France have made it to the finals of the World Cup in Russia, thanks to a late goal from Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti, that was enough to see them defeat the dark horses Belgium.The very next day we had England locking horns with Croatia for the final spot.  Kieran Trippier scored an amazing goal from freekick and the entire nation went berserk. “World Cup is coming home” slogans could be heard all over the internet. But things changed in the second half.  Ivan Perisic scored a karate kick goal followed by a Mandzukic header that made the Croatians reach the final and get a date with the in-form French team.

 

Details about the final:

 

When:     Sunday, July 15th. 11:30 pm (IST).

Where:  Luzhkini Stadium, Moscow, Russia.

 

We are going to have a new defending champion and it could be a first-time champion. Croatia will look to better their third-place finish in 1998 with a win over France and grab the elite trophy.  France on the other hand, will look to keep the nightmares of Euro 2016 final and win this time.

 

THE FRENCH JOURNEY

 

France making it to the final did not come as a surprise, as they were considered favourites right from the start.

 

They started in Group C with Denmark, Peru and Australia and was heavy favourite to top the group, which they did. They won over Peru and Australia and drew against Denmark. They met Argentina in the round of 16 clash and won in an exciting 4-3 match. Cavani-less Uruguay lost to France followed by the dark horses Belgium, thus paving way for their final berth in the competition.

 

THE CROATIAN TALE

 

Croatia had a tough group. Put into group D, very few would have thought that they would go ahead of Argentina as table toppers. They won 3-0 over Argentina in their second match and people should have duly noted what this team is capable of. But they did not.  Croatia have won the group win a total score-line of 7-1. Croatia moved past Denmark in the round of 16 on the basis of penalties. The same script followed when they faced hosts Russia in the quarterfinals. The score was 2-2 after extra time and Croatia won on penalties despite their star keeper Danijel Subasic suffered hamstring injury late in the match.  Then this very team crushed the dreams of England in the semi-final and progressed to the final showdown.

 

THE FRENCH SNIPER

There are lots of star players in this French side but the one player you should be paying attention to is Kylian Mbappe. He’s only 19 and has three goals in this World Cup so far. He is someone who is very dangerous in transition from normal gameplay to quick counterattack, as he can fly down the field quickly. The Croatian defence have quite a task in hand.

 

CROATIAN CREATOR

 

You guessed it right. That would be Madrid man Luka Modric.  He has scored two goals in the tournament but he is more of a goal creator. He is best at creating chances that that players like Ivan Perisic and Mandzukic can rely on. Whenever the team is looking to create a scoring chance, this guy has the ball at his feet, making the defence look like mere spectators. Raphael Varane will be smart enough to warn his fellow defenders of the threat this man can pose.