It’s, well, finally here.
After weeks of upsets, diving and sleepless nights, the World Cup Final is approaching in mere hours, and I bet many of us hadn’t expected this: it’s a game between a favourite, France, and an underdog Croatia.
Though you really shouldn’t call Croatia an underdog, even though they’ve not won the World Cup before, and their best result so far is being in the Semi-Final in 1998, whereby they lost to none other than…France.
Yeah, I kid you not.
(I bet history is going to repeat itself – GO FRANCE)
Here are eight things you should know about this match, because even if you’re not interested in twelve-two guys running after a ball, someone in your household is going to wake you up tonight when France scored.
Or when Croatia scored (a own goal).
The Very Basics for Those Who Just Want to Avoid the Noise
Now, I’m not sure how many percent of our readers watch the game, but it’s important to know this so that if you’re looking to have supper tonight in McDonald’s, you can change your plan right now.
The match is going to happen tonight (15 July 2018) at 11:00 p.m., and if it’s a draw, it might drag all the way to 2:00 a.m. And lest you’ve really been living under a rock, this match is free-to-watch: meaning everyone can watch it with a TV or an Internet connection.
And of course, remember: it’s France vs Croatia. Not like, Brazil vs Germany or France vs Italy. So the turnout might not be that…strong.
France in the World Cup
France has always performed well in the World Cup: in 2014, they got into the Quarter-Final and lost to Germany by mere one goal. However, they had got into fans’ radar with their performance in World Cup 1998: prior to that, they did not even qualify for the 1994 and 1990 World Cup (which was surprising then).
1998 was France’s year: the dream team of Zinedine Zidane, together with then Arsenal legends like Thierry Henry, Emmanuel Petit and Robert Pirès, and also Manchester United’s famous batok Fabien Barthez, was made in heaven. They’re so unstoppable, they won the World Cup by trashing Brazil like a boss with three goals in the Final.
Following that, their performance has dripped a little: in 2002 and 2010, they got into the group stage. In 2006, they got into the Final but lost on penalties (also the match whereby Zidane headbutted Materazzi).
Croatia in the World Cup
As for Croatia, despite having some legendary players like Eduardo or Šuker, hasn’t been performing as well in the last few World Cup. Their best performance was also in 1998, where they got into the Semi-Final but lost to France (remember, back than in 1998, France was legend). They however won the second runner-up, winning Netherlands (back then a powderful team as well) 2-1.
In other Finals, they either just got into the group stages or did not qualify.
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France’s Performance in World Cup 2018
France is on form this year, as they sailed through the group stage with two wins and a draw. Their first challenge came with a Messi start to the Round of 16, facing another favourite Argentina, but they won with a goal fest of 4-3, then kicked Uruguay out with two goals during the Quarter-Final and finally, won with one goal against Belgium in the Semi-Final. They’ve been pretty consistent and of course, it’s expected of them,
Croatia’s Performance in the World Cup 2018
I hate Croatia and I don’t deny it, coz they’re the team that killed England’s hopes of winning the World Cup. And they’re just lucky #justsaying
Croatia was in top form during the group stage, winning all three matches. Soon after, they depended on their luck (I’m bias and I know it), as they won the Round of 16 and Quarter-Final through penalties. In the Semi-Final against England, they also scored their goal during extra-time – and it was due to some shoddy defending by England (so, luck, yah).
Odds of Results, According to Google
Do you trust Google? Then you’re just like me who hopes that Croatia would be trashed by France, because somehow, there’s a “Win Probability” and France has 50% of winning while Croatia has just 21%.
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Singapore Pools seem to agree, as the odds of Home United winning against Balestier Khalsa FC is just 1.37.
Oh, sorry. Wrong match. I got confused: didn’t know there were so many matches ongoing today.
Here: the odds of France winning is 1.87.
You know, I’ll prefer to look at it from another angle: the odds of Croatia losing is 1.87 #TakeThat
Players to Look out for
Unlike Portugal, whereby all eleven players are named Ronaldo, France and Croatia have players that complement each other to take them to where they are now.
Luka Modrić, the captain of the Croitia team, is one to look out for despite his age. The 32-year-old experienced Real Madrid midfielder so far has the most number of Man of The Match awards, together with Harry Kane. Win it tonight and he’ll be alone at the top (I still support Harry Kane!!1!!)
Over in France, you can’t miss out the Manchester United star Paul Pogba. The midfielder seemed to be able to play in any position, except perhaps the goalkeeper. The Patrick-Vieira-styled player, who’s only 25 this year, is one of the most promising star, especially as a playmaker.
This is Like 1998 All Over Again
Back in 1998, when both teams were on form, they met in the semi-finals. If you’re alive in 1998, you’d remember the exciting match: a French defender Lilian Thuram scored two goals after Croatia took the lead.
Yah, a defender. He tackled the ball at the other side of the field (I ain’t kidding), got the ball and scored #likeaboss
Croatia was playing against a 10-men team when Laurent Blanc was red-card-ed out, but hey: that didn’t stop France from winning the game eventually as they parked a bus in front of the goal post after they took the lead.
Exciting times, man.
I think 1998 will happen again (coz please, no extra time, tomorrow got to work…)
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