Les Bleus are a game away from becoming the third nation to defend its title.
How the France team was mired in problems with players not able to form great chemistry. The involvement of families in the national team also degraded the team’s morale as they were ousted by Switzerland in Euro 2020. But France have successfully picked themselves up and are now in the final of the FIFA World Cup 2022.
Les Bleus also had to overcome the European World champions’ curse that has hovered since the 2002 World Cup, when France — then world champions — crashed out of the Group stages. The curse had lived on for the editions that followed until France themselves lifted the jinx in this edition, becoming the first nation to qualify for the Round of 16 stage in FIFA World Cup 2022. It was poetic justice for France to lift the curse they were the first subject to 14 years ago.
With injuries troubling the team prior to the World Cup, coach Didier Deschamps was concerned. But it was a slight hiccup for the reigning champions, who opened their World Cup 2022 campaign with a solid showing.
In Qatar, France were placed in Group D alongside Australia, Denmark and Tunisia.
Match 1: France 4-1 Australia
Despite falling behind 1-0 in the first half, France responded in the second half and overpowered the Asian Giants, scoring four goals. Olivier Giroud scored a brace, while Adrien Rabiot and Kylian Mbappe also found the net.
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Match 2: France 2-1 Denmark
With two goals and an equalizer, Mbappe underlined why he is thought to be the finest young talent. His brace enabled France to clinch three points and become the first team to secure their place in the knockouts.
Match 3: Tunisia 1-0 France
Deschamps rested regular players knowing France had already secured their place in the knockouts. Les Blues were still a decent team, but Tunisia stunned the French behemoth after some late drama. Following their victory over the reigning champions, Tunisia were on course to make the knockouts. But Australia’s goal against Denmark in the other group game killed their chances.
Round OF 16: France 3-1 Poland
This was Mbappe’s match and he inevitably led France to the quarter-finals with a 3-1 victory over Poland. The Polish offered a threat but couldn’t break through France’s impregnable defence. As France advanced to the quarter-finals, Giroud equaled Thierry Henry’s all-time record of highest goals for France.
Quarter-Final: England 1-2 France
This was one of the finest World Cup games, and both nations were teeming with promising young players. Only one could go to the semi-finals. France was more clinical and executed almost every opportunity, England came close numerous times, but simply lacked cutting-edge in the opposition box. With France leading by a slim 2-1 margin, England were awarded a penalty, which Harry Kane sent into the stands and marred England’s spot in the semi-finals.
Semi-Finals: France 2-0 Morocco
Morocco advanced to the semi-finals with only one goal conceded, an own goal. They were yet to concede a goal from the opponent. But all France needed were five minutes to break the tough Morocco defence. Morocco displayed offensive flair but were undone by France’s stellar goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Les Bleus killed the match with a second goal, booking a rendezvous with Argentina in the final of World Cup 2022 on December 18.
Will Lionel Messi ultimately clinch the World Cup, or will France retain its title?
There have been 12 affairs between these two heavyweights, including three games in FIFA World Cup. Argentina edge the head-to-head record with two wins to France’s one.
The most recent match was in the 2018 World Cup round of 16 where France coasted to a 4-3 win over Argentina. The World Cup final in 2022 will mark the fourth meeting with a trophy in sight of Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe.
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