2018 FIFA World Cup: What you need to know about France and Croatia before they play the final
It will be interesting to see if Luka Modric breaks the jinx for Croatia or if youngster Kylian Mbappe helps France take the World Cup home.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup is finally coming to an end today and while all the favourites have been knocked out, it was only France that survived with a solid performance throughout the tournament. On the other hand, Croatia have made their presence felt throughout the tournament, never once faltering. While Croatia have never won against Les Bleus, it will be interesting to see if Luka Modric breaks the jinx or if youngster Kylian Mbappe helps France take the World Cup home.
1) This is Croatia’s fifth appearance at the competition and they currently ranked 20th in the world
2) 1998 WC saw Croatia achieve a podium finish as they defeated Netherlands in the playoff, they lost in the semis to the eventual champions, France. They already have one hand on the trophy and Modric and team would like to continue their unbeaten dream run and finish as champions.
3) Davor Suker, the golden boy of the class of 98 is still the leading goal scorer at the World Cup for the nation.Though their overall leading goal scorer in their team is Mario Mandzukic with 32 goals.
4) Croatia made its intention pretty clear in the initial matches itself, 24 year old Ante Rebic’s volley against Argentina was a delight. But it would not be wise for the opposition to not consider others as a threat; Modric, Rakitic, Mandzukic unit are potent enough to give headache to any defensive side. The French side would be vary of these experienced players capable enough to drive the young side to glory.
5) Their journey began in group D with a win against Nigeria. In their first acid test they passed with flying colours as they routed Argentina 3-0. The game against Iceland was a cakewalk as Croatia went onto top the group. They topped the group without conceding a single goal. The knockout stage of the competition wasn’t the easiest for them as they faced two penalty shootouts against Denmark and hosts Russia. Even the semis went onto extra time but a late strike by Mandzukic ensured that the team reaches their first finals.
1) France has appeared for 15th time in World Cup. And they are ranked 7th in the World
2) This year will mark 20 years since they lifted the trophy in 1998 and they would hope to repeat the heroics once again on Sunday.It has been two decades since those glorious days, though they came close in 2006 when they missed narrowly against Italy in the penalty shootout.
3) Just Fontaine is the leading goal scorer for France at the World Cup with a total of 13 goals. In the current French team Oliver Giroud rules the roost with 31 goals to his credit. The Chelsea striker has been in top form for France.
4) France had a jittery start to their campaign when they defeated the Socceroos 2-1.Win against Peru ensured qualification and a draw against the Danes meant that they topped the group.Their major challenge came against the 2014 runners up, Argentina, who they emphatically defeated by a 4-3 margin. A clinical finish against the Uruguayans ensured their top 4 finish where they muzzled the Red Devils to a goal to nil.
5) 19 year old KylianMbappe, one of the youngest players at this World Cup, proved to be most exciting future prospect. He is also valued as one of the most expensive players at the competition.Antonio Griezman’s form is a part of the French national team for the second consecutive World Cup. His participation at the Final would definitely determine how the game will end for Les Blues.
1) Croatia has the best defence at this year’s competition after managing a total of 272 clearances, tackles and saves.
2) Croatia's Luka Modric has covered the most distance this season after covering a total of 63km.
3) Surprisingly, Croatia has one of the best attacks at this year’s competition with a total of a 100 attempts. They are also the second highest scoring team after scoring a total of 12 goals in six games.
4) For Croatia, their road to the finals hasn’t been the easiest after being forced into an additional 30 minutes at every knockout game this edition.
5) After defeating England, they became the smallest nation with a population of around 4.2 million to make an appearance at grand finals.
6) Ngolo Kante has recovered the ball on 48 different occasions, the most by any individual, after managing to dominate the midfield.
Head to Head
These two teams have met each other on 5 different occasions. Croatia has never managed defeating Les Blues. The game has ended in a draw on two occasions. The first time these two teams met each other was at the 1998 World Cup semi- finals where France defeated Croatia and eventually went on to lift the title that season. Their most recent meeting came 7 years ago where they the game ended in a draw.
World Cup 2018 stats for France vs. Croatia
Goal 10 12
Total Attempts 75 100
Total Attempts on Target 24 26
Corners 19 34
Offsides 2 8
Goals Conceded 4 5
Tackles 54 79
Passes Attempted 2773 3362
Passing Accuracy 84% 82%
Fouls Committed 79 101
Yellow Cards 10 14
Red Cards 0 0
Distance Covered 377 450
Live and exclusive on SONY TEN 2, SONY TEN 3 & SONY ESPN