FIFA World Cup 2018™ Final Preview: France vs Croatia

FIFA World Cup 2018™ Final Preview: France vs Croatia

France will take on Croatia in the World Cup
final on Sunday. It is France’s third final in history, after they took the crown on home
soil in 1998 and finished second in 2006, losing to Italy on penalties. Croatia were
semi-finalists in 1998, finishing third after beating the Netherlands 2-1 in the third place
place-off, having been denied a place in the final by France and two goals from Lilian
Thuram. Since ’98, Croatia have never gone further than the group stages, and did not
qualify for 2010. France have the pedigree and the history, but no one, least of all
Didier Deschamps, will underestimate Zlatko Dalic’s side. France will line up a lop-sided 4-2-3-1, probably
with Blaise Matuidi, but possibly Corentin Tolisso, playing on the left hand side of
the attacking midfield three. In defence, France will look like a 4-3-3, danger man
Kylian Mbappe trying to hang out slightly on the right, and Matuidi dropping and tucking
in to provide solidity in midfield. France’s full backs push high, especially Benjamin
Pavard on the right, while N’Golo Kante does his usual, significant covering work.
In transition, Paul Pogba is the key man, carrying the ball and releasing France will
long, raking passes; his defensive work should not be underestimated either, as shown against
Belgium when he managed to shut down Maroune Fellaini, and still provide a significant
attacking outlet. [PIC 1 and 2] Croatia under Dalic have played some form
of 4-2-3-1, but there are two variants. In the quarters, Dalic played Andre Kramaric
off Mario Madzukic, with a midfield double pivot of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic. In
other games, though, Dalic’s side have looked more like a 4-3-3 against teams where greater
defensive solidity is required in midfield. By bringing in Marcelo Brozovic, star men
Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric have greater cover, and this gives Croatia better balance,
though it makes it harder for them to link the attack through the centre. Croatia like
to keep the ball, working it horizontally through the defence or midfield, looking for
the moment when either the wide attackers or full backs are in space. They then transition
quickly wide, and look to create crossing opportunities, or for the wide players to
run inside to shoot. [PIC 3 and 4] France and Croatia will therefore likely line
up as two variants of 4-2-3-1 slash 4-3-3 – Dalic will almost certainly go with the
formation used against England in the semi-final, as he needs to ensure that France cannot easily
play through Croatia’s middle; and Deschamps has shown that, since dropping Ousmane Dembele
for Olivier Giroud after the opening game, he has found the team he wants to use, and
Giroud has made himself indispensable. [PIC 5 and 6] France need to defend the wings and attack
the centre. Kylian Mbappe has been exceptional this tournament, but France’s left hand
side is a lot more solid as Mbappe likes to drift in to space to create an outlet, rather
than track rigorously back and assist Pavard. Croatia will also look to push their full
backs high, partly because pressing Mbappe when he receives the ball facing his own goal
forces him to pass backwards or inside rather than turn and run, and partly because Croatia’s
full backs support the wide players and are key to their attack. France cannot allow this,
and need to keep the solid 4-3-3 and encourage Mbappe to help Pavard out on the right, as
Matuidi will assist Hernandez on the left. This can cut off Croatia’s full backs, while
retaining a solid middle, and prevent Dalic’s side having their easiest means of progressing
the ball. [PIC 7 and 8] France are best when counter-attacking, or
attacking quickly and directly from the back, against sides whose defensive structure through
the middle is poor. France can look a little ponderous in slow build-up play, and suffered
against Denmark and Australia, who sat deep and compact. Deschamps’s side need to exploit
Croatia’s willingness to get men forwards, and Rakitic’s and Modric’s tendency to
push up and slightly outwards to create passing options for Perisic and Rebic – this should
leave room to play through the middle, and Paul Pogba could have a field day against
a loose Croatian midfield. His efforts in containing Rakitic will also be key, defensively,
but if the Manchester United midfielder can carry the ball into open space and find passing
lanes through a disjointed Croatian midfield, France can profit. [PIC 9 and 10] Croatia will create chances, but they need
to defend well, especially against France’s verticality through midfield. Croatia pressed
England well, but while this unsettled the English ball-playing defenders and caused
goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to go long often, the gap between Modric and Rakitic as one,
higher midfield line, and Brozovic behind them, meant that England could pounce on second
balls. The pace of Raheem Sterling on the break forced the Croatian defence and Brozovic
to drop deep to cover, which caused the gap. They cannot afford to do the same against
France. Giroud is a probably better hold-up player than Harry Kane, and Mbappe poses the
same, if not a greater, broken field running threat than Sterling. If Croatia press, they
need to do so as a team and squeeze the gaps; if they drop off, Croatia will find it easier
to stop France, but less easy to win the ball higher up and transition quickly into attack. [PIC 11 and 12] Croatia’s wide players, especially Perisic,
have provided their main attacking outlet. Rebic, who can be abrasive and might be targeted
by France to rile him up, and Perisic swap flanks during the game, and either play wide
and look for crosses, or cut inside. They look to drift out to create space for themselves,
to be found by long, diagonal passes from the Croatian midfield, and the full backs
push to support. If Croatia can counter, especially on France’s right when Pavard is pushed
high, and Mbappe is not covering back, then Perisic can have some joy. Pogba or N’Golo
Kante will need to drop back to assist and prevent Croatia from working their overloads
in the wide and half spaces, which could leave room for Rakitic or Modric to push up into
space around the edge of the box. This, plus Rebic’s ability to drift inside and Mario
Mandzukic’s all-round quality, mean that France can ill afford to be exposed here.
They need to work collectively, or Croatia will find gaps. [PIC 13 and 14] France will start as favourites, and certainly
have the quality to win their second World Cup, but no one will underestimate the quality
Croatia possess, especially in their front six. France’s defensive ability and shape
will be the key – should they maintain this, and deny Croatia chances, they should be able
to create enough of their own on the counter to score. But if Croatia can nullify this
threat and tighten up through the middle, they have the attacking ability to test Hugo
Lloris. Whether he, or Luka Modric, lifts the World Cup on Sunday, both sides have impressed
this tournament and are worthy finalists. It should be a fitting end to a wonderful

100 Replies to “FIFA World Cup 2018™ Final Preview: France vs Croatia”

  1. The pressure is on France really .if Croatia can play as the same mentality as portugal and hope they don't conside they have a chance.the favourites are France but all I know is that this is wc of underdogs.

  2. France will cross Croatia like a shallow creek. I bet they will go to the halftime with at least 3:0 lead. It will be embarrassing for the Croats. France will do exactly what England missed to do in the first half of the semis.

  3. if Croatia wasn't against my own country tomorrow, I would have supported it! Great country and great team, best of lucks for the Final!

  4. It is easier to say that France will win because they have better players. But only the bravest could even imagine Croatia in finals. Croatia has 22 warriors who are ready to die for the win. I really hope that Croatia will win this World Cup. 🇭🇷

  5. It will be a clash between two Europes.
    The Europe of the peoples (Croatia) and the Europe of mongrels, masonry, banks, zionists (france).

  6. Finally, finally finally finally someone who know what they are talking about. Do not ever close this channel, we will have CL and EL in no time and we need you.

  7. I think it will be very cagey if Croatia sits back with a 4-5-1. France struggled against Australia and Denmark like you said. So a big midfield wall protects the center. Croatia should play like France did against Belgium. Hitting on transitions through the wingers. I believe France will still come out on top but Croatia should push it past 90 minutes and cause a lot of French heartache 😈

  8. no offense, but if croatia was called "brazil" or "germany", everyone would be upset about the fact that they are in the final

  9. France are the best team in this world cup, and I picked them to reach the final before it started. Lloris and Mbappe have been amazing, Kante and the defense are great. They are massive favorites against Croatia, and bookmaker odds reflect that. Croatia will need to play their absolute best game so far to have a chance, but they are the biggest revelation of this cup, and one of the greatest Cinderella stories in football history. France deserve their 2nd trophy, but we might get a brand new champion too! Very exciting.

  10. Continue to make videos, never stop these are brilliant and have significant meaning to a lot of us football addicts.

  11. Croatia 🇭🇷 1 | France 🇫🇷 1
    After penalty Croatia 🇭🇷 will lead…..
    Croatia 🇭🇷 2 | France 🇫🇷 1
    Finally Croatia 🇭🇷 Wins. Congratulations 👏🏻

  12. France will dominate much of the ball game, they’re more balanced and got more quality going forward, the only chance for Croatia is if the french get passive and overconfident, I believe France will win it but if Croatia somehow sneak it that will be a hell of a story and deservingly so, but my support goes to France


  14. I hope France will win but congrats to Croatia to have reached their first final ! They have very good players and they completely deserve to be at this step of the competition. But I'm French so I'm definitely for France haha

  15. Lloris, Pavard, Griezmann and Giroud are the only ethnic French players in the (likely) starting 11.
    The rest are African, exept Hernandez (spannish).

    And it doesn't matter if they are born in France. Who you are is in your DNA, not your current location. Would you call an Englishman born in Nigeria a nigerian? – Didn't think so.

  16. Tommorow is one of the biggest days in Croatia ever. We will all stand like one. Good luck France. 🇭🇷🇫🇷

  17. Good luck to both sides may the best team win! France are favorites but Croatia will have incredible heart, and 4.5 million people in the stadium if you know what I mean!

    Moja Hrvatska Ajmo!! Once in a lifetime!!!

    If they lift that Trophy I think I will cry and faint at the same time!!

  18. 9-10 Croatian players are from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Including the coach hes from Bosnia as well. With that said go Croatia. Bring the title home 🇧🇦🇭🇷

  19. I cannot stand people thinking that France would win just because Croatia is a small country. I believe Croatia is going to shut those people's mouth.

  20. This comment section is digusting, full of racist shit. Hope team ustaša will get destroyed by les bleus.

  21. Allez les bleues 🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷

  22. Now for the French Line up for the World Cup 😅🤣😂😆

    Kimpembè- Kongo
    Dembele- Mauritanija
    Sidibe- Mali
    Umtiti- Camerun
    Pogba- Gvineja
    Tolisso- Togo
    Matuidi- Angola
    Nzonzi- Kongo
    Mbappe- Camerun
    Mendy- Senegal
    Mandada- Kongo
    Fekir- Alžir

    Croatia so close before it's now or never.. ❤⚽✌

  23. For me Croatia is already the champions no matter the result today. Congrats to France for not being arrogant as England was. In Croatia we have a lot of respect to the France team. Let the better team win.

  24. Croatia deserves this World Cup! The people need hope the people need happiness again the people need hero’s! This is more than just a game! This is an escape from the real world! From pain and struggles! Croatian team has given its people an escape let’s hope they can also give the people something to be proud of something to be happy about again! I hope and pray Croatia shocks the world and wins today! AJMO HRV!!!

  25. 364 days a year I am Irish…. Today I am Croatian. Whatever the result you are winners and an inspiration to small countries everywhere. Best of luck and the greatest of respect to your wonderful country and people.

  26. No respect for France, complacent whiners who get lucky calls from the referees. Sad. Totally, French!

  27. I support Croatia. Their team is great and they deserve to win. The referee is supposed to be neutral, but he isn't. So it will be very hard for Croatians to win, but I hope they'll make it! Go, Croatia, Bulgaria loves you! 🙂

  28. France football is THE WORST one in the whole world! They may be the winners but I don't respect them even 1% !!!! France always wins on very suspicious ref. decisions!

  29. love for France, France is going to win the FIFA world cup this year

  30.*Holly shit! French president just denounced the World Cup success* watch now

  31. People typing Croatia Vs Africa probably have probably never experienced a multi ethnic country before. These people should get over their racist mindset and Enjoy France. France now has more respect than ever before

  32. Please can you do a video explaining the new Nations league and how the qualification for Euros 2020 will work this time?

  33. I Love Croatia team even Worldcup has been done for 2 weeks but in my heart and my mind always remembering I respect their team they play fairly and team work that lead them to successful but they are not luck with France Croatia my best team forever San Francisco USA Fan

  34. I hate when ppl say France always win tf man first time it was 1998 if that's boring maybe ur life is boring.

  35. France deserve, they won against Belgium,Uruguay and Argentina in 90 mins. Croatia won against England with prolongations and against Denmark and Russia with penalties…In reality Croatia is very lucky to be in final…France was the best team of tournament.

  36. 2018 ❤💪✌❤❤❤❤❤CROATIJA❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤✌✌❤✌❤✌❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤👍❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

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