- All of Croatia’s knockout matches at the World Cup have gone to at least extra time
- This will be France’s third appearance in the World Cup final in six World Cups
- Croatia have never beaten France
So, this is it, the World Cup final is here. After a month of glorious World Cup football that has exceeded most people’s expectations, the tournament comes to a close on Sunday. France and Croatia will vie it out on Sunday in the Luznhiki Stadium in Moscow to lift the biggest football trophy of them all.
France are definitely favourites and their performances in the knockout stages of the World Cup have been fantastic.
Their ability to adapt to different situations has been particularly impressive and this will stand them in good stead for the final. They look strong, hungry and always capable of scoring a goal. In short, they look like champions in the making.
Croatia’s road to the final has been altogether different, a bit of a bumpy one. They needed penalties to beat Denmark in the last 16 and to beat Russia in the quarter-finals and overcame England through a 109th minute goal by Mario Mandzukic.
Physically, you would think that France will be in a far stronger position considering Croatia’s exploits, and that is not to mention the extra day of rest France will enjoy before the final. France’s talented side have a huge opportunity to win the World Cup, and we think Le Bleu are firm favourites to do so.
At 888 Sport, France are currently 10/11 to win in 90-minutes and 4/9 to win the match. Croatia are 18/5 to win in 90 minutes and 37/20 to win the match. These odds are indicative of how we see the contest.
Here are some World Cup final bets we like the look of:
- 3-1 France win is 20/1 at Mansion Bet
- Kylian Mbappe is 21/5 at Mr Green to score the first or last goal
- France to win by two goals is 17/4 at Bethard
- 8/1 on Antoine Griezmann to score and give an assist at Unibet
- Ivan Perisic to score is 9/2 at Comeon
Betting Tips For France V Croatia
Nobody expected Croatia to be in the position they find themselves in. They have stumbled their way through to the final but the grit, determination and resilience they have shown has been tremendous. Their semi-final performance showed real strength of character as they came from behind to beat a confident England side.
Croatia began the tournament with a comfortable 2-0 win against Nigeria which was followed by a fantastic 3-0 victory over one of the tournament favourites, Argentina. They finished top in the ‘group of death’ with maximum points after they triumphed over Iceland 2-1.
In the round of 16, Croatia were lucky to beat Denmark on penalties in a match they were outplayed in. They faced hosts Russia in the quarter-finals, again winning on penalties in a dramatic match.
Their best performance in the knockout stages came in the semi-final against England where after a poor start to the match, they took control for large swathes of the match, getting a deserved 2-1 victory after extra time.
France have reached the final for the second consecutive major international tournament. Le Bleu will be desperate to make amends for their loss on home turf in Euro 2016. France started the tournament in shaky fashion, scraping to one goal victories against Australia and Peru and playing out a goalless draw against Denmark.
In the knockout stages, France moved up a couple of gears playing the type of football befitting of their talented squad. A hugely entertaining 4-3 victory against Argentina was followed by a comfortable 2-0 win against the tough opponents of Uruguay.
In the semi-finals, France churned out a very professional performance to overcome Belgium 1-0. Now, just one more match stands between France and World Cup glory for the second time.
Our prediction is a France win by 1 or 2 goals. France’s energy, creativity and ruthlessness looks to be a step too far for the Croatians, who have done remarkably well to get to the final. The French should be fresher too having played significantly less football than Croatia in Russia.
Still, Croatia have exceeded expectations and their resilience cannot be denied. Croatia have looked beaten many times during the tournament, but they are team that refuse to be defeated.
If Croatia can frustrate France and shut them out heading into the latter stages of the match, Croatia could create some chances. Nonetheless, our money is definitely with France.
Head To Head Statistics
Croatia have never beaten France in five meetings, with the French winning three of those matches. The most memorable clash was the semi-final of the World Cup of 1998.
Two goals from French right back Lilian Thuram gave hosts France a 2-1 victory in this match, and they went on to win the World Cup for the first time.
France’s Recent Form
- France 1-0 Peru
- Denmark 0-0 France
- France 4-3 Argentina
- Uruguay 0-2 France
- France 1-0 Belgium
Croatia’s Recent Form
- Argentina 0-3 Croatia
- Iceland 1-2 Croatia
- Croatia 1-1 Denmark (Croatia win 3-2 on penalties)
- Russia 2-2 Croatia (Croatia win 4-3 on penalties)
- Croatia 2-1 England AET
Who Will Score For France?
Didier Deschamps is the first French coach to reach two major finals
France have no confirmed injuries heading into the final with coach Didier Deschamps having a full squad to choose from. We expect the France captain of 1998 to select the same team that was successful against Belgium. Blaise Matuidi is one possible question mark after he received a suspected concussion in the semi-final against Belgium.
Olivier Giroud was rather disappointing in the semi-final, but we think the forward will keep his starting place. Antoine Griezmann will be probing and pulling the strings just behind Giroud and looking to add to his tally of three World Cup goals. The energy in midfield from Paul Pogba and Ngolo Kante is likely to be key in Moscow.
The star man for France at this World Cup has been teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe whose pace, creativity and dribbling has terrified defences in the competition. The 19-year-old has been exceptional, and the stage looks set for him to drive France to victory, achieving World Cup stardom before his 20th birthday; quite remarkable.
Expected France Line Up:
- GK: Hugo Lloris
- DF: Benjamin Pavard
- DF: Raphael Varane
- DF: Samuel Umtiti
- DF: Lucas Hernandez
- MF: Ngolo Kante
- MF: Paul Pogba
- MF: Blaise Matuidi
- FW: Kylian Mbappe
- FW: Antoine Griezmann
- FW: Olivier Giroud
Who Will Score For Croatia?
Only Davor Suker has scored more goals for Croatia than Ivan Perisic at the World Cup
Croatia’s players will be feeling the strain of three consecutive 120 minutes of football but for a World Cup final, no player will be letting the pain stop them from playing. Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic doesn’t have any fresh injury concerns heading into the final. Dalic’s main decision will probably be whether to start Andrej Kramaric or Ante Rebic.
Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic are the two midfielders pulling the strings for Croatia, and they will need to get hold of the ball if Croatia are to be successful. Modric particularly was instrumental in the second half and extra time against England and the classy Real Madrid man can unlock the France defence if he is given time on the ball.
Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic are two other players who can cause France problems. Perisic was a thorn in England’s defence in the semi-final and he is likely to be a tricky customer for young French right back, Benjamin Pavard.
Expected Croatia Lineup:
- GK: Danijel Subasic
- DF: Sime Vrsalijko
- DF: Dejan Lovren
- DF: Domagoj Vida
- DF: Ivan Strinic
- MF: Marcelon Brozovic
- MF: Ivan Rakitic
- MF: Luka Modric
- MF: Ivan Perisic
- FW: Mario Mandzukic
- FW: Andrej Kramaric
Will There Be Penalty Or Red Cards?
In a World Cup final, the pressure and tension will be huge, and this could lead to some rash decisions by both sets of players. We think that a penalty or a red card is a distinct possibility.
Some of Vrsalijko’s and Lovren’s tackling against England was a little wild to say the least, and against a team as pacey and tricky as France, those kinds of challenges are likely to be seen again.
If you are looking to place a bet in one of these markets, our tip is to bet on a Croatia red card.
The World Cup final kicks off at 16:00 UK time on Sunday. Can Croatia cause a huge shock and lift the World Cup for the first time? Unfortunately, we just cannot see it happening and fully expect France to lift the World Cup for the second time in their history.