2018 World Cup: France vs Croatia prediction

France have reached their third World Cup final in the last six tournaments whilst Croatia will be making their debut as the 13th-ever finalists on Sunday.

Didier Deschamps’ side have looked excellent at the back in keeping a clean sheet in 2-0 wins over Uruguay and 1-0 over Belgium in their last two games en route to the final.

Their 4-3 victory over Argentina represents 75% of the goals Hugo Lloris has shipped in Russia this summer, with a Mile Jedinak penalty in their opener being the other.  Both Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti could make the team of the tournament at centre-back, whilst Benjamin Pavard could also be selected at right-back, they’ve been that good.

Croatia have played 90 minutes of football more than France heading into the final and their semi-final that went to extra-time was also played 24 hours after France had reached the final.  However, Zlatko Dalic’s side certainly looked like they had the more energy than opponents England in extra-time on Wednesday.

Aside from an excellent defence France are also very good going forward.  Kylian Mbappe is the favourite for the Golden Ball award whilst Antoine Griezmann is still having a productive tournament, at least from set pieces, despite playing very deep in open play.

Olivier Giroud hasn’t had a single shot on target despite playing 425 minutes – what are the odds he scores the winner?  He’s been useful in taking up defenders and bringing defenders into play though.

Croatia have a very talented midfield and a good striker in Mario Mandzukic but I just think Deschamps and France have had all the answers to opposition attacks in the past two games (Luis Suarez, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne etc.) that they’ll find a way to shut Croatia out too.

What’s more, the underdogs have conceded exactly one goal in each of their last four games and none of them have been against any of the top nations – Iceland, Denmark, Russia and England.  I am going with the bookmakers’ favourites in this one.

Best bet: France to win is 1.99 with Betfair
Dead cert: France to lift trophy is 1.46 with Betfair

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