France defeated Belgium 1-0 to punch their ticket to the Final. Croatia had to come from behind in extra time to defeat England 2-1. This was Croatia’s third straight extra time match in a row. They defeated Denmark in the round of 16 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 tie after extra time. They then saw off hosts Russia 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 after extra time in the Quarter Final. It again took them extra time to defeat England. So how much does Croatia have left in the tank for the final? Does this give France the advantage since they won all their matches in regulation time?
France has the second youngest team in the Tournament, yet they are in the final. They are the only pre-tournament favorite still left standing in the World Cup. Germany, Spain Argentina, Brazil and Portugal all left early. Germany in the group stage. Head Coach Didier Deschamps is expected to not change a plan that is working for the final. France want to not repeat the mistakes that saw them lose the 2016 European Championship final in their own country. The French team is led by veteran striker Olivier Giroud, who wants to emulate the hero of the 1998 team that won the World Cup Zinedine Zidane.
The last line of defense for the French team is Hugo Lloris on the best Goal Keepers in Europe who plays for Tottenham in England. He made some amazing saves in the Tournament including a wonder save against Uruguay to keep a clean sheet and send France to the semis.
Croatia’s strength is its midfield lead by Real Madrid star and Captain Luka Modric. He is joined by Ivan Rakitic who plays for league rival Barcelona, Ivan Perisic and Ante Rabic. These four players form the engine that drives this Croatia team, that could give France all kinds of headaches. Croatia has yet to lose in the Tournament. Modric is in the running for the Golden Ball given to the best player in the Tournament.
So will young French Phenom Kylian Mbappe make a difference in the game? He became one of the youngest players to score a brace in the World Cup. Olivier Giroud has yet to score a goal in the Tournament could this be his opportunity?
Croatia has played more minutes than France, so is this a disadvantage in the final? Or will they pull off a miracle and win the World Cup? Head Coach Zlatko Dalic was only hired in October, he did not even sign a contract. So could he lead his Men to the promised land and hoist one on the most coveted trophies in Sport.
Will 90 minutes decide this match or will we have to endure another extra time and Penalties? Can France live up to their pre-tournament hype as favorites and bring it home to Paris?