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Argentina v France: Mark Langdon's World Cup final betting tips

It's the biggest football match on the planet and it should live up to the billing when Argentina face France in the World Cup final in Qatar on Sunday.

The odds suggest this is too close to call with next to nothing separating the two heavyweight nations, with Argentina 4/5 and France 1/1 To Lift The Trophy.

However, fear not as the Racing Post's Head of Sport Content Mark Langdon is on hand to deliver his best bets and predictions for the World Cup final.

What: Argentina v France, World Cup final
Where: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Qatar
When: 15:00, Sunday 18th December
How to watch: Live on BBC One and ITV
Odds: Argentina 13/8, Draw 21/10, France 19/10

The trend of low-scoring World Cup finals was ended by France four years ago and they could once again play their part in an entertaining clash against Argentina in a match where superstars Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi will go head-to-head.

Between 1990 and 2014 the seven finals produced a total of eight goals in regulation time, with four of them going to extra-time and three of those finishing 0-0.

However, France saw off Croatia 4-2 in Russia in 2018 and the fact Les Bleus and Argentina are so blessed in attack points to another shootout.

Pick of the punts is Both Teams to Score at 1/1.

Argentina, led by the mesmerising Messi, have recovered fantastically well from the shock 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia in their opening group game, beating Mexico and Poland by 2-0 scorelines which enabled the South Americans to qualify.

Another two goals were scored in the knockout triumphs over Australia and Netherlands. However, they conceded in both and were even taken to penalties in a dramatic shootout victory over the Dutch.

Argentina put in arguably their best performance of the tournament when taking down Croatia 3-0 in the semi-finals on a night when Messi shone brightest.

A goal and an assist took Messi's goal contributions to eight for this World Cup (five goals and three assists), although they are not a one-man team.

Julian Alvarez, Messi's forward partner, is up to four goals thanks to a semi-final brace and Argentina will expect to cause many problems for a French team struggling to keep clean sheets.

Hugo Lloris did keep Morocco at bay in a 2-0 semi-final win - France's only shutout of the tournament - but the world champions allowed 13 shots as well as gifting the North African outsiders a staggering 62 per cent possession.

But France are comfortable without the ball and prefer to play on the counter-attack which makes sense with Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele leading the charge from wide areas.

Mbappe, like Messi, has five goals in the tournament and looks in a good place to exploit Argentina's perceived weakness in the full-back positions.

France failed to score against Tunisia when Didier Deschamps sent out the reserves - but they have otherwise notched at least twice in each game.

The pressure is ramped up in the final, but Mbappe and Messi will be doubly determined to put on a show in what should be a great game.

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Back Giroud with French fancied

There is not much to separate the sides, but France at 1/1 could just have the edge To Lift the Trophy.

Their midfield is more reliable with Antoine Griezmann proving himself to be one of the stars of the World Cup. The Atletico Madrid man, who usually plays further forward, has adapted his game superbly and excelled in the knockout wins over England and Morocco.

Real Madrid's Aurelien Tchouameni is also a step up on what Argentina can offer, albeit Benfica's Enzo Fernandez has been a breakout star to help supply Messi with quality from midfield.

Another slight edge for France comes with the aerial threat of Olivier Giroud.

Argentina struggled when Australia and Netherlands launched crosses into their penalty box and the physical presence of Giroud is another reason to fancy a French victory.

Giroud has already scored two headed goals in the tournament and a price of 12/1 to score another header might be of interest.

Full-backs could be cautioned

Robust Argentinian centre-backs Cristian Romero and Nicolas Otamendi are the obvious place to start in the market for Players to Be Booked, although the full-backs could offer more value given they will be facing ultimate tricky speedsters Mbappe and Dembele.

Argentina have rotated their full-backs around, so whichever two of Nahuel Molina, Marcos Acuna, Gonzalo Montiel and Nicolas Tagliafico are selected would be worthy of consideration.

Another full-back to back who should start is Theo Hernandez, who is a 7/2 shot in the Player to be Booked market.

The AC Milan left-back has racked up five yellow cards in 13 Serie A appearances this season and was also cautioned against England in the quarter-finals.

Messi likes to drift around the right side of the Argentinian attack before cutting in on to his wand of a left foot and Hernandez is unlikely to get much defensive cover from Mbappe.

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