Breakdown of the World Cup Final, France vs. Croatia
Online Copy Editor Ethan Knauth and Staff Writer Aidan Knauth preview the upcoming World Cup final between France and Croatia. The final is set to take place on July 15. The match will be televised on Fox and is set to start at 11 a.m. ET.
July 14, 2018
Reasons Croatia will win:
Croatia’s results leading up the the final- (W) 2-0 Nigeria; (W) 3-0 Argentina; (W) 2-1 Iceland; (W) 1-1 (3-2 Pen.) Denmark; (W) 2-2 (4-3 Pen.) Russia; (W) 2-1 England
With a surprising run to the World Cup final, Croatia is coming in as the underdog this Sunday. Ethan Knauth gives you three reasons why Croatia will win the World Cup Final:
- Luca Modric and Ivan Rakitic- Since Rakitic’s summer arrival to Barcelona in 2014, these two have ruled their respective team’s midfield, Barcelona and Real Madrid, in one of the worlds toughest leagues, La Liga. Now they are ready to solidify themselves on the world’s biggest stage with Croatia in the upcoming World Cup final. Together these two are deadly, as Modric has notched two goals and an assist in the tournament and Rakitic has added a goal as well as the two penalties to send them into the next round against Russia and Denmark. With Modric and Rakitic on the field, Croatia will have the ability to dictate the run of play as well as the possession to hopefully win their first World Cup.
- Resiliency- Croatia has not had an easy go of it to make it to the finals. After three relatively stress-free wins in the group stage, Croatia conceded first in all of their knockout round games leading up to the final. Yet, in every game Croatia managed to claw their way back into the game, forcing extra time in all three. Three extra time games also means playing 30 extra minutes in each of those games, totaling to 90 extra minutes, that’s like playing another game. But, in every game it’s the same story, Croatia eventually comes out on top, whether through a penalty shootout or an extra time goal. This shows that no matter what France throws at them this Sunday, Croatia has the mindset to give themselves a fighting chance.
- Possession based attack- In all of their games, except the 3-0 win against Argentina, Croatia has had the majority of the possession of the ball. In the upcoming final against France, there should be no difference. Yet, what is possession if the team will not be able to go forward? Well, Croatia answers this question by having made possession the focal point of each of their attacks. Croatia does this by slowly breaking down the pressure and working their way into a scoring position. Having possession will also help Croatia slow down the pace of the game, as they will not have energy after three straight 120 minute games to keep up with France. When Croatia has the ball this Sunday, expect them to dictate play with possession of the ball.
Reasons France will win:
France’s results leading up to the final- (W) 2-1 Australia; (W) 1-0 Peru; (D) 0-0 Denmark; (W) 4-3 Argentina; (W) 2-0 Uruguay; (W) 1-0 Belgium.
With many of the favored teams for the World Cup bowing out early, France has taken over those rights for this Sunday’s Final. Aidan Knauth gives you three reasons why France will win the World Cup final:
- N’Golo Kanté and Kylian Mbappe- Most would say that in this World Cup these two players have been the best that have played for France since the great Zinedine Zidane. These individuals are the best of the best, having shown it on their world class club teams. Kante was signed to a team that was on the brink of being relegated to the English second division, Leicester. However, through his determination and leadership, he took over Leicester’s midfield line and lead them to a Premier league title in 2016. Kante plays as a calm, collective player that’s always be ready to attack and the plays as a 5’6” defensive wall thwarting all of the attacks that come his way. Mbappe plays with an agile movement coupled with speed which enables him to easily go around players to the point where they can’t keep up. Playing for France at the Under-19 European Championships, having scored five goals to lead them to victory. He has intrigued everyone by continuing score goals at a higher level, notching three so far this tournament, just as a teenager. Watchout this Sunday for these two players could bear the key to France’s success.
- Experience- France is one of only 13 nations to ever make the World Cup Final and one of only eight to win, as they did so in 1998. The current coach of the French national team, Didier Deschamps, was on that 1998 squad, which gives France an advantage because Deschamps can provide his team with the necessary insight heading into the Final. With thousands screaming in the stands and millions watching around the globe, France will have the upper hand because they have a veteran in their back pocket. In a World Cup winner in Deschamps, he brings his past knowledge of the competition which can help France focus on the task at hand and not the huge amount of pressure they will be facing.
- Uncontested road to the finals- So far France has been unbeaten leading up to the Final, winning five matches and tying Denmark in the group stage. France has won every game in regular time not needing to go into extra time or into penalties. With Croatia having barely scraped by in extra time in the last three games, France will have the upper hand fitness-wise. France also has a tendency to take over the game and with Croatia fatigued, they will be able to impose their will onto their European neighbors.