France vs Croatia Preview

France vs Croatia

Competition – FIFA World Cup Final 2018

Stadium – Luzhniki Stadium

Date: 15th July 2018

Kick-off time – 16:00 GMT

France have reached the finals 3 times in the last 6 major competitions while Croatia are in their first ever World Cup final after reaching the semifinal of France 98.

France went through their group stage in an unconvincing manner, but they turned on the style when they reached the knockout stage.

After beating Argentina 4-3 in the round of 16 they have not looked back.

They played Uruguay in the quarterfinals and eliminated the previously unbeaten South Americans 2-0 to set up their semifinal game against Belgium.

With so many attacking talents on display it was France’s defensive solidity that helped them win the game 1-0 thanks to a Samuel Umtiti header at the back post.

Les Bleus have the chance to make amends for their Euro 2016 final loss, but they face a Croatia team who have been defying the odds from the beginning of this competition and who also know how to score scrappy goals – it will be interesting to see how this game plays out.

Croatia needed the playoffs to qualify for the World Cup.

It is obvious that they have the players to beat any team in the world, however, inconsistency has stopped them from achieving success for a long time.

In this World Cup, Zlatko Dalić’s men have been consistent even though they have been close to crashing out in each of their knockout games.

Croatia’s went through a tough set of knockout fixtures to reach this final.

They played Denmark and Russia before meeting England in the semifinals.

In their semifinal against England, they went a goal down inside three minutes and England continued to press them relentlessly throughout the first half.

However, the Croatians came out for the equalizer in the second half and got it after the English defence failed to deal with a cross for the first time in the match.  It was all Croatia from that moment on.

They went on to score again in the second half of extra time and avoided a third consecutive penalty shootout in as many games.

Having gone through extra time in all of their knockout games, one may question if this Croatian team will be able to withstand France for 90 minutes.

These two national teams have previously played each other five times – France has won three of those matches, while the other two resulted in a draw.

Bookmakers believe France will lift the 2018 FIFA World Cup – they are currently trading a shade odds-on while goal market trading suggests this will be a tight, low-scoring affair.

Possible starting lineups:

France

Lloris
Lucas
Umtiti
Varane
Pavard
Kante
Pogba
Matuidi
Griezmann
Mbappe
Giroud

Croatia

Subasic
Strinic
Vida
Lovren
Vrsaljko
Perisic
Kramaric
Modric
Rakitic
Rebic
Mandzukic

Results of each team’s last 5 matches across all leagues and competitions

France

LAST FIVE GAMES DATE COMPETITION
W France 1-0 Belgium 10 Jul, 2018 FIFA World Cup
W Uruguay 0-2 France 6 Jul, 2018 FIFA World Cup
W France 4-3 Argentina 30 Jun, 2018 FIFA World Cup
D Denmark 0-0 France 26 Jun, 2018 FIFA World Cup
W France 1-0 Peru 21 Jun, 2018 FIFA World Cup

Croatia

LAST FIVE GAMES DATE COMPETITION
W Croatia 2-1 England 11 Jul, 2018 FIFA World Cup
W Russia 2-2 Croatia 7 Jul, 2018 FIFA World Cup
W Croatia 1-1 Denmark 1 Jul, 2018 FIFA World Cup
W Iceland 1-2 Croatia 26 Jun, 2018 FIFA World Cup
W Argentina 0-3 Croatia 21 Jun, 2018 FIFA World Cup

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