Well, this is the game that the whole tournament has been developing. The final of the World Cup. Unfortunately, there will be no participation from Gareth Southgate's Three Lions, but this still has the qualities for a good game.
France has had a slow but skilful performance throughout the tournament, doing the job without, with the exception of a 4-3. beat Argentina – any real fireworks. Les Bleus will be the firm favorites for this game as well, since Croatia could be said to be the weakest of the four teams that have had to face in the playoffs.
Croatia, meanwhile, saved the best until the end, found an extra team against England and deserved winners at the end. They probably need to find another team besides that to win this tie, but as England learned, they are a team that should not be underestimated.
Certain performances on the side of Deschamps have left the fans wanting, to the point that they were booed after their 0-0 draw with Denmark in the group stage . In addition, they only achieved narrow and lackluster victories against Australia and Peru, which generated serious doubts about their potential.
Les Bleus did everything possible to defeat Lionel Messi and Argentina in the round of 16 against two more professionals, but a bit of vitiated victories over Belgium and Uruguay.
It means that we really do not know what to expect from the French. They certainly have a plethora of offensive talents and expressed their ability to use that with four goals against Argentina. Without leaving anything to reserve energy, Deschamps can leave his team free to run riots on the Croats and turn them into the team to beat for future tournaments.
Or, more likely, you could continue with your astute approach that has achieved much success.
Croatia, meanwhile, began brilliantly with comfortable victories over Nigeria and Argentina in the group stage to ensure progress with a game to spare. However, they seemed terribly long out of the group, and worked for a 1-1 draw with Denmark.
Advancing on penalties, his next game was also all the way with Croatia conceding a draw to the final against host Russia. Croatia planned another penalty win, but it seemed less than impressive in the elimination bouts, and many expected a lush team from England to take them down.
However, the Croats demonstrated their quality with an expert performance, even after suffering disappointment. an early goal. The heads did not fall and gradually improved as the game progressed, controlling the play from half time forward.
This time it was Croatia with the last goal in extra time when they sank in England to advance to their first race. End of the World Cup.
The face-to-face comparison is not pleasant for the Croatian fans, as they had never beaten the French before. The last two meetings of the parties ended in draws, including the last competitive meeting: a 2-2 draw in the group stage of Euro 2004.
Croatia lost the three previous meetings, especially in the semifinal of 1998. World Cup that France went on to win. The current manager of France, Didier Deschamps, was the captain of his nation on that day, as they were left without winners 2-1 to establish a memorable final in their homeland.
Croatia took the lead in that game with the national icon Davor Suker scoring the opening goal just after halftime. Lilian Thuram equalized for France a minute later and went on to tie a double in the 70th minute when France advanced to their first and only World Cup title to date.
France (4-2-3-1): Lloris, Pavard, Umtiti, Varane, Hernandez, Pogba, Kante, Mbappe, Griezmann, Matuidi, Giroud
Croatia (4- 1-4-1): Subasic, Vrsalijko, Lovren, Life, Strinic, Brozovic, Rebic, Modric, Rakitic, Perisic, Mandzukic
As England discovered, a fairly conservative Croatian formation can quickly become in an attacker 4-3-3 when they are looking for goals. The power for them is in that talented midfield, and they will seek to dictate the rhythm and control the game from the middle of the park.
The problem for them will be to knock down a stiff defense from France, Mario Mandzukic has been a great striker over the years, but he has never been known for his cunning or agility. Between Paul Pogba and N & # 39; Golo Kante, France also has a dominant midfielder duo that will make things very difficult for Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.
They have the ability to dominate the midfield and that will really disturb Croatia's game plan, while Mandzukic Samuel Umtiti and Raphael Varane will not be happy as sole strikers.
It is difficult to imagine that Croatia believes many or no possibilities if it deploys its standard formation, because it is a plan apparently completely surpassed by the French approach. . With Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann at the counter, France will have a great goal threat.
Mbappe was the talk of the last round and is the favorite to take home the Golden Ball, it will be a shoo-in for that with a good performance here. Do not underestimate the Croats, but according to all calculations, this should be a fairly simple triumph for France.
Prediction: France 2-0 Croatia