Chris Sutton has made a prediction for Sunday’s World Cup final between Argentina and France and reckons the former could get feisty if things don’t go their way.
France beat Morocco on Wednesday to book a meeting with Argentina this weekend, with Lionel Messi hoping to lift that famous trophy for the first time.
The two sides met in Russia four years ago, with the European side winning an enthralling encounter 4-3.
Les Bleus are the current holders and are the first team to reach two successive finals since Brazil in 2002.
The last side to win two World Cups in a row was Brazil in 1962, and Hugo Lloris has the chance to become the first captain to lift the trophy in back-to-back tournaments.
While France have not been in scintillating form in Qatar, Sutton has predicted a 3-1 win for the “efficient” Europeans.
Sutton wrote in his BBC column:
“France are quite a baffling side in that I watch them with high expectations but am always left a bit bored, and thinking there must be more to come.
“The holders are efficient, rather than exciting, and at the moment they remind me of a Citroen cruising along an old autoroute. They’ve got a couple of gears left to find, but they might well get all the way to their destination without using them.
“We’d all love England to be effective like that, of course, and for us to be winning World Cups by finding a way and without a lot of fuss.
“I think the French public would prefer them to play like Manchester City or Spain – well, maybe Spain in terms of possession but also taking some shots at goal – and dominate games, winning with flair and doing it in style.
“But their manager Didier Deschamps is pragmatic and is not bothered what people think. They were labelled bland four years ago too, but they ended up world champions.
“Instead of trying to keep the ball, France don’t seem to want it at at all. Morocco had 23% of possession in their win over Spain, but managed 61% against the French.
“France don’t play free-flowing football, instead they carry the ball forward quickly and pick their moments – and, with someone like Kylian Mbappe in the team, they can be devastating in those moments.
“Mbappe has only performed in fits and starts but that has been enough. Olivier Giroud has been a revelation and Antoine Griezmann has linked everything up.
“It has worked so far, so they are hardly going to change now, are they?”
Having seen plenty of Argentina this winter, the former Celtic and Blackburn Rovers striker does not expect them to go down quietly and says he would not be surprised to see a red card or two if they go behind. Sutton added:
“I’ve watched Argentina a lot and thought a sterner ref could have punished them with more cards in some of their games because their players seem to be on the edge a lot of the time.
“So, I would not be surprised if we see a couple of red cards, especially if Argentina fall behind. I love watching them because of how passionate they are, but they will fight and scrap to win at any cost.
“I was there in Kazan when they gave Mbappe some rough treatment as France beat them in the last 16 in 2018, and there will be more of that this time, I am sure.”
“Argentina’s players are fighting for their jersey, fighting for their fans and fighting for Messi, to send him out on a high. They will have to control themselves and harness their aggression, and I am not convinced they will.
“We could see some dark arts from both sides because France are not afraid of a physical battle and, if Argentina do lose, they won’t go quietly.”
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