It’s been a while since the world saw a surprise entry in the World Cup final as Croatia prepare to face France in a bid to secure what would be their first ever World Cup trophy.
The Croats’ dream run to this World Cup was highly commendable as they battled against Denmark, the hosts Russia, and a strong and physical English side in the knockout stage. Their hopes were meagre before coming to Russia as the nation had never reached a World Cup final before. But they stood firm since the start when they triumphed against Nigeria, Argentina, and Iceland thus topping the group with maximum points.
Moreover, they scored 7 goals and conceded just once against the Icelandic side which added further glamour to their surprise run in the World Cup.
France, on the other hand, had a quiet but satisfactory performance in the group stage. They opened their World Cup campaign against a feeble Australian side in a game they won 2-1. They went on to face Peru and Denmark where they beat Peru 1-0 and had a goalless draw against the Danish side in their last group match to secure a safe spot to the knockout stage.
The French side saw a brutal Argentinian team in the Round of 16 where they escaped a narrow 4-3 victory against the South Americans who never let the French sit comfortably during the whole match and were leading 2-1 at a moment in the second half.
Antoine Griezmann scored for the French side from the spot-kick followed by a ferocious volley from Benjamin Pavard and a brace from their young talisman, Kylian Mbappe. The team faced another South American side in the quarter-final, i.e. Uruguay who missed their stout forward, Edinson Cavani due to an injury.
The French side stood victorious with a stellar 2-0 performance thanks to Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann who found the net and took their team to a semi-final against one of the favourites, Belgium. Samuel Umtiti was the sole goal scorer against the rigid Belgian side when he scored in the 51st minute which was enough to take France to the World Cup final after twelve years.
The stage is all set in Luzhniki, Moscow where the two European nations will meet on 15th July. Although France are highly favourites for the final, the Croatian side have a very high possibility to do an upset as their outlandish performance in the World Cup has proved that. Furthermore, it will be an emotional day for the Croats due to their controversial history as the country was once in shambles and the terror and war surrendered the nation.
Players to watch out for:
Luka Modric is perhaps the best player in this tourney so far with his sublime performance and his energetic runs throughout the pitch. He scored a stunning goal against Argentina in the group stage and has been a key figure for his team. He has shown a sumptuous set of prominent moves in the World Cup and was widely involved in Croatia’s magical run in Russia.
Kylian Mbappe is one of the youngest players on the French side. He is only 19, and yet he has been a phenomenal asset for the France side. The last time France won the World Cup in 1998, this lad was not even born. He has scored three goals for his team so far in the World Cup and is the joint top scorer of his team along with Antoine Griezmann.
Apart from Modric and Mbappe, Raphael Varane and Hugo Lloris have also been in a similar form in the tournament as the former has stood austerely in the defence and the latter made some crucial saves between the poles to keep French hopes alive in the World Cup. The Croats too have some promising men on the field in the form of Ivan Perisic, Ivan Rakitic, and Mario Mandzukic. They’ve carried the weight of their team on their shoulders in a laudable manner along with their captain, Luka Modric.
The whole world will turn its eyes on Moscow on 15th July 2018 where France will contest for their third cup final in their last six World Cups and Croatia will set their feet in their first ever World Cup final. Whatever the result it will be, the match will be highly interesting as the two sides have some wonderful and threatening attackers.