Big Match Breakdown: France v Croatia
Odds, tips and preview for World Cup Final
After four weeks of intense competition, 32 teams have become two and 736 players have been whittled down to 46 as France take on Croatia in the World Cup Final.
Les Bleus are making their third appearance in the tournament showpiece after overcoming Uruguay, Argentina and Belgium in the knockout rounds.
Croatia have endured three periods of extra-time to reach their first major final, most recently seeing off England in Moscow on Wednesday night.
The Coral News Team are all ready for what should be a belting encounter. And for one final time this tournament, you can get the lowdown on it all with a Big Match Breakdown.
France and Valtreni have gone head-to-head on five occasions since their first meeting in 1998. Current Les Bleus manager Didier Deschamps was the captain that night as his side won through to a World Cup Final on home soil with a 2-1 victory.
Subsequent encounters have produced two further French victories, with the most recent pair of matches resulting in draws. Hugo Lloris, Blaise Matuidi, Vedran Corluka, Dejan Lovren, Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic were all involved when the sides last met in 2011.
It should be as you were for France, who are unlikely to make any changes from their semi-final triumph over Belgium. Olivier Giroud will once again spearhead the attack, with Blaise Matuidi, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe all in behind.
Zlatko Dalic also has no new injury concerns and should stick with the same XI that saw off England. Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Strinic and Sime Vrsaljko are all expected to start after overcoming minor niggles and knocks. Luka Modric once again provides the impetus in the middle of the park.
Can the Croatia defence cope with the pace and trickery of French starlet Mbappe? If they can’t, the 19-year-old could have a field day. Dejan Lovren, one of the world’s best defenders by his own admission, will have his work cut out. Indeed, it’s the pace and youthful energy of France which is likely to cause Croatia the most problems.
The outsiders will once again be looking towards the midfield pair of Modric and Ivan Rakitic to try and pick the French lock. Combined with the trickery of Perisic and persistence and wiliness of Mandzukic, they should cause problems.
What the game essentially boils down to is experience v youth. The latter should be able to overcome the former, but as Croatia showed against England, you can’t take anything for granted.
Unsurprisingly, Les Bleus are also odds-on to win the match inside 90 minutes at 10/11. You can back the draw at 11/5, with Valtreni priced at 19/5.
Tournament finals are traditionally a low-scoring affair. The last two have both contained just a single goal, while only one since 1986 has had more than two goals. It’s 4/9 for there to be Under 2.5 Goals tonight, with Both Teams to Score – No, marked up at 6/10.
Centre-halves have broken the deadlock in France’s last two matches. You can back Raphael Varane to Score First at 22/1. Mandzukic is the 3/1 favourite to Score Anytime for Croatia, with Modric priced slightly longer at 5/1 Anytime.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing