And then there were two. 63 games filled with drama, intrigue, set-piece goals and surprise results have determined our finalists: France and Croatia. There is a distinctly 1998 feel to this World Cup Final, evoking more than a few memories of the global finals which saw France emerge victorious on home soil two decades ago. This France vs Croatia game will be full of stars, skills and creative game play.
Vatreni will be out for revenge from their final four defeat against Les Bleus back in 1998. The then debutantes were denied a place in a maiden Final by Lilian Thuram’s only international goal. In France vs Croatia, France will be looking forward to their captain in the Final that followed that semi-final victory just over 20 years ago is their good luck charm at the Luzhniki Stadium. Didier Deschamps could become only the third man – after Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer – to lift the Trophy as a player and coach, if he can replicate from the dugout the successful Final he had against A Seleção in 1998. Take a look at France’s previous clash, click here.
Despite the deep connections to the past, these sides are very much living in the here and now. France were functional and firm against Belgium to see off the Red Devils 1-0 in Tuesday’s semi-final. Meanwhile, Croatia needed extra time – for the third consecutive game – to defeat England at the Luzhniki on Wednesday. Can in today’s France vs Croatia, Croatia go one better than their heroes of ’98 – or will it be Deschamps’ day once again in world football’s biggest game? The globe will be watching, and impatiently waiting for an answer. Take a look at Croatia’s previous clash, Click here.
If the next step is the most beautiful, it’s the most difficult one too. French players, who still have the sour taste of the UEFA EURO 2016 final defeat against Portugal in their mouth, logically appeared much focused this week in Istra. But still, they didn’t lose their relaxed nature and have said they will prepare this final as a normal match. To be world champions, Les Bleus will have to win the physical challenge imposed by the Croatians in France vs Croatia match. As the world saw against England, they will be dangerous until the very end. But France have already shown how solid they can be. May the best team win!
No one expected Croatia to be here. But Vatreni deserve their place in this glorious, magical finale. And they will not be tired, for sure. Just ask England. This despite the fact that Croatia have now played a full 90 minutes more than France. If Croatia can clear one more hurdle, they will make history. This ‘golden generation’ led by Luka Modric, will not be overawed by the fact they are simply in the final. Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Rakitic have already scored goals in past UEFA Champions League finals. Zlatko Dalic‘s team are one step away from immortality. And they are well aware of that.
Did you know?
The last Final not decided after extra time or penalties was 16 years ago, back in 2002 with each of the last two World Cup finals finishing 1-0 after a goal in extra time. The last player to score a goal in the regular 90 minutes of a World Cup Final was Marco Materazzi, for Italy against France in 2006.
France: Hugo Lloris; Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez; Paul Pogba, Ngolo Kante; Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Blaise Matuidi; Olivier Giroud.
Croatia: Danijel Subasic; Sime Vrsaljko, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic; Ivan Rakitic, Marcelo Brozovic; Ante Rebic, Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic; Mario Mandzukic.
WHERE TO WATCH:
A World Cup final is never boring. It is “THE BEST VS THE BEST”. It is the ultimate glory, the dream of a lifetime for every player. This match would be worth-remembering for football fans all over the world. Catch live action on Sony LIV (https://www.sonyliv.com/ ) at 8.30 p.m.