The big day is finally here. After nearly a month of exhilarating action, it is time to decide the winner of the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and Arab World.
All roads will be leading to Lusail Stadium as two powerhouses of world football - France and Argentina - look to lift the trophy for the third time.
Lionel Messi is hoping to crown his stellar career by leading Argentina to World Cup glory Sunday but Kylian Mbappe's history-chasing France are standing in his way, reports AFP.
France may need every hour available as kick-off looms after their camp was struck by illness, forcing a number of players to sit out training and giving coach Didier Deschamps an unwanted headache.
Argentina and France are both aiming to win the trophy for the third time, with Les Bleus returning to the final four years after their triumph in Moscow.
Back-to-back titles would be a monumental achievement for the side coached by Deschamps -- the only teams to have done it previously are Italy in the 1930s and Pele's Brazil in 1958 and 1962.
Yet that potential achievement is trumped by Messi's quest to win the ultimate prize in the game in what is almost certainly his final World Cup match.
The former Barcelona star has won everything going at club level, also claiming the Ballon d'Or seven times, and last year led Argentina to victory in the Copa America.
Messi has been brilliant in his fifth World Cup as the team bounced back from a shock opening loss to Saudi Arabia, while his new sidekick, Julian Alvarez, has scored four times.
"It is exciting to be in the final, but there is still one step to go," said coach Lionel Scaloni.
Aged 35 and driven by his desire to make up for defeat by Germany in the 2014 final, Messi has scored five goals and produced some sublime assists.
Sunday's match is likely to be his last chance to match the achievement of Diego Maradona, who inspired Argentina to victory in Mexico in 1986.
On the other hand, Les Bleus have returned to the final without ever really hitting top form and they now have to contend with illness in their camp.
France are also wary of reducing the match at the 89,000-capacity Lusail Stadium to just a showdown with Messi.
"Yes they have Leo Messi but there will also be 10 other players next to him who have lots of quality," said midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni.
"So we will need to be ready, aware of the opportunity we have to make history."
Deschamps, who can become the first coach in the post-war era to win two World Cups, said: "We will try to limit his influence as much as possible, just as the Argentines will try to limit the influence of some of my players."
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