France will face off against Lionel Messi and Argentina in the 2022 World Cup final on Sunday, December 18. Kickoff is set for 10 a.m. ET from Lusail Stadium as the French side look to become the first team to win back-to-back World Cups since Pele’s Brazil in 1958 and 1962.
Let’s take a look at how France got to the final.
France’s path to World Cup final
France got off to a flying start in the group stage with a 4-1 win over Australia followed by a 2-1 victory over Denmark. With their ticket to the knockout rounds already booked after two matches, coach Didier Deschamps opted to rest many of his starters in their third and final group match against Tunisia, resulting in a 1-0 loss to wrap up the group stage. Regardless, Deschamps’s side finished on top of Group D with six points, advancing to the knockouts along with Australia.
The round of 16 saw France meet up with Robert Lewandowski and Poland, who had advanced out of the group stage for the first time since 1986. The Polish side didn’t give France much trouble, as Olivier Giroud opened the scoring followed by a brace from Kylian Mbappe. Lewandowski converted a penalty in the 90th minute, but it was nothing more than a consolation goal as France cruised to a 3-1 victory.
In their toughest test of the tournament thus far, Les Bleus ran into England in the quarterfinal round. Aurelien Tchouameni opened the scoring in the 17 minute, though England striker Harry Kane pulled back an equalizer in the 54th minute. Giroud scored the go-ahead goal in the 78th, and while England was awarded another penalty late in the game, Kane missed the target completely and failed to equalize the match again. France escaped with a 2-1 victory despite being outshot and out-possessed by the Three Lions.
The semifinal round saw France face off against Morocco, who had been enjoying an incredible Cinderella run as they’d already taken down giants Spain and Portugal in the two previous rounds. Unfortunately for the African nation, this is where their ride came to an end as France cruised to a 2-0 win courtesy of goals from Theo Hernandez and Randal Kolo Muani.
Kylian Mbappe co-leads the tournament in scoring with five goals, tied with Lionel Messi throughout the campaign. Mbappe has already topped his scoring total from 2018 and will look to add to that tally in the final match of the World Cup on Sunday.