The wait is over and the stage is set for the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. After two thrilling semi-final games, France and Croatia face off in what promises to be the game of the tournament. Barring a dull draw with Denmark, the French side are in ruthless form. The Croatians beat the fancied Argentinian team in the run-up to the finals, which is no mean feat. Here are the talking points of the most crucial game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The Les Bleus prefer to start with Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud, supported by Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann. While Giroud’s form is a concern, Mbappé has lit up the tournament with his exciting partnership with Griezmann. The Croatians, also called Vatreni, depend on the services of Juventus forward Mario Mandžukić and Ante Rebić upfront. Watch out for a keen tussle between Mbappé’s sizzling pace and the Croatian defence.
The French midfield has the tenacious trio of Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi and N’Golo Kanté. Pogba operates mainly as a central midfielder and does not shy away from taking shots at goal. Matuidi and Kanté are known for their strong tackling and passing abilities. Croatia has Ivan Perišić, an attacking midfielder, supported by Ivan Rakitić, Marcelo Brozović and Luka Modrić. Most games are won in the midfield, and both teams will want to dominate these areas.
Benjamin Pavard, Raphaël Varane, Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Hernández form the formidable French defence. With an average age of 23, the back four can blunt any opposition. Captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is considered one of the best goalkeepers in the world right now. Ivan Strinić, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida and Šime Vrsaljko are the last line of defence for goalkeeper Danijel Subašić. The Croatian team have won two matches on penalties and will be wary of their sometimes shaky defence. Especially since they face the lightning fast Mbappé.
The French team has an enviable bench strength. Barcelona striker Ousmane Dembélé and Florian Thauvin are called up regularly to bolster the attack. Thomas Lemar and Steven Nzonzi are two of the finest midfield players around. The Croatians bank on Andrej Kramarić and Mateo Kovačić to come in and score quick goals if need be. Tin Jedvaj and Vedran Ćorluka shore up the Croatian defence.
France is looking for their second trophy while the Croatians are hungry to make a statement on an international level. Watch the action unfold in this explosive finale of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.