José Cardoso Profile Photo

José Cardoso

World Cup 2022

- Dec. 16, 2022

FIFA 2022 World Cup Final

Almost exactly a month ago, 32 national teams embarked on a quest for the ultimate honor in international football, as Qatar welcomed the World for the first ever winter edition of the FIFA World Cup. With 62 matches already played, it is time to focus our attention on the main event, the 2022 World Cup Final, which promises to be a fierce duel between two-time champions Argentina and France. Head-to-Head Argentina and France are no strangers to each other, as they have played a total of 12 games in men’s football, with Argentina holding the overall lead with 6 wins, 3 draws, and 3 losses. At the previous editions of the World Cup they have met on three occasions, with Argentina winning twice (1930 group stage: 1-0, 1978 group stage: 2-1), and France winning once (2018 last 16: 4-3). This will be the first time that these two teams meet in a Final. Road to the Final Argentina started their title bid with a loss to Saudi Arabia, one of the largest upsets at any World Cup. Unfazed by the mounting pressure, they gathered themselves and saw off Mexico and Poland in their next two group games to ultimately top their group. In the knockout stages, La Albiceleste continued with a nervy win against Australia, followed by a nail-biter victory on penalties versus the Netherlands, to ultimately overcome Croatia with a convincing 3-0. France started their campaign by conceding an early goal against Australia, but later fought back to comfortably take the three points. Another win against Denmark secured their progress, before their surprise loss against a spirited Tunisia. Business continued as usual for the defending champions, as they marched on against Poland, England and ultimately, the surpirse of the tournament, Morocco on their way to the Final. Different Paths, Similar Numbers So let’s talk stats. In the attacking department, France looks to have an edge over Argentina, as highlighted by the radar plots below. During the tournament, France has scored 13 goals from a total of 92 shots (0.14 goals per shot), while Argentina hit the net 12 times out of 76 attempts (0.12 goals per shot). Interestingly enough, both teams have amassed similar expected goals, with Argentina leading the way with 11.8 xG (0.15 xG / shot), but with 4 penalties awarded, while France have collected 11.5 xG (0.125 xG/shot) without penalties. France also has 4 more shot creating actions per game than Argentina, and recorded 4 more assists. To investigate the defensive department, let’s look at the collective attacking stats recorded against the two finalists. Argentina’s defense is stronger, but more leaky than France’s, with 0.12 goals conceded per shot, compared to the 0.05 of Les Bleus. Argentina did face 23 fewer shots, yet only conceded one goal less than France throughout the tournament. La Albiceleste also gave away less quality chances to their opponents - 0.07 xGA / shot, compared to the 0.11 xGA / shot of France, who also conceded 2 penalties, albeit, only one of them ended up being scored. Thus, overall we can conclude that Argentina is more difficult to break down, but when done so, they concede easier.

Dec. 16, 2022
José Cardoso Profile Photo
José Cardoso

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