Lionel Messi leads Argentina through their last training session before World Cup final showdown with France… after goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez hit back at Kylian Mbappe for claiming South American football is ‘not as advanced’ as Europe
Argentina have trained for the final time before their crucial World Cup final showdown with France on Sunday evening.
The South American side will bid to win their first World Cup in over 36 years against the reigning champions at Lusail Stadium.
Messi and Co continued their preparations for the match as they took to the training field at Qatar University for the last time.
Argentina captain Lionel Messi was all smiles as he trained for the final time before the final
The South American side will bid to win their first World Cup in over 36 years against France
Argentina Manager Lionel Scaloni has decisions to make ahead of Sunday’s showdown
The Argentina players appeared to be in good spirits despite the looming pressure
Argentina will be boosted by the return of Marcos Acunha and Gonzalo Montiel, who both missed the semi-final win over Croatia through suspension.
Talismnan Messi was all smiles, with all eyes set to be on the 35-year-old as he seeks to win the only trophy that has so far proved beyond his reach.
Alejandro Gomez remains a doubt with an ankle sprain but may make the bench against France.
Manager Lionel Scaloni will have a decision to make on whether to go with a three-man defence or continue with four as he did in Argentina’s last outing. Scaloni has insisted ‘we already decided the strategy’ ahead of the showdown.
Kylian Mbappe questioned the quality of South American football earlier this year
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has hit back at Kylian Mbappe, who questioned the quality of South American football earlier this year.
Speaking in May, the 23-year-old Frenchman said: ‘The advantage we have in Europe is that we play among ourselves with high-level matches all the time, such as the Nations League, for example.
‘When we arrive at the World Cup,we are ready, where Brazil and Argentina do not have this level in South America.
Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez hit back at the Frenchman in his press conference on Saturday
Football is not as advanced as in Europe. That’s why at the last World Cups, it’s always the Europeans who win.’
Asked about Mbappe’s comments, Martinez said on Saturday: ‘He doesn’t know enough about football.
‘He never played in South America. When you don’t have this experience, it may be better not to talk about it.
‘But it doesn’t matter. We are a great team, recognised as such.’