World Cup 2018: France vs Croatia Preview, Team News, Head-to-Head & Key Stats
Croatia started off their World Cup final in impressive fashion as they defeated Nigeria 2-0 in their opening fixture. The next match saw the Croatian midfield dismantling the Messi-led Argentinian side as they scored 3 goals to earn a 3-0 victory over their South American counterparts. The third match saw Croatia defeating islanders Iceland 2-1 to secure the top spot in their group.
The knockout stages witnessed the determination of this Croatian side as they won their first knockout match on penalties against Denmark after a 1-1 draw in normal time. The quarterfinals saw Croatia yet again winning on penalties after they drew 2-2 against Russia in normal time.
The semi-finals against England saw Croatia playing their third successive extra time match as they came from behind to secure a 2-1 victory over England courtesy of extra time goal by Mario Mandzukic helping them to their first ever World Cup final.
France started off their World Cup campaign in nitty-gritty fashion as they defeated Australia 2-1 in the opening fixture to register their first win of the tournament. The second match saw France toiling yet again as they edged Peru 1-0 to win their second successive match of the tournament. The third match saw France held to a 0-0 draw by Denmark in one of the most boring matches of the World Cup so far earning them the top spot in Group C.
The knockout stages saw France emerging out from their lacklustre displays as they breezed past Argentina 4-3 in the round of 16 match. The quarterfinal was more of a namesake as France beat a Cavani-less Uruguay 2-0. In one of the best matches of the World Cup, France narrowly defeated Belgium 1-0 to earn a spot in the World Cup finals for the 3rd time in 20 years.
Match date: 15 July 2018, Sunday
Match timing: 19:30 IST
Match venue: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia
France vs Croatia: Team News
Blaise Matuidi is expected to start against Croatia after being subbed off against Belgium after a collision with Eden Hazard.
Marcelo Brozovic is expected to keep his place after an impressive display against England while Domagoj Vida is cleared to play the final after being cleared by FIFA after he appeared in a video in which he appears to say "Glory to Ukraine"
France vs Croatia: Probable Lineups
France XI: Hugo Lloris, Benjamin Pavard, Samuel Umtiti, Raphael Varane, Benjamin Mendy, N'golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Oliver Giroud, Kylian Mbappe
Croatia XI: Danijel Subasic, Vedran Corluka, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic, Ivan Rakitic, Ante Rebic, Andrej Kramarić, Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, Mario Mandzukic
France vs Croatia: Head-to-Head
France is unbeaten in their previous 5 matches winning 3 times with the last ever meeting between the nations ending in 2-1 victory for France in World Cup 98.
France vs Croatia: Key Stats
The French are the sixth nation to reach 3 or more World Cup finals after Brazil, Germany, Italy, Argentina and Netherlands.
3 of the 5 goal scorers at this World Cup for France has been defenders, the last time 3 defenders scored for France was in the 1998 World Cup.
Didier Deschamps will be looking to be only the third manager since Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer.
Croatia is the 13th different nation to play in the World Cup finals with the previous two first time finalists winning the World Cup.
Another extra-time victory for Croatia will see them becoming the first nation to win the World Cup finals after playing 4 extra time matches.
France vs Croatia: Prediction
France 2-1 Croatia