France v Croatia in final
July 15, 2018 -- France and Croatia contest the FIFA World Cup final at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium in Russia, with the winner crowned World Champion. France bring a generation of attacking stars and individual brilliance into the showpiece match, while Croatia, captained by talismanic midfielder Luka Modric, have impressed throughout the tournament.
France started slowly in the group stage with narrow victories over Australia and Peru, before drawing with Denmark. The 1998 champions sparked into life against Lionel Messi’s Argentina, notable for a captivating performance by PSG’s €180m teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe, one of the youngest players in the tournament. Les Bleus then dispatched Uruguay in clinical fashion in the quarter-finals, and saw off Belgium in the final four to reach their third World Cup final.
Croatia, boasting the talents of Modric, Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Ratikic, breezed through the group stages, which included a spirited victory over Argentina. Despite faltering in the knock-out stages, with matches against Denmark and Russia going to intense penalty shoot-outs and extra-time needed to secure a semi-final victory over England, their resilience and ability to perform under pressure has seen them reach a first final as an independent nation in any major tournament.