As a showpiece FIFA World Cup Final awaits us, 1998 winners France will take on first-time finalists Croatia. For just 4m people to reach the tournament final is incredible: can they go all the way and defeat a France side who feel like the best team here in the tournament?
There’s not much in the way of injury worries: Blaise Matuidi and Djibril Sidibe are both doubts but should make it. This will be interesting, though, as Matuidi has been essential to their growth and development as a side as the tournament has progressed. With Croatia so strong out wide, losing his prowess would be a major blow.
Expect Ngolo Kante to be key to victory here, if France are to do it. We think that France will be looking to really push forward their momentum, trying to pin back Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric.
The worrying news that Ivvan Strinic, Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Perisic might all be a risk for the Final is a major worry for the Croatians. They will be tired after three consecutive runs of extra time – becoming the only side in history to reach the final by doing so – and will be looking to try and patch up their team in time for kick-off.
Injuries to key players for Croatia is much worse than it is for France, purely for depth reasons. If Perisic was to miss out, then Sime Vrsaljko’ fitness would become even more important.
Too close to call, too hard to say: we can see a France win, though. They aren’t very good to watch outside of the Argentina game, but should have the talent to make it count in a one-off game like this – Croatia, though, can feel proud of a run that will live long in the memory.