Croatia has already made history, and now it is looking to turn the football world on its head. The Croatians have been the story of this World Cup, somehow eclipsing their incredible run back in 1998, with their first-ever appearance at the finals. To claim their place in immortality, they will have to knock off the toughest foe they have faced to this point though. France has looked very sharp as well throughout the World Cup, and it’s not a fluke that Les Bleus have reached this point.
The most anticipated sporting event in the world comes around once every four years, so don’t miss any of the 2018 World Cup. This match will take place at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, July 15, 2018. Catch every moment of the match live on FOX.
World Cup Final Betting Odds at BookMaker.eu
France deserves to be a decent-sized favorite in the final considering how they have played to this point. The Group Stage didn’t present many problems for the French, and they have looked strong throughout the knockout rounds despite being drawn into the considerably tougher bracket.
They started off their run with a better than it looked 4-3 victory over Argentina in the Round of 16 that exposed the world to Kylian Mbappe. That was followed up with a comfortable 2-0 win over Uruguay where Hugo Lloris made one of the saves of the tournament late in the first half to make sure that France kept the clean sheet. Their 1-0 win over Belgium in the semifinals wasn’t aesthetically pleasing, but they were able to defend well to make the final.
Croatia continues to amaze us with their gritty performances. After going 3-0 in the Group Stage, the team has needed extra time in order to advance to each subsequent round at the World Cup, gaining admirers along the way.
In the Round of 16, Croatia and Denmark played a mostly lackluster game that Croatia was eventually able to win in penalties. Penalties were again in the offing against Russia in the Quarterfinals, with the Croatians ousting the hosts. That led to a date in the semifinals against England where they didn’t need penalties to get the job done.
Despite falling behind early, Croatia turned up the pressure 15 minutes into the second half, eventually leading to an Ivan Perisic equalizer. Perisic and the rest of Croatia had numerous other opportunities to finish the game in regulation, but instead it went to extra time. There, Croatia continued to harass England until Mario Mandzukic fired home the game-winner in the 109th minute.
Matchup to Watch
Throughout the tournament, Croatia has been paced by its midfield. Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric have been the two stars, with Perisic upping his play over the last few weeks as well. They have been able to stop their counterparts in their tracks and have created just enough offense to continue to advance.
They will have their hands full against a fluid French attack. Paul Pogba is the player they will look to shut down the most, but they must also keep an eye on Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann.
Player to Watch
It’s been a crazy tournament for Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic. Subasic has come up big in two penalty shootouts for his home country, and he has been able to play through pain too. He visibly cramped up against Russia in the Quarterfinals, and he seemed a bit limited in the Semifinals against England. However, he continues to do what it takes to help his team win. Subasic was a bit out of position on Trippier’s opening goal, but he responded well and shut England out the rest of the way.
Free Soccer Betting Pick
At this price, I’m going to back Croatia to complete the dream. This team is more than battle-tested at this point, and they will have three full days of rest prior to the World Cup final on Sunday. Rakitic will be paramount with his ability to break up attacks, and that will give Croatia the most improbable World Cup win ever.
World Cup Finals Odds: Croatia 1, France 0
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