The 2018 FIFA World Cup is now close to its conclusion, with Croatia and France set to meet in the final this coming Sunday (15 July) at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. Croatia are looking to make history as the first eastern European country to be crowned world champions, while France are going in search of their second crown.
First things first
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Where can I win money in this tie?
When it comes to the World Cup, France have been there, done that and bought the proverbial T-shirt. In addition, Croatian have never beaten France in five previous meetings, meaning France come into the game as the clear favourites.
The most famous previous meeting between these two sides came in the 1998 World Cup semi-final, when France prevailed 2-1 thanks to a brace from Lilian Thuram. And the French are at odds of just 1.90 to win Sunday’s final inside 90 minutes, while Croatia are at over double those odds, priced at 5.00.
In total, France have four wins and a draw against Sunday’s opponents, and although it has been a World Cup full of surprises, a Croatia win here would arguably be the biggest of the lot. The simplest bet you can probably make on this game is to bet on who will lift the trophy, regardless of whether the game is wrapped up in 90 minutes, after extra time or via a penalty shoot-out.
And again, it is France who come in at the shorter price. The French are at just 1.44 to be crowned champions on Sunday, while you could almost triple any investment by backing Croatia at a price of 2.75.
The most recent match between France and Croatia was back in 2011 and ended in a goalless draw. However, given the number of attacking players on display this time around that is unlikely to be the case here.
It may be a World Cup final and it is likely to be a tense beginning, but we see goals in this one. You can back over 2.5 goals in the tie at 2.70 and under 2.5 goals at the shorter price of 1.44.
Both teams to score is also at a longer price of 2.37, with a “no” to that possibility coming in at 1.53. However, with both sides playing on the front foot the possibility of goals is genuine and, while it is never easy trying to predict the exact score of a match, a repeat of the 2-1 win for France back in 1998 is priced competitively at 11.00, offering more than a ten-fold return on any investment.
Mario Mandzukic was the hero for Croatia in the semi-final against England, netting in extra time to secure his country’s passage. The veteran forward is at 4.50 to score at any time during the game and 9.50 to score either the first or last goal of the match, as he managed against England.
The problem for Croatia is that the French have a whole array of striking options who could hurt them. The favourite to get on the score sheet is Atletico Madrid front man Antoine Griezmann, who is at just 2.62 to net at any time and 5.00 to open the scoring.
And teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe is right behind him. The PSG forward is at 3.00 to score in the final and 6.00 to score the first or last goal of the contest.
In addition, Mbappe is the red hot favourite, at a price of just 1.90, to win the Golden Ball, the prize awarded to the best player at the tournament. Croatia’s Luka Modric, his team’s playmaker, is the second favourite at 3.00.
Croatia, meanwhile may be dealing with tired legs in this game. All three of their knock-out games, against Denmark, Russia and England, have gone to extra time, and that may well be the case here as well.
Croatia are at 19.00to win the following after extra time and 11 to win via a penalty shoot-out. France, by way of comparison, are at 9.50 to win after 120 minutes, and 10.00 to win the World Cup after spot kicks.
Odds (after 90 minutes): France (1.90), Croatia (5.00), draw (3.30)