World Cup 2018 Final Prediction and Odds14th July 2018 / lee
World Cup 2018 Final Preview – July 15th, 2018
There will not be England lining up in the Final of the 2018 World Cup as the Three Lions saw their campaign ended by a resilient Croatia in the semi-finals. So now Croatia, who are the second smallest nation ever to reach the Final of the World Cup (behind Uruguay), will get to showcase their skills for the first time ever in a World Cup Final.
For France, who produced a tremendous show of defensive strength to shutdown Belgium in the semi-final, they will be looking to bring home the World Cup for the second time after their 1998 success. 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 on the weekend.
France v Croatia Winner Odds*
France continue to grow
If you look back over the course of the tournament you can see how much France have grown. They were one of the favourites coming into the tournament, but for not being very good in the group stage, they have grown in stature, tactical astuteness and strength as the tournament has progressed. The French will now be favourites to get their hands on the World Cup on the weekend against Croatia. France battled their way past Argentina and then Uruguay in the knockout stage, neither an easy looking game for them for different reasons.
France showed their attacking qualities to hold off Argentina while it was a solid, composed defensive display which saw them comfortably dispatch Uruguay. So that was a couple of big tests that they passed after a somewhat muted group stage. Then they had to take on a highly-confident Belgium in the semi finals, the Red Devils having dumped Brazil out of the quarter-final in emphatic fashion. But this was a game where the might of France’s defensive powers shone through.
They were rock solid at the back with Rafael Varane having an outstanding game and the midfield combination of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante took full control of the game. The fact that they kept a clean sheet against Belgium, a free-scoring side was impressive and they really nullified the threat of their neighbours. Because France are looking strong then back with them having conceded in just one of their last five games, France to win to nil in the World Cup Final is at 7/4 odds* (betting odds taken at 9:57 pm on July 11th, 2018).
The trend is certainly there for them. It hasn’t been a great show of flair from France, we would have to concede that. They haven’t come out and put on shows of style over substance, but that substance they have is very rich. After reaching the Final of Euro 2016 remember that is back to back Finals at major tournaments now for Les Bleus and that says a great deal about them. This will their third World Cup Final now, having won in 1998 on home soil against Brazil but having lost against Germany in the 2006 Final.
Resilient Croatia refuse to break
If you look back at the group stage section of the 2018 World Cup then Croatia were the better of the two sides that will be contesting the final. They won all three of their matches, including their big 3-0 win over Argentina. Both France and Croatia then have beaten the South Americans at this tournament, so they have that in common. But the tournament took a strange turn for Croatia in the knockout stages as they couldn’t find a way to win a game inside 90 minutes.
Now in each of their three knockout stage matches, Croatia conceded the first goal of the game and on all three occasions, they fought back to be level at 1-1 at 90 minutes. They needed a penalty shootout to get past Denmark in the round of sixteen and then against Russia in the quarter finals. Against England in the semi finals, Croatia managed to get the job done in extra time thanks to Mario Mandzukic. In the correct score market a 1-1 draw at 90 minutes is a 6/1 odds option* (betting odds taken at 9:57 pm on July 11th, 2018)
So Croatia have shown a lot of resilience, but those three periods of extra time adds up to them having played an extra game at the tournament. In contrast, France got through the knockout stage without needing a single period of extra time. Surprisingly though Croatia’s energy levels didn’t fail them during the second half and extra time against England. In fact, they looked as if they were getting stronger instead of fading away as many had expected them to do. Croatia, to their credit, have now had two semi-final ties in just five appearances at the World Cup. They have bent but they have not been broken yet but they will have their problems cracking the French back line. 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).
France are in great form and they are W12 D4 L1 in their last seventeen games now stretching back to the end of August last year. They are currently running unbeaten in ten, which is great. Their defence has really stepped it up as well recently as they have taken five clean sheets in their last six games played. France have conceded more than one goal in just one of their last ten games and going forward they have found the back of the net in all but one of their last fourteen matches.
Croatia are in decent shape as well in terms of form with a W8 D4 L2 record (over 90 minutes) in their last fourteen. In contrast to the defensive strengths of France, Croatia have just two clean sheets in their last seven. But going forward they are pretty consistent as they have scored in each of their last seven games now. They have scored at least two goals in six of their last seven games (including extra time at the World Cup).
France v Croatia Head to head
This will be the sixth meeting between France and Croatia, with the Croatians looking for their first-ever win against Les Bleus. The last two meetings have both ended in a draw. France and Croatia have met at the World Cup before, their first ever game was at France 1998 which Les Bleus won 2-1 on their way to winning the tournament. Their only other competitive meeting was a Euro 2004 clash which ended in a 2-2 draw.
For our France v Croatia prediction we are going with France to complete the job that they have been striving towards. They have looked so tough at the back and in the defensive area of midfield that Croatia may not get much joy out of this. For all the grit that Croatia have shown, they will have had a day’s less rest and have had all that extra time which they have had to play.
France will be fresher and they have more depth in their squad as well to handle this. France to win by a one-goal margin appeals at 12/5 odds* (betting odds taken at 9:57 pm on July 11th, 2018). France may well put their Euro 2016 final misery behind them in the best possible way.
The tip is based on the personal opinion of the author. No success is guaranteed. Please gamble responsibly. 18+
* All mentioned odds were valid at the time of writing. Betting odds are subject to fluctuations. Please check the current odds with the respective bookmaker!
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