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France a slight favorite over Argentina

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France opened as a slight favorite to deny Lionel Messi’s his elusive World Cup title after eliminating Morocco 2-0 in Wednesday’s second semifinal. France will attempt to successfully defend its title on Sunday against Argentina, which received a goal and an assist from Messi in routing Croatia 3-0 in the first semifinal on Tuesday.

In what is expected to be Messi’s final World Cup, Argentina opened as slight underdogs at most sportsbooks. That includes being offered at +185 to France’s +175 odds at DraftKings, and +175 to France’s +170 at BetMGM. BetRivers did open with both countries offered at +185, although Argentina shifted to a +180 favorite within an hour of France’s victory, with France’s odds lengthening to +195. The two countries have taken different paths to meet in the finals in Qatar.

After opening with a stunning loss to Saudi Arabia in the group stage, Argentina has steadily found its form. After blowing a 2-0 lead in the closing minutes of the quarterfinals and needing penalty kicks to survive the Netherlands, Argentina thoroughly dominated Croatia, which had reached the previous World Cup finals.

France cruised through its first two group games before resting many of its stars in a 1-0 loss to Tunisia. The defending champs then won a dramatic game against England before handling Morocco, the first African side to reach a World Cup semifinal. Argentina and France last faced each other in a World Cup in the Round of 16 in 2018, with France prevailing 4-3 en route to the title. This will be the first time the countries have met in a World Cup final.

This is the first time since Brazil in 2002 that a defending champion has reached the tournament final — that is also the last time a team outside of Europe won the title. Only Italy (1934, 1938) and Brazil (1958, 1962) have won consecutive World Cups.

Croatia is heavily favored in the consolation match as it is being offered at +135 at DraftKings to beat Morocco (+210). Croatia is also favored at BetMGM (+138) and BetRivers (+123) over Morocco, at +195 and +230, respectively. – Field Level Media


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