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France vs Croatia
2018 FIFA World Cup Final, July 16. Fulltime
|Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow|
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France have won their second World Cup, beating Croatia by two goals in a highly entertaining affair.
The French were provided some luck early in the first half when the VAR was brought into play to award them a penalty after a handball in the box.
It came after goals each way, but from there, it was all France during the early going of the second half.
Les Blues would put on another two goals in quick time, making it three-one and then four-one, with only a Croatian consolation goal giving them a little bit of hope late in the contest.
The final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup is here! France will go in as heavy favourites when they take on tournament surprise packet Croatia in Moscow. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 1am (AEST).
France, who won their only previous World Cup in 1998, were always one of the favourites to make the finals and after a difficult run through the knockout stage, they will be primed for a second.
It’s hard to say the French have looked like world beaters at times during this World Cup though. They started things off pretty poorly despite finishing top of their group against Australia, Denmark and Peru.
The round of 16 match saw them go past a struggling Argentina 4-3. It wasn’t a bad performance by France on the attacking end, but there were serious concerns raised around their defence. They haven’t let a goal in over their last two wins against Uruguay and Belgium though, so they’d like to think the defensive issues have been corrected.
If they do flare up though, Croatia will be ready to take full toll, given their attacking weapons across the pitch.
The Croatians haven’t lost a game across the entire tournament, beating Iceland, Argentina and Nigeria during the group stage before getting the better of Denmark and Russia both on penalties.
Those two games in the round of 16 and quarter-finals respectively may concern the Croatians a little bit, but their ability to score after being scored on has been impressive, yet not unsurprising with Luke Modric cutting things open out of the attacking midfield.
If he finds enough space, he could shred the French defence and put plenty of pressure on Hugo Loris in front of the French goal across the course of the match.
Croatia were much better in their semi-final when they beat England 2-1, causing another upset to move to what will be the biggest match in the nation’s history.
For France, it’s Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann who appear to hold the keys to success and getting goals on the board against Croatia who have only let in five goals across their six games.
France are undoubtedly favourites here. Croatia, as they have done to all of their opponents, will make them work for it, but the French should have enough to get over the line.
France 2 – Croatia 1.
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