Saturday, February 23, 2019

Prediction: France vs Croatia

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 11/8

Bookmaker: 888sport

Perennial dark horses Croatia have already achieved historic success by reaching the World Cup final in Russia but will now look to go one step forward against a team which denied them a place in the final two decades ago when the Vatreni finished third in the world.

They are in for a tough ride, however, against a high-flying French side which boasts a highly talented side which has yet – it would appear – to hit the top gear.

France

The manager of the French national team Didier Deschamps wore a captain’s armband in 1998 when Les Bleus beat Croatia on their way to the World Cup glory. Twenty years later, he is once again locking horns with the Vatreni, in a different – more challenging role.

Widely criticised for his team selection and tactical choices, Deschamps still managed to prove he’s the right man for the job by guiding the boundlessly-talented French side to the World Cup final. Having been denied the opportunity to climb the European summit in their own backyard, the French are now determined to make an even bigger step forward and reach the top of the world. Les Bleus have been slowly building momentum throughout the competition in Russia and will be heading into the final as firm favourites to lift the trophy despite some criticism they faced following the semi-final clash against Belgium. Deschamps was accused of anti-football and of deploying a defense-minded style which in the end suffocated the Belgians. Tactics aside, the end result is what matters the most and that’s all the French players will think about as they head into the biggest match of their lives.

Team News

Deschamps will have almost a full crop of players to choose from with the exception of Blaise Matuidi.

The Juventus midfielder suffered a rib injury after a collision with Eden Hazard and is likely to be left out of the squad, which could be a significant blow given his top-notch performance against the Red Devils.

Croatia

With little over 4 million residents, Croatia is the smallest country to have ever reached the World Cup. the Balkan nation rode the wave of optimism, self-belief and togetherness throughout the tournament and is deservedly in the final, fighting for the coveted trophy.

The Vatreni boasts an experienced squad, filled with world-class quality in the likes of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, whereas the budding prospects of Ante Rebic, Marcelo Brozovic and others complement the squad perfectly. Dalic’s men have long waited for another chance to show their true colours to the world after the third-place finish back in 1998. Having already written history by qualifying for the final, the Vatreni want to take it a step further and send a clear message for all of those who underestimated them. Croatia are a force to be reckoned with and France will be very much aware that this team came back from behind not only once in this competition which is a strong proof of their relentless mentality. They will fight until the end and we should be in for a highly exciting match at Luzhniki Arena.

Team News

Perisic and Strinic are suffering from muscle and groin problems, respectively, and could end up missing the final.

Nikola Kalinic has previously been sent home after refusing to come in as a substitute during a group stage match.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Ivan Rakitic played more games (70) than any other player this season
  • Marcelo Brozovic ran 16,339 m vs England and set the World Cup record
  • Kylian Mbappe completed the total of 23 successful dribbles in Russia
  • France is unbeaten in last 10 matches in all competitions
  • Last two meetings between the two sides ended in draw

Conclusion

A whole month of scintillating football action boils down to this single moment in time where both France and Croatia have a chance to write history. France are shooting for their first World Cup title since 1998 whereas the perennial dark horses Croatia are hoping to beat the odds and crush the favourites to what would be their first-ever World Cup title. More than enough to hope for a brilliant game in Moscow.

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 11/8

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerPredictions


SHARE OR COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE

WE RECOMMEND

Leave a Reply

avatar
 
smilegrinwinkmrgreenneutraltwistedarrowshockunamusedcooleviloopsrazzrollcryeeklolmadsadexclamationquestionideahmmbegwhewchucklesillyenvyshutmouth
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Live Scores

advertisement

Betting Guide Advertisement

advertisement

Become a Writer
More More
Top