The 2018 World Cup Final

    15 Jul 2018 | World Cup | Preview
    The 2018 World Cup Final

    The 2018 World Cup final will be played on Sunday 15th June at the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow.  The game will be contested between two European nations for the third time in the last four tournaments, highlighting the dominance of European teams at recent World Cup competitions.

    As France meet Croatia, it will be the fifth time in the last six World Cup finals that a team from Europe has lifted the trophy.  Will it be the French or the Croatian players who are celebrating wildly come the final whistle?

    France started their 2018 World Cup campaign in Group C, along with Australia, Peru and Denmark. The French were forced to work hard for a 2-1 win over Australia, with a late deflected goal being the difference between the two teams.  There was not much to choose between the sides in their meeting with Peru but a single goal from Kylian Mbappe was enough to split the teams.

    With France through and Denmark happy to settle for a point, their final match in the group ended 0-0.

    France were paired with Argentina in the Round of 16 and Mbappe was the star as they ran out 4-3 winners.  It was the young forward who earned a penalty for his team to open the scoring in the first half and created his own space to score and give his team the lead in the second half.  An additional goal from Mbappe gave France the cushion they required to win the game 4-3.

    Into the quarter-final and France had little trouble in seeing off Uruguay 2-0.  Goals from Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann gave France the win and a place in the semi-final against Belgium.  In what was a good, close game, France came out on top thanks to headed goal from Samuel Umtiti at a corner.

    France looked threatening going forward and defended their lead very well, showing two sides to their game.

    Croatia were drawn in a tough group and did superbly to finish top. The wins over Nigeria and Iceland were good but the 3-0 victory over Argentina is what stood out.  Croatia were excellent and scored some good goals, including a delightful curling effort from Luka Modric and it was this performance which gave them the belief they could do something big in Russia.

    The knockout stages proved tough and they were forced to come from behind to ultimately defeat Denmark on penalties in the Round of 16.  The draw was kind and presented them with Russia in the quarter-final.  Again, the match went to penalties following a 2-2 draw and Croatia prevailed.

    Into the semi-final against England and an early free-kick saw Croatia fall behind and they were on the back foot for much of the first half.  However, their confidence grew in the second half and Ivan Perisic equalised and saw an effort come back off the post.

    With penalties seemingly looming once more, Mario Mandzukic popped up with the winning goal in the second half of extra-time.

    Croatia struggled in the early stages of the game but outclassed England on the ball in the second half and for much of extra-time.

    Looking ahead to the team news and France have no suspension or injury concerns.  They are likely to play with the same starting XI from the semi-final, with Kylian Mbappe their star performer.

    Croatia have no suspension worries but do have some fitness issues ahead of the final.  Mario Mandzukic and Luka Modric were forced off in extra-time and will be hoping to recover full fitness in time for Sunday.

    There is little doubt the two best teams from the semi-final have progressed to the final.  However, tiredness could be a problem for Croatia, having played extra-time in each of their three knockout games.  France have had an extra day to recover and this could be the telling factor which sees them win the World Cup for a second time.

    Predictions for World Cup

    Home team - Away team Tip
    flag_89 WC
    FranceCroatia
    15/07/2018 16:00
    X
    flag_89 WC
    BelgiumEngland
    14/07/2018 15:00
    1
    flag_89 WC
    CroatiaEngland
    11/07/2018 19:00
    X
    flag_89 WC
    FranceBelgium
    10/07/2018 19:00
    2

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