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WATCH: World Cup: Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe battle for Golden Ball

Prior to the World Cup, there were plenty of storylines to watch out for.

Harry Kane bidding for a second straight Golden Boot. Neymar bidding to banish the demons of 2014 - and 2018 - in an attempt to win the World Cup and possibly the Golden Ball. Kylian Mbappe and France looking to go back-to-back. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi's final tilts at World Cup glory.

As it's happened, we've ended up with Kane failing to get near the top scorers, Brazil once again failing to get past the quarter-finals, and Ronaldo being dropped halfway through the tournament.

The story of the tournament so far is perhaps Morocco becoming the first African nation to reach a World Cup semi-final - but the story going into Sunday looks to be writing itself.

Arguably the best player in the world and arguably the best player of all time, potentially facing off in a World Cup final, with the Golden Ball thrown into the mix.

They're also the two runaway favourites in the Golden Ball betting. But for Messi's fantastic goal against Mexico, La Albiceleste may have been staring at a very early exit. He's also scored in both knockout rounds so far to put Argentina - and himself - one match away from a second World Cup final in the last three tournaments.

Mbappe, meanwhile, had scored in every game he'd played prior to facing England, who actually nullified the PSG star quite well for much of the game. But if Mbappe can become the first player to score against Morocco all tournament, it's hard to see Les Bleus not appearing in the final. 

Bet on the Golden Ball winner

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And although we've been denied the dream semi-final of Argentina v Brazil, Argentina's fans and players won't be complaining about facing an ageing Croatia team who've gone the distance in both knockout matches.

The odds suggest we'll see an Argentina v France - and Messi v Mbappe - final, and it looks like the winner of the tournament will also claim the Golden Ball.

Steve Freeth has taken a look at their performances in Qatar.

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