Lionel Messi Threat Offers France Major World Cup Final Selection Dilemma

Lionel Messi Arrives At Barcelona Amid Speculation About A Possible Return

Throughout their journey to the World Cup Final, France’s team has largely chosen itself..

But, after last night’s performance, Didier Deschamps faces a dilemma in deciding who will play at centre-back against Argentina in the channel where Lionel Messi bamboozled Josko Gvardiol in Tuesday’s semi-final win over Croatia.

In the absence of Dayot Upamecano, who was only fit enough to sit on the bench due to illness, Ibrahima Konate shone against Morocco. The night was not as easy as the 2-0 scoreline suggested, and Liverpool centre-back Konate made a number of crucial blocks as France kept their first clean sheet in Qatar..

“[Upamecano] has had three difficult days since the last game on Saturday, despite getting some exercise on Tuesday,” Deschamps said. “I chose Ibou Konate because of what he had previously shown us. He possesses the necessary abilities to perform at this level.”

Deschamps’ team selections have been mostly consistent, but he has made some changes at center-back..

Lionel Messi Threat Offers France Major World Cup Final Selection Dilemma

Raphael Varane has started every game since missing the first due to injury, while Upamecano has started four and Konate three.

Deschamps must make a big decision on who will play against Argentina, and whoever is chosen must play a key role in keeping Messi quiet..

Konate has undoubtedly edged out Upamecano, who may have been on the verge of being dropped anyway after a difficult night in the quarter-finals.

Upamecano got too close to England captain Harry Kane on several occasions and almost gave away a penalty. Kane delighted in being able to spin the Bayern Munich man when he got tight, and similar defending will have Messi licking his lips.

Croatian defender Gvardiol is all too aware of the dangers of getting too close to Messi. Argentina’s captain twisted him inside out to set up a brilliant third goal in their 3-0 semi-final victory..

Konate demonstrated last night that he is content to not be touch-tight to his opponent, and when beaten, he also demonstrated excellent recovery skills. At this tournament, he is currently averaging 6.9 tackles and interceptions per 90 minutes, the most of any player with three or more starts.

Stopping Messi is obviously a step up from stopping Morocco, but Konate appears to be better prepared than Upamecano to meet the challenge..

Published on: December 15, 2022. at: 3:46 pm

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