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How To Understand Who Is Stronger - France or Argentina?


How To Understand Who Is Stronger – France or Argentina?



The eternal debate is how xG is indicative.

Argentina will face France in the 2022 World Cup final today. Both teams were considered among the favorites of the tournament, but which one is stronger?

There are a lot of indicators by which teams can be compared. The most elementary – for goals scored/conceded in the tournament. In this regard, France is slightly ahead with a difference of +8, because Argentina has +7. Here you need to take into account the level of rivals, but visually they are quite comparable.

Argentine rivals:


Saudi Arabia (1:2)


Mexico (2:0)

Poland (2:0)

Australia (2:1)

Netherlands (2:2, 3:4 – on penalties)

Croatia (3:0).

France’s rivals:


Australia (4:1)

Denmark (2:1)

Tunisia (0:1)

Poland (3:1)

England (2:1)

Morocco (2:0).

It turns out the goal difference: 13:5 for France and 12:5 for Argentina. If we take, for example, shots on goal, then France also has a slight advantage (85-80). You can go further and look at the expected goals (xG) – an indicator that evaluates the chances created at the gate, but it is important to make a reservation here.


For the past five years, xG has been used regularly to evaluate the performance of teams. True, all this time, disputes about how indicative this method is do not stop. It has an obvious minus – xG evaluates only the blows themselves. If we take a conditional lumbago along the gate, when the attacker flew in centimeters at the far post and almost closed the serve, this is not taken into account, although the moment is most dangerous.

Still, looking at xG makes perfect sense. If only because, as a rule, scoring chances still end with blows. Even if you can’t say that about the Moroccans’ match in the semi-finals. Among football fans, there are many people who, in principle, do not perceive xG as a serious indicator, but at the same time, one of the factors can take into account the difference in shots. This looks extremely strange, because xG is the difference in punches, only improved. The distance to the goal, the position of the goalkeeper, the presence of blocking defenders, the working leg and other nuances are taken into account.

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So, according to the expected goals, the finalists are approximately equal. FBref gives 11.6 expected goals for France and 11.8 for Argentina, who went into extra time once. But if we take into account the allowed xGA, then the difference is great. Argentina’s six opponents scored only 2.4 goals. While the French had to concede 6.7 goals. If you look at the difference between created xG and admitted xGA, then it turns out:


Argentina: +9.4

France: +4.9.

In terms of 90 minutes, it turns out +1.57 goals for the Argentines and +0.82 goals for the French. If we take the data not from RBref, but from the xG philosophy, which thinks a little differently, then the lag of the European team is even more obvious:


Argentina: +10.3

France: +4.54.


And it’s still the Moroccans did not beat from excellent positions!

Does all this prove that Argentina is the favorite? Absolutely not. A sample of six matches is not enough. However, it can be assumed that Messi’s team holds a particular tournament more solidly. At least there is statistical evidence for this.

Interestingly, according to bookmaker quotes – absolute equality. It is rare when you see that two teams have the same odds for victory.

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