World Cup Final: France v Croatia – the head-to-head comparison
In the final of the 2018 World Cup, France and Croatia will meet on Sunday (from 5 p.m. in the LIVETICKER). Favourite France could win the second World Cup title in Croatia’s history, crowning their sensational tournament. How do the individual parts of the team compare?
Hugo Llroris was eyed suspiciously after a season at the Tottenham Hotspur, which did not go off without one or two mistakes. So far, however, no mistakes if the strong defensive lets something pass in front of him. Scratching Martin Caceres’ header and Toby Alderweirelds shot from the corner was world class.
How’s he doing against penalty shots? Mile Jedinak turned against him in the group stage, after which Lloris was no longer challenged. In the past season, four out of six attempts were made against him. He’s not quite sure about the ball on his foot.
Danijel Subasic has been between the posts at AS Monaco for years, but it was the World Cup that really made him famous. Especially as a penalty-killer: held against Denmark three times, also against Russia successfully. No goalkeeper has yet parried more than four penalties at a World Cup, Subasic could make it to the final.
Strong also in the current game, he prevented Harry Kane from falling behind in the semi-finals. The injury he suffered in the final phase against Russia seems to have been cured. The 33-year-old is not known for fishing out the unsustainable, yet he is a sure support. In 2014 he only sat on the bench in Brazil, in the final he could become a hero – especially in a possible penalty shoot-out.
Barca and Real work wonderfully together at Les Bleus. Especially Raphael Varane plays a very good world championship, with partly outstanding pass odds and good position play. Umtiti caused the unnecessary penalty kick against Australia, but could improve in the knockout phase.
Both remind of the age (Varane 25, Umtiti 24) of the duo Hummels/Boateng four years ago. Varane scored the leading goal against Uruguay, Umtiti also headed Belgium despite only 1.81 metres. In the final, they will be almost more dangerous than the offensive section when the ball is at rest.
At Liverpool FC, Dejan Lovren often sweats on fans’ foreheads because of his regular blunders. Improved in this tournament, but still good for a bad pass or clumsy duel.
He would do well to avoid free kicks somehow – but how to keep up in the sprint against a Mbappe is another question. One of the world’s best defenders is clearly in better hands against Giroud – as he put it after the England game.
Domagoj Vida made headlines with a pro-Ukraine video after the quarter-final against Russia, which earned him a warning from FIFA and booing from Russian spectators. The former Dynamo Kiev player apologised, but there are likely to be a lot of Russians in the stadium on Sunday, not necessarily for France, but against Croatia. A house number on the pitch, especially in aerial combat. It also lacks the very high final speed.