The final of the FIFA World Cup for 2018 will take place between France and Croatia at the impressive Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
What’s their current form?
France cruised into the knockout stage, albeit via fortunate first round win against Australia, where an own goal by the Socceroos in the final 10 minutes handed the French a 2-1 victory. They they did enough to beat Peru 1-0 before holding Denmark to a scoreless draw. They then had a highly entertaining and great quality battle with Argentina, scoring a 4-3 victory. Kylian Mbappe bagging two goals in the space of 5 minutes got his side home. France then toppled Uruguay 2-0 in the Quarters. In the Semi Final, they came up against the impressive Belgium side who hadn’t lost any of their previous 24 games. France though were stoic in defence while slotting the only goal of the match in the 51st minute through Umtiti.
Croatia dominated their group, winning all 3 games, opening with a somewhat fortunate 2-0 victory over Nigeria. They then blitzed the highly fancied Argentina 3-0 in a stunning second half, before scoring a 90th minute goal to beat Iceland 2-1. Denmark and Croatia were at 1 all after just 4 minutes, but neither side could pull away. Croatia won 3-2 after penalties. They were again forced to a shoot-out in the Quarter final with host nation Russia, prevailing 4-3. They somehow fought back after conceding a goal in the 5th minute to England in the Semi, by equalising in the 68th minute thanks to Perisic and then just as extra time was about to end the game in a draw, Mandzukic bagged the match winning goal.
France: Lloris; Mendy, Varane, Rami, Pavard; Kante, Pogba, Tolisso; Mbappe, Lemar, Griezmann.
Croatia: Subasic; Vrsaljko, Corluka, Lovren, Vida; Badelj, Rakitic; Rebic, Modric, Perisic; Kramaric.
Any interesting facts I should know?
Croatia have been in two shoot-outs and an extra time game, while France has advanced in regular time in all 3 of their knockout matches.
What should I be betting on?
France are big favourites here. Croatia has played 3 longer and emotionally demanding games than France in the knockout stage and could take its toll in the second half.
The world continue to write off Croatia but they are just one step away from creating history. The Wolf tipped us Croatia pre-tournament at $36 and says he will make cevapi a daily meal for the next month if they lift the trophy! They have been fantastic throughout the entire tournament and have progressed to the final despite conceding first in each of their three knockout matches. All three went to extra time but The Wolf says not to buy into any suggestion that they are fatigued. This is a World Cup final!!! As we saw in the semi’s, players will succumb to injury before they get fatigued. Croatia biggest task will be getting past the stingy French defence. They have maintained 4 clean sheets in their last 5 matches and held out Belgium – the tournaments highest scoring team. Varane and Umtiti have been superb in the air while Kante has grabbed every scrap available. Mbappe and Griezmann provide width and speed which could mean trouble for Croatia – especially if injuries play their part. Perisic may miss out with a thigh injury and that would leave a large hole in Croatia’s attack. Irrespective, they still have the duo of Modric and Rakitic who have been phenomenal. They played England off the park in the second half and have the ability to move the ball with pace and accuracy. Goals have been few and far between in World Cup Finals. Under 2.5 goals is 6-1 dating back to 1990 with the last three all going to extra time. The last two matches between them have ended in a draw and with Croatia showing a remarkable amount of fight, The Wolf is predicting extra time yet again!
TV channel, kick-off time, betting odds, tips, live stream and team news
What time is kick off? The game starts at 6pm (local time) on July 15. In Australia, kick-off will be at 1am on July 16th.
What TV Channel is it on and can I live stream it? In Australia, the only network with live broadcast rights is SBS. SBS Radio will also cover games that aren’t broadcast. Optus Sport in Australia will broadcast every game live as well via live streaming, however it will be available to subscribers only.
What’s the team news and who’s injured? Both sides come into this match injury free.
Who’s the referee? Not yet announced.
What happened the last time they played each other? There have been 5 games between these two sides, with France winning the first three in 1998 (2-1), 1999 (3-0) and 2000 (2-0). The two games since have both been draws; 2 all in the UEFA Euro Championship in 2004 and 0 all in 2011.