Lionel Messi is now a slight favourite in bwin’s World Cup 2022 top scorer odds after drawing level with Kylian Mbappe ahead of the final.
The Argentina legend took his tally to five by netting with a fine penalty strike in La Albiceleste’s 3-0 defeat of Croatia in the semis.
He heads the betting at 14/1 respectively.
Messi has failed to score in only one of his six starts, although three goals have come from the spot.
The emphatic penalty effort versus Croatia was his 11th World Cup goal in total and took him above Gabriel Batistuta’s 10 as Argentina’s record scorer at the tournament.
He needs one more to equal Pele’s tally of World Cup goals, while Sunday’s final appearance will see him surpass Germany’s Lothar Matthaus’ record of 25 appearances.
One omen in Mbappe’s favour is that he bagged a brace when France beat Argentina 4-3 at Russia 2018, whereas Messi failed to score.
However, Les Bleus boss Didier Deschamps said: “Messi has been in scintillating form since the beginning of the tournament, four years ago things were different of course.
“He actually played as a centre-forward against us, which caught us by surprise, whereas now he is in tandem, just in behind the centre-forward.
“He is picking up the ball a lot and he is running with it and looking in great form.
“He is one of the best players in the world and he has shown that, so of course we are going to try and counter Messi’s threat and stop him influencing the game – and Argentina will try and stop the influence of some of my players.”
Mbappe must rediscover touch
Mbappe has scored twice on two occasions and one of his two blank games was as a 63rd-minute substitute in the defeat by Tunisia.
With nine goals over two tournaments to his name, the 23-year-old has already moved ahead of Pele for most World Cup goals scored before the age of 24.
In the absence of Karim Benzema, there was more focus on Mbappe and he responded by netting in a 4-1 defeat of Australia before scoring both goals in a 2-1 victory against Denmark – including an 86th-minute winner.
With a last-16 game against Poland still in the balance, he grabbed a double in the last 16 minutes to make things safe and at that point was a short-priced favourite for Golden Boot glory.
However, Mbappe drew a blank against both England and Morocco, which has opened the door for PSG teammate Messi to close the gap.
Manchester City striker Alvarez has been one of the break-out performers at Qatar 2022.
He started out as a substitute behind Lautaro Martinez in the pecking order for Argentina but netted on his first start against Poland and then again versus Australia.
The 22-year-old hit a double in the semis, the first being a fine solo effort and the second teed up by a moment of magic from Messi.
Giroud’s four strikes have helped him surpass Thierry Henry as France’s record scorer and the AC Milan ace will be looking to make the most of his aerial prowess against Argentina.
Join bwin today and receive up to £20 money back as a FreeBet if your first wager (3+ selections at odds of 1/2 (1.5) or greater) is a loser! Terms and conditions apply.