FIFA World Cup 2018 is finally set to come to an end when the winner is crowned today. France is chasing their second crown in their third final appearance. Le Bleus won it in 1998 when they hosted the tournament. Croatia has surprised everybody by reaching the final this year. They were not even among the favorites to reach the semi-finals but now they can win it for the first time in their history.
The road to the Final
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 15, 2018
France won their group with 7 points to book a round of 16 tie against Argentina. Didier Deschamp side had not impressed in the group stage because they had only won 2-1 and 1-0 against Australia and Peru. However, when it mattered, they rose to the occasion to beat Lionel Messi side 4-3. In the quarterfinals, they destroyed Cavani-less Uruguay 2-0 to reach the semis. Le Bleus biggest test so far was against Belgium in the last four. The Red Devils were in top form after eliminating favorites Brazil. However, Samuel Umtiti goal decided the tight match and Roberto Martinez dreams were shattered.
France and Croatia have only met once before at the #WorldCup, in the semi-finals of 1998…
Will France be World Champions once again, 20 years later? Or will Croatia lift the World Cup for the first time in history #WorldCupFinal
— FIFA Museum (@FIFAMuseum) July 15, 2018
Croatia has not been lucky in Russia showdown so far. They have fought for everything so far and they deserve to be in the final. The biggest game for Modric and his teammates came early in the tournament against Argentina. They smashed them 3-0 to leave the South Americans hopes hanging by a thread. They went on to beat Iceland 2-1 to make three wins out of three. A top spot in their group meant they were going to face Denmark in the round of 16. They won it via post-match penalties and did it again in the last eight against Russia. England was threatening to end their campaign with an early goal but they came back for the fourth time in the tournament to win it 2-1.
The two teams are expected to select their strongest first eleven and there are no injuries to report. This is how we expect them to line-up.
France- Team likely to be selected
Lloris, Hernandez, Umtiti, Varane, Pavard; Pogba, Kante; Matuidi, Griezmann, Mbappe; Giroud.
Croatia- Team likely to be selected
Subasic, Pivaric, Vida, Lovren, Vrsaljko; Brozovic, Rakitic, Modric; Perisic, Manduzkic, Rebic.
France Coach Didier Deschamps
ON THIS DAY: In 1998, Didier Deschamps captained France to their first ever World Cup win.
27': ⚽️ Zidane
45+1': ⚽️ Zidane
90+3': ⚽️ Petit
20 years on, he's managing them in another. pic.twitter.com/i8x7S27rQH
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 12, 2018
“We have given ourselves this huge privilege of reaching the final of the World Cup and I was there two years ago, it was so painful that we really want to taste the semi-final victory. It is not nothing to win the semi-final of a World Cup after losing the Euro final.”
“It is a pleasure and a privilege to be here and I will tell my players there is nothing more beautiful for a player than the World Cup final. But I will say three important words: stay calm, have confidence and concentrate.”