The Big Match Tactical View: France v Croatia

The Big Match Tactical View: France v Croatia

Carla Harmon
July 15, 2018

It will be France's first World Cup final for 20 years, and Croatia's first ever appearance on the biggest stage of them all.

After pool play, Croatia defeated Denmark, Russia and England to advance to the final, while France beat Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium.

After losing the 2016 European Championship final on home soil, France will not take their opponents lightly, despite Croatia going to extra-time in their last three knockout games.

France fans were equally convinced of their own victory, saying the French team were less exhausted than Croatia, who have been playing extra time and penalties. "That's the aim and that's the mentality we've been using while preparing for this game". After two very quick-fire goals only the second match in World Cup history where both teams scored inside four minutes - extra time was needed to separate these two.

"We have some minor injuries, minor problems, and I hope my players will be ready".

They have played three consecutive extra-times and will turn up at the Luzhniki Stadium
not afraid of anything other than an early onset of exhausted legs.

Deschamps also insisted his side have their feet firmly on the ground ahead of the final.

It was a point echoed by France captain Hugo Lloris who said the players had shut out the wave of celebrations at home in order to play the ideal match.

'To be honest we are in our little bubble and we don't know what is happening in France, ' Lloris told reporters on Saturday. As they face off in the 2018 World Cup final in Moscow.

Croatia have shown impressive resolve to withstand three successive matches that went to extra-time - Mario Mandzukic´s victor in the 109th minute defeated England in the semi-final on Wednesday.

"Croatia have shown their mental strength which is quite incredible". The Croats came from behind and upset favored England in Wednesday's semifinal that was decided in extra time. There is something special in this team, ' he warned.

France is obviously the deeper, more talented side on paper, but they also match up particularly well against Croatia. There is a reason why no team has ever taken this path to the final before - there is only so many miles men can run before they collapse.

Tens of thousands of people flooded the streets of Paris following Tuesday's semi-final win over Belgium and confidence is high that Didier Deschamps' team can match the achievement of the 1998 winners. "If I score, so much the better, but I am a player who thinks first of all about the team". Perhaps it's my Chelsea blue showing, but N'golo Kante has been the best player of the tournament from start to finish. "Every coach knows that such matches can be won on tiny details, and sometimes the most irrational things".

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