It seems hard to believe that this tournament started exactly a month ago, but now the world prepares to watch the World Cup final. Two teams remain (in gold medal contention) from an original thirty-two. One of these teams has been in this position before and has even tasted both World Cup glory and agony. For the other, this is very much new territory. However both deserve to be in this match.
(Kickoff 11:00am EST)
France vs. Croatia
Having won their only World Cup on home soil back in 1998, France looks to add a second to their collection two decades later at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. Their opponent, Croatia, is the second smallest nation to reach a final. The Balkan side’s best-ever finish was third place at that same tournament. And the team that beat them in the semifinal was the same team to go on to win the whole thing. Suffice to say Croatia has a score to settle with les Bleus! France will again look to its attacking talent in the forms of Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann. It’s essentially a guarantee that if one of these two fails to score in a game, the other will not! Additionally, French frontman Olivier Giroud has yet to score, and it is not often that the striker goes goalless in a tournament (having scored in both Euro 2016 and World Cup 2014), so I expect him to end his current drought. Conversely, Croatia’s star striker Mario Mandzukic has only bagged two goals this World Cup, but his small tally hasn’t had a negative impact on his side as many of Croatia’s goals are spread evenly amongst his teammates. One of these players with his fair share of the goals is Luka Modric. The Croatian captain is still in the conversation for the Golden Ball award and a victory in the final will surely deliver that honor. So who is to be victorious? Having picked France to win the competition before a ball was even kicked, I’m certainly not changing that prediction now. Croatia has some talented footballers, but France has quality all over the pitch and I fully expect them to claim their second World Cup.