France vs Croatia preview, betting tips and prediction
It all comes down to one night in Moscow…
France and Croatia have made it, and not everyone believed they would. The World Cup final is the absolute pinnacle of footballing excellence, and though neither side, particularly the latter who have reached this stage for the very first time in their history, were universally fancied to go all the way, it is impossible to say they don’t deserve it. France have arguably the best young squad in the world right now, and after missing out on Euro 2016 on home soil, losing in the final to Portugal, they will be extra motivated. Quotes attributed to one of their quiet stars of the summer, Paul Pogba, suggest their heads weren’t quite in the right place two years ago, but as the Manchester United star said, they will not make the same mistake twice.
From Croatia’s point of view, this may be seen as a free hit. As a team who have surpassed their previous best of a semi final appearance at France ‘98, where they were beaten by the hosts and next opponents, their success is already guaranteed, but this team will sense history. It is the last hurrah for the ‘golden generation’, with the likes of Luka Modric, a favourite for the Ballon d’Or, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic all unlikely to play in the World Cup in Qatar. The latter pair scored the goals to complete a comeback against England in the last round, but it was Modric who, quietly and gradually, stole the show. They could potentially give France’s midfield of Blaise Matuidi, N’Golo Kante and Pogba a run for their money, but the experience and quality of Les Bleus should see them lift the World Cup for the second time ever.
Once again, our goalscoring tip is Kylian Mbappé at 12/5 anytime. The teenager has grown from talented prodigy to world class superstar in a matter of weeks and most definitely has the temperament to shine on the biggest stage of all. He may not have scored in the semi final against Belgium but he ran the show and is certainly a contender for the Golden Ball.
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