Here we go.
Will it be a lasting legacy for France, or a day in history for Croatia? That’s the question at Sunday’s World Cup final, which presents, at least on paper, one of the more lopsided finals in the tournament’s history.
World Cup Final Odds
France are the big favorite here, priced at -255 to outright raise the trophy against Croatia’s +225.
On the three-way moneyline, France is a reasonable -105 according to OddsShark.com. Croatia is valued at +375 for a regulation upset, while a draw after 90 can be backed at +225. France are laying a half-goal on the spread, but are still favored at around -110. Croatia getting a half-goal is a nice bet for upset-seekers, but doesn’t have a crazy payout at -110.
The goal total for the World Cup final is set at 2, with the under (-120) favored against the over (+105).
France vs. Croatia Prediction
These teams have been broken down ad nauseam on their own, but the individual matchups will be the most exciting to watch. The midfield, where Croatia have dominated teams all tournament, will be an interesting battle against a France team that has outworked their opponents over the last three matches.
Can we talk about those three matches real quick? I’ve spoken enough about how crazy this year’s bracket was, and it really shows when you see the opponents these teams have faced. France reached the final by defeating Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium. Croatia reached the final by toppling Denmark, Russia and England.
Croatia trailed in every game. France trailed for nine minutes at twelve seconds in the entire tournament.
Truthfully, France are the much better squad. And despite their youth, it’s the disappointment at Euro in 2016 that gives me the most confidence in this team. They are focused on finishing the job on Sunday, where reaching the final for Croatia is in itself a massive achievement.
That’s not to say Croatia won’t be going for this game. It was fascinating to see their maturity take over against England, and how they very calmly took hold of the match despite conceding early. Yes, Croatia have trailed in three straight, but they’ve advanced through every one.
This match could determine the Golden Boot winner, and even though the Boot hasn’t been awarded to the winning team in six tournaments, I think it will happen Sunday. If Mbappe or Griezmann or even Luka Modric can make a splash and help their team win, it could seal the award. Mbappe himself is looking to become the only teenager to score in a World Cup final besides Pele in 1958.
One thing is for certain: Croatia will not go away. They will keep banging home crosses, and the midfield of Perisic, Rakitic and Modric can feed target man Mandzukic until the final minute. I’m very certain of France in this one, but only because of their ability to strike fast and score multiple times. Honestly, if Croatia can find a way to score first, this could be a very tense final. Just leaving the door open.
Prediction: France win 3-1