We have the final two teams of the 2018 World Cup from Russia. On Sunday 15th July, France will play Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow with a 4.00pm kick-off played out in front of a capacity crowd and sell-out worldwide TV audience.
It’s not the match many expected but there’s no doubt both teams fully deserve their shot at international football’s biggest prize and fans have some compelling battles ahead with real individual talent on show including Lloris, Pogba, Mbappe, Griezmann, Lovren, Rakitic and Perisic. There will also be a healthy Chelsea presence on the park with N’Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud expected to start and play major roles in the outcome of this one.
There’s very little to separate the teams on paper but odds compilers have had no trouble parting the pair and France are 4/9 at William Hill to win the World Cup – that bet includes 90 minutes, extra-time and penalties – or there’s 10/11 on them claiming the match inside the distance. The fact the same firm offer a confident 7/2 on Croatia in normal time tells us exactly how the money men think this decider will go.
Les Bleus have had no trouble finding the net in Russia and neutrals will be hoping they adopt the same attack-minded tactics when it matters most, with Kante pulling the strings in the middle of the park and Giroud putting in a shift in and around the box. They edged Argentina 4-3 in a round-of-16 thriller to end June and that came on the back of a 2-1 over Australia and hard-fought 1-0 vs Peru. At the other end of the pitch, they’ve been just as impressive, conceding just one goal in their three Group C matches.
After that stunning, thrill-a-minute win against Argentina Didier Deschamps’ side closed the back door tight to beat a good Uruguay side 2-0 thanks to goals from Varane and Griezmann. They did something similar with Belgium in the semis, scraping a 1-0, Umtiti the scorer early in the second-half to seal the deal. The match stats show Belgium finished with just three shots on target.
France to win to nil on Sunday is sure to attract attention from backers looking for a better price but the form hasn’t gone unnoticed by bookmakers with little more than 8/5 available. Another 1-0 correct score for the favourites leaps off the page at 19/5 while those who fancy a pop at the first goalscorer have Griezmann as their 9/2 joint-fav with Mbappe.
Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud is third-favourite at 11/2 while N’Golo Kante carries a hefty pricetag of 33/1. That would certainly spice up the occasion. Prefer to back the boys but with a bit more of a safety net? Giroud to hit the net anytime is 23/10, Kante a delightful 14/1.
Taking no in the both teams to score market is another option, especially if you expect a tight match. There’s 8/15 trending but that would go against the Croatian trends as both teams have scored in their three knock-out matches this month; 1-1 Denmark, 2-2 Russia and 2-1 England. Chance yes at a more attractive 11/8.