As we come closer to the business end of the FIFA World Cup 2018, lets have a detailed look at it.
Tomorrow’s final will be the 21st final of the FIFA World Cup. The match will be held at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, on 15 July 2018 at 8:30 pm IST. It will be contested by France and Croatia. The winners of the World Cup will qualify automatically for the 2021 FIFA Confederations Cup.
The match is the third World Cup final for France. They first appeared in the 1998 final as hosts, winning 3–0 against reigning champions Brazil. France also contested the 2006 final, where they lost to Italy in a penalty shoot-out following a 1–1 draw. Only Germany (eight) and Italy (six) have reached more finals among European nations. Didier Deschamps became the fourth person to reach a World Cup final as both a player and as a manager, after Franz Beckenbauer, Rudi Völler and Mário Zagallo.
The match is the first World Cup final for Croatia in their fifth World Cup appearance. They are the 10th European country and 13th overall to reach a World Cup final. And the first new finalist since Spain in 2010. Croatia is the second smallest country to play in a World Cup final with a population of 4.3 million, behind Uruguay (winners in 1930 and 1950). Croatia’s previous best performance as World Cup debutants was in 1998. They finished in third place, losing 2–1 to hosts France in the semi-finals. Before beating the Netherlands 2–1 in the third place play-off.
Last meetings of the two sides
This final is the sixth meeting between France and Croatia. France is undefeated in the previous fixtures with three wins and two draws. The two sides first met in the 1998 World Cup semi-final, with hosts France winning 2–1. Their only other competitive meeting was during the group stage of Euro 2004, which finished as a 2–2 draw. Their next and most recent meeting was in a March 2011 friendly match, which finished as a 0–0 draw.
Route to the final
Argentine referee Néstor Pitana will lead the officiating team for this final. The final is Pitana’s fifth match as referee during the tournament, becoming only the second referee to officiate the opening match and the final.
France’s key players for the final
Mbappe and Griezmann will be the key players for France. Mbappe is in red hot form. His sprints are impossible to control for any defender at the current moment. And Griezmann will control the attacking third for France.
Croatia’s key players for the final
Modric and Rakitic will be the key players for Croatia. If Modric gets hold of the midfield, then the whole team will play well automatically. Modric and Rakitic have been in superb form throughout this tournament. And they are expected to control the game for the Croatians from the midfield with their key passes.
France look strong on paper. They have the perfect mixture of youth and experience. But Croatia is this year’s darkhorse. It is the last oppurtunity for their golden generation to lift the World Cup. We can except to see something special from the Croatians. So our pick is CROATIA for this final.