France v Croatia Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews
July 12, 2018
Luzhniki Stadium - World Cup Final
France face Croatia in the World Cup final, with France in their first World Cup final since 2006 - and Croatia in their first one ever.
These two have drawn their last two meetings, 0-0 in 2011 and 2-2 in 2004 - with Milan Rapic and Dado Prso and David Trezeguet on target - alongside an Igor Tudor own goal.
Didier Deschamps has a fully fir squad to pick from ahead of the final - and he is not expected to make any changes from the starting XI that beat Belgium 1-0 in the semi final, with Ousmane Dembele remaining on the bench.
Croatia arrive in the final a little battered and they will have to assess a number of injuries before Zlatko Dalic decides on his team to face the French. Full backs Sime Vrsaljko and Ivan Strinic are both major injury doubts - with Vedran Corluka and Josip Pivaric on standby.
Mateo Kovacic and Andrej Kramaric are both also in line to start for the Croatians, who have come through three periods of extra time to reach the final.
France v Croatia Preview and Predictions
France saw off Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium in the knockout rounds to reach the showdown in Russia - with their best form coming in the business end of the competition, following criticism of the group stage performances. Deschamps has harnessed defensive organisation with the creative talents of Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann as the French look to win the biggest prize in world football for the first time since they lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy on home soil in 1998.
Croatia proved their doubters wrong in the semi final against England, making light of claims that they would be tired against Gareth Southgate's team, with another extra time victory - after penalty shoot out wins over Denmark and hosts Russia.
The feeling is that France will have a bit too much for Croatia, despite the experience and quality of their opponents, with Mbappe and Griezmann beginning to set the tournament alight as it approaches its conclusion - and Deschamps team are at 19/20 to win inside 90 minutes.
However despite the strength of France, Croatia have proved themselves to be a particularly tough nut to crack, and they have taken three sides to extra time in Russia.
With that in mind, France may have to face an extra 30 minutes of action to win - but they are priced at 17/2 to win the game in extra time.
France to win 2-1 at 10/1
With the attacking talent on display for both sides, there should be goals, but it is unlikely to be a goal fest - and could take extra time to settle it. Croatia have proved their endurance in the knockout stages, but this is their biggest test so far, with France having a much more difficult route to the final.
Kylian Mbappe to score first at 5/1
The PSG striker needs four goals to overhaul Harry Kane in the Golden Boot race, but he will play a key role in the final. He has lit up the World Cup with his pace and goal scoring exploits driving France all the way to the final, and he will concern a Croatia defence that struggled against the pace of Raheem Sterling.