France have only ever won the World Cup on one previous occasion – this being exactly twenty years ago on home soil – and this meeting with Croatia is their best chance of adding to the trophy cabinet. Les Bleus made it to the final of the 2016 European Championships where they lost out to Portugal in Paris and as such, their extremely talented squad will have a point to prove against a Croatian outfit against which they have lost none of their last five meetings.
Didier Deschamps’ men have improved substantially since the start of the competition and they have found top-gear just at the ideal moment. France were far from impressive in the group stages of the tournament with narrow wins over Peru and Argentina as well as a draw with Denmark, however since then they have gone from strength to strength with victories over Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium en-route to this weekend’s final.
As for Croatia, this is the furthest they have progressed in the competition and they have certainly made hard work of things with extra-time needed in each of their last three outings and two penalty shoot-outs along the way. They will certainly have their work cut-out when they line-up against France on Sunday afternoon however and while we expect Croatia to give a good account of themselves, the bookies don’t fancy their chances with most firms going 4/1 on the underdogs.
France are by far the stronger side on paper and they have been far more impressive in the knockout stages of the tournament with no need for extra-time against stronger opposition than Croatia have had to endure. It’s hardly a shock to see Les Bleus head towards this match as firm favourites to win in normal time although given the huge stakes involved, we’re expecting a nervy and low-scoring encounter this weekend. Croatia have managed to take all three of their knockout matches to extra time and we envisage them doing so on Sunday, however those extra minutes will almost certainly have taken their toll on Croatia and with France having more strength in depth we’ll be backing Deschamps’ side to edge their way to victory, Bet365 Bookies going 17/2 on France to win in extra-time.