and Fontaine and equal Gerd Muller’s record of 14 World Cup goals. The record for the most number of World Cup goals ever scored belongs to Germany’s Miroslav Klose (16 goals), with Brazil’s Ronaldo Nazario in second place (15 goals)
13. An Argentina win will mean that France will end as runners-up for just the second time in World Cup history. They previously finished second in the 2006 edition when they lost 3-5 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the final to Italy

14. When he appears in the final on Sunday, Messi will go past Germany’s Lothar Matthaus for the most number of World Cup appearances by a male player. Messi and Matthaus are currently tied on 25 appearances
15. If Messi either scores or assists in the final, he will have the solo record for the most number of goal involvements in World Cup matches since 1966, with 20. He is currently on 19 (11 goals and 8 assists) and tied with Gerd Muller (14 goals and 5 assists), Ronaldo Nazario (15 goals and 4 assists) and Miroslav Klose (16 goals and 3 assists)
16. Argentina will become just the second team after Spain in 2010 to win the World Cup after losing their opening match (Spain lost to Switzerland in 2010 0-1, while Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia in Qatar 1-2). Before this edition a total of 4 teams had reached the final after losing their first game
If France win the World Cup:
1. They will become the first team in 60 years to successfully defend the title. The last team to do so was Brazil in 1962, having also won the 1958 edition
2. They will become just the third team overall to successfully defend the title. Italy won back to back titles in 1934 and 1938 and Brazil in 1958 and 1962
3. Didier Deschamps will become the first manager since 1938 to win back to back World Cup titles. The last and only man so far to have done that was Vittorio Pozzo with Italy (1934 and 1938)

4. Deschamps will also become the first to have won a World Cup title as a player and two titles as manager. As World Cup winning manager he is currently tied with Mario Zagallo (titles in 1958 and 1962 as player and then manager of Brazil in 1970) and Franz Beckenbauer (player in 1974 and West Germany manager in 1990). Deschamps was the captain of the French team that won the title in 1998 and was manager in 2018
5. Europe’s hegemony of the title will continue. This will be the fifth edition in a row (since 2006) to have been won by a European team
6. If Lionel Messi doesn’t score in the final, and both Julian Alvarez and Olivier Giroud score either one or none and Kylian Mbappe scores once, Mbappe will walk away with the Golden Boot award for the most number of goals. (Messi and Mbappe are currently tied on 5 goals each, while Giroud and Alvarez have 4 goals each)

7. If Mbappe scores once in the final, he will be tied with Pele (Brazil), Mario Kempes (Argentina) and James Rodriguez (Colombia) for most goals in a single edition of the World Cup before turning 24 (6 goals). If he scores twice, he will become the solo record holder. Mbappe turns 24 on December 20
8. A French win in the final will mean that Argentina will finish as runners-up for the fourth time in World Cup history. La Albiceleste previously finished second in 1930, 1990 and 2014

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