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World Cup Final: Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe set for defining battle

Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe will put it all on the line at the Lusail Stadium on Sunday, with both players vying for a plethora of individual honours alongside the World Cup trophy.

The joint-leaders in the Top Goalscorer standings on five goals, the hopes of Argentina and France will rest largely on the shoulders of Messi and Mbappe respectively in a mouth-watering World Cup final showdown.

Messi is slightly favoured to finish as Top Goalscorer at odds of 10/11 compared to 21/20 for his French counterpart Mbappe.

One of Messi or Mbappe’s teammates could also very feasibly finish the tournament as Top Goalscorer, however, with Julian Alvarez and Olivier Giroud both on four goals apiece. The pair are both priced at 10/1 in the Top Goalscorer market.

Dead heat rules will apply should any players finish as joint-top scorers following Sunday's historic clash.

Top Goalscorer is not the only individual honour in which Messi and Mbappe are firmly in contention for ahead of Sunday’s showpiece in Lusail, with the Golden Ball awarded to the Player of the Tournament also up for grabs.

Argentine skipper Messi is a strong 1/5 favourite for the Golden Ball, although should France emerge victorious both Mbappe (9/2) and Antoine Griezmann (8/1) could be well worth a shout depending on how the match unfolds.

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What the stats say

As far as the race for the Golden Boot is concerned, Messi’s favourite status is backed up by his tournament xG of 5.075 which is the highest in the whole competition.

Mbappe’s xG of 3.47 ranks him third amongst all World Cup players, behind teammate and fellow Golden Boot chaser Giroud in second on 3.532. Argentina’s Julian Alvarez is eighth in the xG standings on 2.425.

With regards to the Golden Ball, Messi’s three assists is the joint-highest in the tournament alongside France’s Antoine Griezmann, Portgual’s Bruno Fernandes and England’s Harry Kane. 

Griezmann, who has shone for his country in an atypical box-to-box midfield role in Qatar, has the highest Expected Assists (xA) total in the competition on 2.9, ahead of Messi in second on 2.6.

The Atletico Madrid man also pips Messi on Key Passes, with his total of 20 the highest in the World Cup with Messi second on 18. Kylian Mbappe is joint-third for this metric on 11 alongside teammates Theo Hernandez and Ousmane Dembele.

Messi and Mbappe also come out on top when it comes to Successful Dribbles, with the Frenchman top of the tree on 21 with Argentina’s finest joint-second on 17 alongside Germany wonderkid Jamal Musiala.

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