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World Cup 2018 Final Prediction & Betting Odds

France too strong for Croats?

World Cup 2018 Betting

World Cup 2018 Final Preview – July 15th, 2018

The World Cup 2018 Final will be contested between France and Croatia on Sunday, July 15th. France did a magnificent job of containing the threat of Belgium in their semi-final duel, while Croatia once again couldn’t settle a knockout tie in regulation time, but they managed to squeeze their way past England to make their first ever World Cup Final. It is France who are the 19/20 favourites* (betting odds taken at 9:57 pm on July 11th, 2018) to win outright in Moscow.

France v Croatia Winner Odds*

France 19/20
Draw 9/4
Croatia 7/2

France living up to expectations

Les Bleus were one of the pre-tournament frontrunners and while they have seen their main rivals all drop away, they have stuck in there, persisted and have gotten the job done. Really France didn’t look any kind of a threat through the group stage but they have shown some tremendous character throughout the knockout stages of the tournament so far. They had tough South American opposition in Argentina and Uruguay to deal with in the round of sixteen and quarter finals respectively and France found ways to win them.

They need a show of attacking power to get past the Albiceleste first, while they just needed to show their strength, patience and control to see off Uruguay. That threw them into a semi-final match up against the dangerous Belgium side who had dispatched Brazil so convincingly at the quarter-final stage. But France’s defence in that game was just immense and not just across the back line but in the middle of the park where Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante took full control of the game. They totally shut down the threat of Belgium and while the scoreline was just a 1-0 for Les Bleus, it was a strong performance.

France v Croatia World Cup Final 2018 Infographic

We don’t predict many goals flying around the final here because of the strengths that France are showing at the moment and France to win to nil is at 7/4 odds* (betting odds taken at 9:57 pm on July 11th, 2018). France have now conceded in just one of their last five games at the tournament so that makes sense. The longer the tournament has gone on, the more the strengths of France have shown through. They are in just their third World Cup Final now, looking to add to their success of 1998 on home soil against Brazil. They were in the 2006 final but lost to Germany. Even though at times they have looked as if they are struggling for form, that is back to back finals at major tournaments now for France after finishing as runners-up at Euro 2016.

Gutsy Croatia make first final

Croatia have certainly done things the hard way at this tournament. At least in the knockout stage of the event. While they were comfortable in the group stage winning all three matches there, it has been a tale of nail-biting nerves for the Croats in the knockout stage. Like France, they have taken a win over Argentina at this tournament, beating the South Americans early in the group stage. But their winning touch deserted them in the knockout stages as each of their three games saw them taken to extra time.

They had to come from behind against both Denmark and then Russia in the round of sixteen and quarter finals respectively to progress. The Croats rode their luck and prevailed in a penalty shootout in both of those. They again had to come from behind against England in the semi-final and again took the tie to extra time, where Mario Mandzukic settled proceedings. But total that up and that is a whole extra 90 minutes they have played at Russia 2018.

It was expected that all the physical exertion was going to take its toll on them against England, but the truth is, they were the stronger of the two sides in the second half of that game, as it was England’s legs which went first. This is now their best ever effort at a World Cup and have now competed two semi-final ties in their five previous appearances at the tournament as an independent nation. That’s some feat. We believe that under 2.5 goals has to be the way to go and that is a 4/9 odds option at bet365* (betting odds taken at 9:57 pm on July 11th, 2018).

Form

France are undefeated in their last ten games now, winning eight of those. So they are in impressive form and since late August last year, they have lost just one fixture, that being a friendly against Colombia back in March. France are W12 D4 L1 since the end of August. They have collected five clean sheets in their last six games as well and have conceded more than one goal in just one of their last ten games. France have failed to score in just one of their last fourteen games.

Croatia have lost just the two games since early September last year in a positive W8 D4 L2 record (over 90 minutes). The one thing that is surprising about them is the clean sheets have been deserting them as they have just two in their last seven games now. So they haven’t been quite as strong at the back as expected. They have scored in each of their last seven games now though.

France v Croatia Head to head

There have been five previous games between the two nations and France are undefeated against the Croats, winning three and drawing two. The last two have both been drawn. Their first ever meeting was a World Cup match back in 1998 as France took a 2-1 win on their way to the title. Their only other competitive meeting was a Euro 2004 clash which ended in a 2-2 draw. France have three clean sheets in five against the Croats.

Prediction

We see France getting over the line in this one in the regulation time. Their defence has been so strong in the last two rounds and with an extra day of rest and not having had to deal with an extra time at the tournament, Les Bleus will be fresher. Croatia have shown tremendous grit and never-say-die attitude through the knockout stage but we think that they will come up short. A France 1-0 correct score option at bet365 appeals at 9/2 odds* (betting odds taken at 9:57 pm on July 11th, 2018).


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