One of the best World Cup tournaments in living memory draws to a close in Moscow this weekend. European nations France and Croatia battle it out for the most coveted trophy in world football. Here is your World Cup final preview: France v Croatia.
France v Croatia: Who Will Be New Champions?
Both sides have had excellent tournaments. France were among the early favourites for the cup, their performances so far have justified that view. Croatia were tipped to be a dark horse so their achievement to get to the final is not all that surprising. France will be looking to win their second ever World Cup trophy on Sunday while Croatia are looking to win their first.
France had the tougher route to the final. They played and beat Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium in the knockout rounds. Croatia had the perceived “easier route”. They beat Denmark, Russia and England. However, all three games went to extra time and two went to penalties.
Key Men For France
The French have had many stand out stars this tournament. The team of the tournament is likely to be littered with French players. The team has no real weak point. Kylian Mbappe is an obvious star of the team.
The 19-year-old has been the break out star of the tournament. Despite being widely acknowledged as world class prior to the competition, the PSG star has taken that extra step tp now being discussed alongside Ronaldo and Messi. His pace and power will likely be a difference maker.
At the other end of the pitch, goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris has really stepped up this tournament. There has been talk that the Spurs man lacked the character of mental strength to still perform at the top level.
This tournament has silenced all that talk and he is among the favourites to be named as goalkeeper of the tournament. His saves have been vital to this sides success so far.
Key Men For Croatia
The Croatian midfield is among the best in football. The rest of the squad may not have many stand out stars, but having two Champions League winners in the middle of the park as well as one on the bench is a huge boost for the Balkan nation.
Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric is the stand out star for Croatia. The former Tottenham midfielder could find himself with a Ballon d’Or award should Croatia win on Sunday. Modric provides calmness and stability in the Croatian midfield and his skill and class will need to be evident if Croatia stand a chance against their European rivals.
France v Croatia: Prediction
France head into this game as heavy favourites. Croatia returns home as national heroes regardless of the result. Prior to Sunday, their best ever finish in a World Cup was third, in 1998. The underdog tag may suit the Balkans nation as France are very much expected to win this game.
The two sides are at completely opposite sides of the age spectrum with this game viewed as Croatia’s golden generations last chance while the French squad is relatively young. However, the Croatian defence is a real cause for concern and the French attack will likely instigate a mistake.
The French defence has been solid all tournament while Croatia are very light in attack. Croatia have also played over 90 minutes more than France this tournament as a result of every one of their knock out games going to extra time. This will likely cause fatigue.
Prediction: France 2 Croatia 0
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