All eyes will be at the Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday evening when France take on Croatia for the most sought after prize in football — the FIFA World Cup trophy.
The mouthwatering clash will by and large be a bout of efficacious sparring, as the two European sides bid to be crowned the new world champion.
France advanced into the final after eliminating firm favorites Belgium by a solitary goal, while Croatia needed an extra time strike by Mario Mandzukic to book their ticket to the Moscow showdown.
Although it was expected to be a cagey exchange between two of the most in-form European teams, it was the Belgian Red devils that began the match on full throttle, often calling the French defense to question with the attacking threat of Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard.
Didier Deschamps’s charges however refused to be upstaged, as they turned the tide on its head with a goal through Samuel Umtiti six minutes after the break. The game continued to be played on the edge, although the pre-eminence of Les Bleus’s dominance was quite evident, seeing as they were now in the driving seat.
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The Manchester United duo of Romelu Lukaku and Maroune Fellaini ended up being closely marked in the encounter, proving ineffective with the attacking chances coming their way often few and far between.
The match by all accounts had all the elements and rudiments of being the cup final, its only blemish being the abject time wasting by the French team towards the tail end of the encounter.
Croatia on the other hand made a predictably slow start, as they yet again found themselves chasing the game – this time against Gareth Southgate’s side. The Three Lions made a dream start having scored the opener through a Kieran Trippier free kick; a goal from whence they gained a decisive foothold in the contest.
The Croats however turned the tide, first equalizing through Ivan Perisic before grabbing the tie by the scuff of the neck through Mandzukic. It was a largely engrossing match, although the English will feel apprehensible for not creating enough chances having registered a paltry shot on target in the entire length of the match.
France vs. Croatia betting predictions
Extra poignancy has been added to the 2018 FIFA World Cup final, as it comes two decades after France lifted their first and only World Cup trophy on home soil, and two years after they lost the European Cup to Portugal.
The current French team can ill afford slumping against Croatia, having felt the agony of being nearly but not quite.
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France & Croatia recent results
France 2-1 Australia (June 16, 2018)
Antoine Griezmann 58′ (P)
Aziz Behich 80′ (OG)
Mile Jedinak 62′ (P)
France 1-0 Peru (June 21, 2018)
Kylian Mbappe 34′
Denmark 0-0 France (June 26, 2018)
France 4-3 Argentina (June 30, 2018)
Antoine Griezmann 13′
Benjamin Pavard 57′
Kylian Mbappe 64′, 68′
Angel Di Maria 41′
Gabriel Mercado 48′
Sergio Aguero 90+3′
Uruguay 0-2 France (July 6, 2018)
Raphael Varane 40′
Antoine Griezmann 61′
France 1-0 Belgium (July 10, 2018)
Samuel Umtiti 51′
Croatia 2-0 Nigeria (June 16, 2018)
Oghenekaro Etebo 32′ (OG)
Luka Modric 71 (P)
Argentina 0-3 Croatia (June 21, 2018)
Ante Rebic 53′
Luka Modric 80′
Ivan Rakitic 90+1′
Iceland 1-2 Croatia (June 26, 2018)
Gylfi Sigurdsson 76′ (P)
Milan Badelj 53′
Ivan Perisic 90′
Croatia 1-1(3-2) Denmark (July 1, 2018)
Mario Mandzukic 4′
Mathias Jorgensen 1′
Croatia 2-1 England (July 11, 2018)
Ivan Perisic 68′
Mario Mandzukic 109′
Kieran Trippier 5′
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