By William Hill
Last Updated: 15th July 2018
Sunday 15th July
Kick-off: 4pm BST
Stadium: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
Live on ITV and BBC
World Cup final 2018 – France vs Croatia line-ups
Both coaches have resisted the temptation to try to surprise the other, instead naming the same players who delivered for them in the semi-finals.
France (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c); Hernandez, Umtiti, Varane, Pavard; Kante, Pogba; Matuidi, Griezmann, Mbappe; Giroud
Croatia (4-2-3-1): Subasic; Strinic, Vida, Lovren, Vrsaljko; Brozovic, Rakitic; Perisic, Modric (c), Rebic; Mandzukic
France won to nil against Uruguay and Belgium – the only two sides besides Croatia to collect nine points in the group stage – in the last two rounds and are 7/1 to complete a hat-trick of victories without conceding against the competition’s best teams.
Many expect tiredness to eventually derail Croatia. They’ve played a full 90 minutes more than France in the knockout phase, though given the last three World Cup finals went to extra time, it’s arguable their experience of surviving it could prove an advantage rather than an obstacle.
As for the favourites, the historical slice they’ll look to as a good omen is that their World Cup win in 1998 was achieved with a non-scoring centre forward in Stephane Guivarc’h. Olivier Giroud is yet to fire in Russia and trails Kylian Mbappe (4/1) and Antoine Griezmann (5/1) at 6/1 to net first.
World Cup final 2018: France vs Croatia odds
Alas, the World Cup final is upon us and the end of Russia 2018 is in sight.
Croatia sent the Three Lions home (albeit only one day earlier than if they had actually brought it home), and France secured a place in the final at the expense of Belgium.
The World Cup Final 2018 odds for France vs Croatia currently have Les Bleus as 4/9 favourites to lift the FIFA World Cup Trophy, with their chances of securing the victory within 90 minutes rated at 10/11.
A normal time triumph in Moscow for Zlatko Dalic’s team is on offer at odds of 4/1 if that is your betting prediction, while they’re 7/4 to lift the trophy by any means. Another penalty shootout win for the Croats is trading at odds of 9/1.
This is the 11th occasion that the World Cup has been hosted in Europe and only once previously has the winner originated from a different continent, when Brazil defeated hosts Sweden in the 1958 final.
Another European winner is guaranteed in 2018, but which team do you fancy in the World Cup 2018 outright market?
France vs Croatia odds – betting tips and predictions
The Blazers have shown monumental resolve in coming back from a goal down in every knockout match en route to this stage, not to mention the nerve to win two penalty shootouts. The odds on another penalty shootout in the final are 4/1.
Furthermore, using the sides’ respective showings against Argentina as a barometer (Croatia beat them 3-0, France won 4-3), Croatia should really look a good value betting pick at 7/4.
However, with the Croats having played three consecutive 120-minute knockout matches, fatigue can only be defied for so long, and odds of 10/11 for a French win in 90 minutes are too fair to ignore.
Additionally, the Argentina side Croatia beat in the group stage were a shadow of the one downed by Les Bleus a round later. Nonetheless, Dalic’s side were still able to dispatch a resilient England side in the semis.
However, France have been the standout team, outclassing Uruguay and overcoming a Belgium side that bested Brazil.
Their quality makes them a confident betting prediction, and if you’re backing Les Bleus’ solid defence and cautious approach, a first-half draw and full-time France win carries odds of 11/2.
France vs Croatia team news
Didier Deschamps is expected to stick to the team and formation that has served him so well in recent games.
Olivier Giroud has his continued support despite not registering a single shot on target while Blaise Matuidi should start on the left again.
If your betting prediction is for Giroud to score anytime in the World Cup final and repay his manager’s faith, the odds are 23/10.
Croatian right-back Sime Vrsaljko was initially ruled out of the England game with a knee injury but made a recovery to start and assist Perisic’s equalising goal. We have Vrsaljko’s odds at 6/1 to repeat this feat and assist in the final.
Marcelo Brozovic is expected to keep his place in the starting line-up after a strong showing versus England, alongside Ivan Rakitic, who played against the Three Lions despite suffering from a fever the previous evening.
The pair can be backed to assist a goal in France v Croatia at odds of 6/1 and 7/1 respectively.
Luka Modric is now 2/1 to win the World Cup 2018 Golden Ball. The odds on Modric scoring and Croatia winning 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 are currently 14/1.
Accumulated yellow cards were wiped after the quarter finals, meaning there are no suspended players for the final. Neither side have fresh injury concerns either.
France vs Croatia match stats
The Croats have qualified for the World Cup final for the first time ever and in only their fifth appearance at the tournament.
Deschamp’s side can enter an elite clique of nations to have won the World Cup more than once if they beat Croatia on Sunday.
France vs Croatia key players to watch
Croat Ivan Perisic levelled iconic forward Davor Suker’s tally of 10 goal contributions at major tournaments when he scored against England (six strikes, four assists). He can be backed at a monster 9/1 in the France vs Croatia first goalscorer betting.
For France, Antoine Griezmann has consistently been the main man when it comes to knockout football. The Atletico Madrid forward has been involved in 11 goals (seven goals and four assists) in his last seven such matches at major tournaments.
With 12 goals and eight assists in his last 20 appearances for Les Bleus, Griezmann is a sound pick to score first in the final at odds of 9/2.
Kylian Mbappe will make history if he scores against Croatia, joining Pele as the only man below the age of 20 to score in a World Cup Final . The odds on Mbappe scoring in the World Cup Final and France to win 2-0, 2-1 or 3-1 are 6/1.
If you fancy both Mbappe and Griezmann to score in normal time, the odds are now 9/1 (was 7/1).
Blazers front man Mario Mandzukic bagged the winner in extra-time against England. If you fancy the Juventus striker to score and Croatia to win in 90 minutes, then we have Enhanced Odds of 10/1 (was 15/2).
World Cup final betting tips based on previous finals
The World Cup final 2018 odds on a draw are 11/5. Draws have proven the most common outcome in recent World Cups, with each of the last three being all square after 90 minutes. Brazil were the last team to win the World Cup in normal time, when beating Germany 2-0 in 2002.
This was the first of four straight World Cup finals to have seen under 2.5 goals scored, with teams understandably prioritising defensive solidarity over expansive attacking.
In fact, six of the last seven finals witnessed no more than two goals being netted in the 90 minutes. This would have been a perfect seven had Emmanuel Petit not rounded off the scoring three minutes into stoppage time when France beat Brazil 3-0 in 1998.
Therefore, backing under 2.5 goals in the World Cup final at odds of 2/5 will be the tip of many.
However, the opposite needs to happen for this World Cup to go down as the most goal-friendly ever.
Across the previous 20 tournaments, the record for goals is 171. Heading into the World Cup 2018 final, 163 goals have been scored across 63 matches, meaning nine more are needed. If you predict over 3.5 goals will be in the final, the odds are 4/1.
France vs Croatia – Paths to the World Cup final 2018
France are becoming quite adept at reaching World Cup finals, as this is their third in the last six editions of this competition.
Les Bleus have won three World Cup semi-finals on the bounce after losing their first three in 1958, 1982 and 1986.
Their route this year has included Group C victories over Australia and Peru (alongside the sole goalless draw of the tournament with Denmark).
However, it’s been during the knockout rounds where they’ve exploded into life, beating Argentina, Uruguay and then Belgium in the last four.
Croatia meanwhile did the opposite, lighting up the group stages but trawling their way through the knockout stages with three consecutive matches going into extra-time.
Dubbed as a ‘dark horse’ by some football aficionados, Luka Modric and co caught the rest of the world’s attention when they racked up three wins in Group D, beating Argentina, Nigeria and Iceland in style.
However, the knockouts have been less flashy with a grinding game against Denmark and 2-2 tie with Russia prompting back-to-back penalty shootouts.
The extra-time victory over England was certainly more enjoyable for the neutral, but Croatia have been more cautious in the knockout phase.
Our correct score betting pick is France to beat Croatia 1-0.