FIFA World Cup Final Preview

The FIFA World Cup is down to its last two teams. France will play Croatia on Sunday, July 15 in a winner take all World Cup Final.

The World Cup Final will see France’s young, exciting squad take on Croatia’s golden generation in its last opportunity to win silverware. 

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World Cup Final Odds

France goes into the fixture as the massive favorites. Didier Deschamps’ team is -110 to win the World Cup Final. Croatia is +400 to win the match in 90 minutes while a draw is +230. 

How did the teams reach the final?

Croatia breezed through the group stage at the World Cup. Yet, the knockout rounds haven’t gone as easily. Croatia went to extra-time in each of its knockout stage matches. The round of 16 saw Croatia defeat Denmark on penalties after playing 120-minutes of soccer. The quarterfinals also saw Croatia go the distance again. The team won on penalties against Russia thanks to super goalkeeper Danijel Subasic. 

The semifinals saw Croatia go to extra-time once more. Croatia went behind England in the fifth minute but rebounded in the second half to force the overtime period. A Mario Mandzukic goal in extra-time booked Croatia’s place in the final.

France had it slightly easier on its way to the final. After winning its group, France knocked out Argentina side in a thrilling 4-3 game. The quarterfinals were much easier for the French as Deschamps’ men dispatched Uruguay 2-0. A semifinal win over a tricky Belgium followed. France was rarely in trouble against Belgium and could have scored more goals in the semifinal.

Injuries and suspension

France will be at full strength for the final. Deschamps has no injuries or suspensions to worry about. He will most likely select the same starting XI as in the semifinal.

Croatia may have to make a change at right-back for Sime Vrsaljko. The defender wasn’t expected to play in the semifinal due to injury. Yet, he played all 120 minutes and looked phenomenal. He was limping at times during the semifinal, but manager Zlatko Dalic will be desperate for the defender to feature.  

Who will win?

Although Dalic has brought a winning mentality to Croatia, the amount of soccer played during the knockout stage will take its toll on the players. France is too good and its players have all hit top form. 

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Winner: France

FIFA World Cup: Third-place game Saturday, July 14

England vs. Belgium

England and Belgium will meet for the second time at this summer’s World Cup on Saturday night. The two nations will play the third-place match following their semifinal defeats.

The first meeting saw Belgium beat England 1-0 in the final group stage match. Both teams had already qualified and neither side used its best players. The third-place match will be completely different as managers Roberto Martinez and Gareth Southgate should deploy their best squads. 

Injuries and suspensions

England may be without starting midfielder Jordan Henderson. He limped off in the semifinal with a hamstring injury. Henderson will be replaced by Eric Dier in the center of the pitch.

Who will win the match?

Belgium has one of the most talented attacks of any team at the World Cup. Against France, however, the team just couldn’t find its way best Hugo Lloris. England’s defense won’t pose the same problem. Even with England playing a stronger team this time around, Belgium will find goals and win third place.

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Winner: Belgium

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