Theatre of Dreams: Sporting immortality beckons for France and Croatia

16 July, 2018, 06:37 | Author: Kristine Mills
  • World Cup 2018 Final: Pogba speaks on France vs Croatia match

France have shut out all the euphoria back home over their run to the World Cup final in order to play a flawless match against Croatia on Sunday, France captain Hugo Lloris said.

Didier Deschamps' team are firm favourites to win Sunday's showpiece in Moscow and become world champions for the second time - 20 years after their first triumph in 1998.

France have been surprised by the physical fortitude of Croatia and are not expecting a exhausted opponent in Sunday's World Cup final, midfielder Blaise Matuidi said on Friday.

France defender Samuel Umtiti celebrates after scoring the decisive goal against Belgium in their World Cup semi-final in Saint Petersburg.

Deschamps' team is loaded with talent for the final - his squad boasts some of the top players in the world and is well-represented throughout Europe's top leagues - but they still aren't the continent's best when it comes to reaching major tournament finals, trailing both Germany, with 14, and Italy, with nine.

Here's a look at how each team made it through the six games leading up to Sunday's final.

France and Croatia started their paths to the World Cup final similarly, needing a little help from their foes and officials to get their first wins. And yes, that includes France's first and only in 1998.

"Croatia's players have gained experience with their clubs, and they have been playing together for a while".

World Cup 2018 Final: Pogba speaks on France vs Croatia match

World Cup 2018 has been Kylian Mbappe's coming-out party.

This match saw a nervy France pick up an unconvincing win as Kylian Mbappe scored the goal of the contest.

However, the winger was denied by an extraordinary fingertip save from Hugo Lloris and, when Pogba and Mbappe both beat a strangely motionless Subasic to put France three goals clear, the game was up.

The World Cup 2018 has been full of drama, not to mention fantastic soccer, including two intense one-goal games in the semifinals.

After winning all three group games, outclassing Argentina, they have beaten Denmark and Russian Federation on penalties and defeated England in extra-time in the semi-finals. But they also go into the clash after three tense and tiring extra-times, two of which they won thanks to a penalty shootout. They finally gave out.

She said what makes this year's team great is their leadership, faith and hard work along with their coach, Zlatko Dalic, who's expertise has taken them a long way. "It will be a match they will be ready for and I don't think extra time or penalties has been or will be a handicap for them".

Matuidi will play on the left of the midfield, tracking back while Griezmann stays forward, in a system that can fluently switch between 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1, with Mbappé on the right wing.

More news: Croatia's World Cup coach clings to the rosary as he finds success

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