Croatia and France will meet in the World Cup final on Sunday, capping off the festivities in Russia. France are the odds favorite over Croatia, but Croatia have survived three straight slugfests to reach their first-ever final.
France vs. Croatia: Odds
Here are the latest opening odds from Bovada:
France have thrived. Croatia survived.
Two shootouts and an extra time winner over England later, Croatia are in their first-ever final. They reached this point by winning in the midfield, with Luka Modric making his case as the tournament’s most outstanding player. But against France, who have a physical midfield led by Paul Pogba, Croatia could see their biggest strength stifled.
If you’re looking for a way to knock off Croatia, watch out for set pieces. Croatia have only conceded five goals in Russia, but four of them were through set pieces. Olivier Giroud, who has been relatively quiet in this tournament, could have a huge impact on the final.
Despite both team’s known attacking prowess, both teams have been led by outstanding goalkeeping. Hugo Lloris has been outstanding after letting his team down at Euro two years ago, and Danijel Subašić has helped his team win two penalty shootouts en route to the final.
If you’re looking for an early historical trend (that isn’t war), one specific stat falls in Croatia’s favor. Over the last eight World Cups, six of the teams that played their semifinal in the same stadium as the final ultimately took home the trophy. That’s Luzhniki Stadium this time around, giving the obscure historical edge to Croatia.
Back in early June, France was tapped as one of the top teams to contend in Russia. Only Germany, Brazil and Spain had better odds than Les Bleus, who opened at +650 at BetOnline and other sportsbooks. Croatia were a sizable underdog, priced at +3300 to win it all.
Croatia have bravely survived their bracket to reach the final, and beat every team in front of them, but it’s been nothing like what France have dealt with. Uruguay and Belgium, the two teams France defeated en route to the final, could both have made a serious run on Croatia’s side of the bracket. France should be wary of keeping this game close knowing Croatia’s penchant for the dramatic, but France should have the quality to put this away.
Early Prediction: 2-1 France
France vs. Croatia: Date, Time & Location
Croatia will take on France in the World Cup final on July 15th at 11 a.m. Eastern. The match will be held at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, and will air on Fox and Telemundo in the United States.
These teams have met five teams in international play, and Croatia has never come away the winner. They haven’t met since 2011, and haven’t met in competition since the 2004 European championships.