England’s World Cup dreams were shattered on Wednesday night – Croatia were the better side and deserved their spot in Sunday’s final.
Zlatko Dalic’s men will go up against France in Moscow and neutrals will be hoping for a close contest. Unfortunately for the Croatians, it might not pan out that way.
France, currently 4/9 to lift the Jules Rimet Trophy at the Luzhniki Stadium, were criticised by some for their defensive-minded performance against Belgium but Les Bleus will take no notice of the haters.
Didier Deschamps’ men will be quietly confident of emerging victorious on Sunday afternoon; they would be worthy winners.
The Euro 2016 runners up stuck to their game plan and it worked perfectly. Frustrating the likes of Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne was France’s primary objective and Hugo Lloris was a man mountain between the posts.
Expect N’Golo Kante to keep a close eye on Luka Modric throughout Sunday’s encounter.
In attack, France are blessed with quality – with the exception of Olivier Giroud. The Chelsea man has yet to register a shot on target this summer but Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe can fire Les Bleus to victory.
The latter is currently 17/20 to be awarded the Golden Ball for his efforts in the tournament and he could play a key role in the final.
Griezmann hasn’t had the best of tournaments but the Atletico Madrid man could step up to the plate on Sunday.
Valued at 7/4 to get his name on the scoresheet, punters will be expecting a big effort from Griezmann here. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the France star lead his side to glory on the biggest stage of all this weekend.
Croatia are no slouches though and they deserve their spot in the final. The better team in Wednesday’s semi-final for 70 minutes, Croatia will now look to come up with a game plan to stop this French outfit.
Luka Modric, the best central midfielder in world football, is key to their aspirations and he is a 2/1 chance to win the Golden Ball – a Croatia success may give him the edge over his rivals.
Ivan Perisic has been simply sublime this summer; sparking more rumours of a big money move to Manchester United.
First and foremost, he will be looking to help his side win the World Cup for the first time though and Perisic is 13/2 to get his name on the scoresheet. For what it is worth, his 4/1 price to receive a yellow card is also worth a look.
Sensational against Argentina, Croatia can be devastating and France will be wary of a shock onslaught. Dalic’s side are not as assured defensively but Les Bleus cannot afford to leave themselves exposed at the back.
It probably won’t be remembered as one of the most entertaining World Cup finals of all-time but it should still be fascinating.
With an extra day of rest, France may be slightly fresher and Deschamps’ guys will not panic if this one goes the distance.
Les Bleus have not gone beyond 90 minutes this summer whilst Croatia have played 120 minutes on three separate occasions. Punters fancying a tight clash can back the draw at 9/4.
For me though, I think France will be too strong. Les Bleus look destined to avenge that Euro 2016 defeat to Portugal in the best possible way this summer and it would take a brave man to back against them.
Defeat on Sunday should signal the end of Deschamps’ reign in charge but France are primed to step up and prove themselves on the biggest stage.
The 13/8 for France to win to nil should be snapped up. With four clean sheets in their last five matches, Les Bleus have been very strong defensively and Croatia may struggle to break them down.
Correct score-wise, France have enough quality to bag a couple of goals and the 2-0 is worth a strong look at 7/1.
TIP: France to win to nil @ 13/8
CORRECT SCORE: France 2-0 Croatia (Priced at 7/1 with 888sport)
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*