FIFA WC Final: Can former champions France put brake to Croatia's dream run?

Last Updated: Sun, Jul 15, 2018 17:56 hrs

[Russia], July 15 (ANI) The 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup - that has witnessed a string of dramatic ups and down so far - is all set for a high-octane final, wherein 1998 champions France will look forward to bring the trophy home after 20 years against Croatia, which will be eyeing its maiden title.

The final will be played at the Luzhniki Stadium here on Sunday.

France is beefed up with a big list of top football club players including Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), N'Golo Kante (Chelsea), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich), Blaise Matuidi (Juventus) and Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain).

Croatia, on the other hand, is filled with experienced players like Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic, Mario Mandzukic and Domagoj Vida.

Despite being an underdog, Croatia, through its versatility in almost every aspect of the sport, have created big upsets in their journey so far by winning all the games.

Croatia's memorable run in Russia started with the first match itself against Nigeria, where the former won by 2-0. After that, they created history by defeating Argentina 3-0 in the second match of the group stage. This was the game that probably brought Croatia into limelight.

Thereafter Croatia went on to end Group D on top after beating Iceland 2-1 in the last match.

Croatia's impeccable performance continued after group stage too as they defeated Denmark in the round of 16 and Russia in the Quarter-finals.

While many casted doubts over semi-final match against England, Croatia went on perform beyond expectations by defeating the British 2-1 in extra time and fixing their post in the final against France.

Unlike Croatia, France were among the favourites right from the start. However, the quality of game that the side is known for was nowhere to be seen in their group matches.

France won their first two group games without showing their best form as Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba were not playing. They beat Australia by 2-1 and Peru by 1-0, and subsequently, booked their spot in the round of 16 post a goalless draw against Denmark.

However, France went on to showcase its real talent in the knockout stages as they posted a 4-3 win against Argentina.

Following that, France had a big clash with Uruguay in quarter-finals, but they were able to beat them 2-0. And the team booked their place in the final after defeating critics' favourite Belgium 1-0 in the semi-final.

Unlike their rivals, France have never played extra time in this World Cup so far. (ANI)



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