Soccer’s biggest stars will be on full display when France Y Argentina go face to face in the FIFA World Cup 2022 end on sunday (coverage begins at 9 a.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports App).
France definitely have a deeper roster than Argentina, even after losing several key players to injury before the tournament, but who has the best player in each position for Sunday’s game?
To answer that question, we combined the projected starters from both teams to create a definitive XI.
Goalie: Hugo Lloris (France)
on the surface, emiliano martinez seems like the obvious choice here. He has one more clean sheet and his performance in Argentina’s penalty shootout against the Netherlands in the round of 16 is more memorable than anything Lloris has done in the tournament so far. But Lloris has saved 10 shots with a save percentage of 85.7%, which ranks him third among goalies with at least three appearances. Comparatively, Martinez has saved just four shots for a tournament-worst 37.5% save percentage.
Left side: Teo Hernandez (France)
Even without a goal in the semifinal victory of France vs. Morocco on Wednesday, Hernandez would have clinched this spot with two assists and 11 earned tackles, the latter of which is the fourth-most in the tournament. Those numbers are good for any position, but especially for a fullback who doesn’t play in a wide formation.
Center of the back: Rafael Varane (France)
After a disappointing start to the season with manchester unitedRaphael Varane has returned to World Cup form, providing a consistent presence to France’s back-line with his leadership and reliable passing.
Center of the back: Nicholas Otamendi (Argentina)
Nicolás Otamendi has just broken expectations in what will probably be his last World Cup. The 34-year-old leads Argentina in almost every defensive category, and he hasn’t been shy about reminding people of that throughout the tournament.
from france Ibrahima Konate He’s had an incredible tournament, but Otamendi has been more consistent and made a bigger impact despite being 11 years older than Konaté. That has to count for something.
Right side: Jules Koundé (France)
Normally a centre-back, Jules Koundé has performed well on the right, although he doesn’t pose as much of an attacking threat as his teammate Theo Hernández or the Argentine. Marcos Acunawho also deserved serious consideration here.
Central midfielder: Enzo Fernandez (Argentina)
It is no wonder why all the top clubs are expected to get into a bidding war for Fernández. The River Plate Academy product has shown that he can compete at the highest level and is not afraid to shoot on goal when open, as he demonstrated with his incredible goal against Mexico in the group stage.
Central midfielder: Aurélien Tchouaméni (France)
France have to feel good knowing that Tchouaméni, the future of their midfield, is performing at a world-class level at present. The fact that his real Madrid teammate eduardo camavinga is waiting in the wings feels unfair.
Attacking midfielder: antoine griezman (France)
Griezmann is technically a striker, but he has thrived in midfield for France at the World Cup, and not just as a playmaker (although his three assists are tied for the tournament high). After an uninspiring start to his club’s season, this tournament has made it clear that the 31-year-old Griezmann still has a lot of good football left to do.
On the left: kylian mbappe (France)
Just when you think teams have figured out how to contain Mbappé, he does something that makes all managers throw out their game plan. Not to worry though: Mbappe is only 23 so they have at least two more World Cup cycles to try to figure it out.
Striker: Olivier Giroud (France)
Dyed Karim Benzema Had he not suffered an injury before the tournament, Giroud would likely have been a seldom-used substitute for France coach Didier Deschamps. Instead, he is the tournament’s second-highest scorer and France’s all-time top scorer at 36.
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On the right: Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Argentina would not be in the World Cup final without the individual brilliance of Messi. Whether it was an unreal assist or a goal he created out of thin air, Messi has delivered Argentina time and time again in this year’s tournament.