DAY 29: France v Argentina, Mbappe v Messi… this is a World Cup final for the ages

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IT’S the morning of a World Cup final and we’re talking about England! Sadly that’s not because they are about to take part in the tournament showpiece in Doha, but instead because of the significant news that Gareth Southgate has agreed to stay as manager and take the team to Euro 2024. Ian Ladyman is joined by Martin Samuel, Oliver Holt and Rob Draper to discuss whether the FA have kept the best man for the job – and if Southgate he has now backed himself into a corner and must abandon caution to play front-foot football with this exciting team going forward.

And before our experts head to the Lusail Stadium for the final, Oliver feels the weight of history on Lionel Messi and Argentina and looks forward to a mouthwatering clash against France featuring two of the greatest players in the world battling it out for the biggest prize of them all, while Martin reminds us that while it’s hard to shake off the sense that this is Messi’s date with destiny in his final World Cup match, sport has a habit of spoiling fairytale endings – and France are actually in a great position to take advantage of a nervy Argentina team.

Finally, with the return of top-level domestic football just days away, Rob considers how players who have just experienced the high of World Cup glory – or suffered World Cup heartbreak – will get themselves up for the return of the Premier League… and why bosses such as Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola are already complaining!

We hope you enjoy this episode of World Cup Confidential – we’ll be back tomorrow to analyse what should be a brilliant final.

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