France will take on Croatia in the WC 2018 final, the game all 32 competing nations dreamt about. The showpiece event in Moscow will be watched by millions around the world and will top off a remarkable month of football that has created many memories. And, for either France or Croatia, it could be the best moment in these players professional lives if they land the prestigious trophy.
France head into the game as favourites and it’s easy to see why. They have beaten some top sides on their way to the final; Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium in the knockout rounds in what was perceived to be the much tougher side of the draw. In all three games they’ve shown a range of different qualities, from the explosive pace of Kylian Mbappe to the agility of Hugo Lloris in goal. As well as that, Raphael Varane has been a star in defence and N’Golo Kante terrific in midfield, whilst several others probably deserve a mention too. They are a squad packed of quality that should relish the big occasion.
Meanwhile, Croatia have had an easier route to the final on paper but it wasn’t any less dramatic. They required penalties to overcome Denmark and Russia before seeing off England in extra time. The fact they’ve played an extra 90 minutes over France in the last three games could be telling but it highlights the fight and togetherness in the squad that they’ve continued to emerge victorious at each stage.
Here we will give you France vs Croatia betting tips, look at where the game will be won, the key players and a France vs Croatia prediction for the final.
Our France vs Croatia Prediction: France 2-0 Croatia
Our France vs Croatia prediction tips is for a tight game in which France will ultimately prevail to win the WC 2018 and their first in 20 years.
Despite the huge array of attacking options that Didier Deschamps has, this is a French side that is methodical, pragmatic and comes across as playing in second gear at times. Yet, when they really need to, as was the case against Argentina, they can turn on the style and with Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann in attack you’re always going to get opportunities.
As well as that, they’ve been extremely solid defensively, with Varane probably the best defender in the tournament and Kante intercepting and preventing attacks before they start. Therefore, we think that the French will win this game even if Croatia have more than enough about them to cause trouble. Whilst the midfield three of Ivan Rakitic, Marcelo Brozovic and Luka Modric is as good as any, at both ends of the pitch France look superior and that should make the difference in what will be a close match.
Our recommended tip – France to win
Given that, out recommended bet would be a staight up France win. Not only do they have more quality in defence and in the final third, they will also be fresher.
Many thought that the successive extra time games before they played England would catch up on Zlatko Dalic’s men but they emphatically dismissed that by growing as the game went on. However, it could still be a factor in Moscow. They’ve played effectively one more game than France in the knockout rounds and Les Bleus have an extra days rest on them from the semi-finals.
In tight circumstances it’s those small margins that can make a difference and with doubts over the fitness of Ivan Strinic and Ivan Perisic then this could be a Croatia side that are nowhere near at peak fitness, whereas France looked sharp mentally and physically last time out and have great depth off the bench if needed.
The clash in Moscow will be just the sixth meeting between the nations and it’s a game that France have dominated, winning three and drawing two of the previous five encounters. The most memorable of those wins came back in France ’98 when the hosts beat Croatia 2-1 in a semi-final with the Croats of today already taking about getting revenge for that.
As for their performances, France took a while to get going but really hit their stride in recent games. They got seven points from the group stage but didn’t really impress, however they were magnificent in the thriller against Argentina before coming through very tough tasks against Uruguay and Belgium without conceding a goal. The way they have managed the games and defended leads has been very impressive and they will be confident of winning the WC 2018.
For Croatia, they’ve arguably gone the other way. Their outstanding match this tournament came when they comprehensively beat Argentina 3-0 in the group stage that sent out a real message. Since progressing, they needed penalties to overcome Denmark and Russia, in what was two average performances from Dalic’s side. Then, they were very poor in the first half against England although in fairness they picked it up and deserved to win in the end.
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Players to watch – Kylian Mbappe & Dejan Lovren
The France youngster was already a world star after making his mega-money move to PSG from Monaco but he has really shone in this WC 2018. His unbelievable pace, dribbling and coolness in front of goal has seen him cause havoc to the opposition and his display against Argentina was superb. Despite his age he has established himself as the main man in this side going forward and will be the one that Croatia are worried about.
For Croatia, if they are to win then they will need to defend well and all eyes will be on Liverpool’s Lovren after his recent claim that he is one of the best defenders in the world. It highlights the confidence he currently he has and the former Lyon man has had a fine World Cup, but he will be tested in a variety of ways today, from Mbappe running in behind to Griezmann’s movement and Giroud’s strength. Whilst Modric could hold the key to opening up France, Lovren will need to stop them if they’re to pull off a huge win.