2018 FIFA WC: Road to Final- France vs Croatia

XtraTime Web Desk: The business round of the World Cup has reached it’s climax and we have two deserving teams who has made their way to the 21st edition of the Grand Finale. For the the 4th consecutive time the coveted trophy stays in Europe. It was Italy in 2006, Spain in 2010, Germany in 2014 and now either France or Croatia will lift the trophy on 15th of July at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

Croatia against all odds defied every predictions and every pundits, as they go marching to the Final for the first time ever in their recorded 28 years of history . France with a strong base of young players, were contenders even before the show-piece started. Thankfully they didn’t follow the footsteps of the other so called big nations like Spain, Germany, Argentina who made some shock early exits from the tournament. Les Blues didn’t let their fans down as they confidently made their way to the Final after an average start in the group phase stage.

Now let’s have a look at their journey so far leading to their historic clash on Sunday.




FRANCE 

Group Stage

Australia 2-1(W)
Peru 1-0(W)
Denmark 0-0(D)

Round of 16

Argentina 4-3(W)

Quarter Final

Uruguay 2-0(W)

Semi-Final

Belgium 1-0(W)

Goals Scored: 10
Conceded: 4

Top Scorers: Griezmann & Mbappe(3 goals each)

Hugo Lloris has the most number of cleansheets among the active players in the tournament with 3 and France has kept the most number of cleansheets with 4.

Griezmann is the joint highest assist provider in the tournament with 2 assists.

This is France’s 3rd appearance in a World Cup Final and the first in 12 years, with their best performance is back in 98′, when they lifted the Cup in their home turf.




CROATIA

Group Stage

Nigeria 2-0(W)
Argentina 3-0(W)
Iceland 2-1(W)

Round of 16

Denmark 1-1(W)
[Winners 3-2 on penalties]

Quarter Final

Russia 2-2(W)
[Winners 4-3 on penalties]

Semi Final

󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿England 2-1(W)

Goals Scored: 11
Conceded: 5

Top Scorers: Modric, Mandzukic, Perisic (2 goals each)

Croatia kept out more number of shots more than any other teams in the tie-breakers (4), thanks to goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.

Croatia is the only team in the history of World Cup to have won 3 games in a row after being down by a goal initially.

This is Croatia’s maiden appearance in a World Cup Final, there best performance is a 3rd place finish in France 98′, which happened to be Croatia’s debut appearance at the World stage.

Now let’s have a look at their Head to Head statistics:-

France vs Croatia

Head to Head

Games: 5

France: 3
Draws: 2
Croatia: 0

Last meeting

France 0-0 Croatia( International Friendly, 2011)

Both teams have met twice in competitive tournaments with France winning 1 and the other ending in a draw( Euro 2004)

The only time both sides met in a World Cup match was in France 98′ in the semi-final stage, with France emerging victorious by 2-1, thanks to 2 goals from Lilian Thuram.

It is clear that France always had the upper hand whenever they faced Croatia. This French team on paper may have the edge, but we all know the match is never on paper. This Croatian team has some brilliant players with one of the best midfield lineup in the world.  What we can expect is a brilliant final on the cards.

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