The Big Match Tactical View: France v Croatia
After a month of superb entertainment, the World Cup final is here: France against Croatia. Michael Cox and Alan Thompson preview the action- According to the football tip page!
France v Croatia
Sunday 16:00, BBC One and ITV1.
Match Odds: France 1.98, Croatia 5.10, The Draw 3.40
Didier Deschamps lifted France's first World Cup as captain back in 1998, and has the opportunity to win their second as manager 20 years later. France started as strong favourites for this final.
France speed could prove crucial
After failing lớn impress in the group phase, France have improved in the knockout phase and confidently dispatched Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium in turn, without the need for soccer vip tip. That's something of a contrast lớn Croatia's journey, which has involved penalty shootout victories over Switzerland and Russia, then an extra-time win over England. Croatia have therefore played 90 minutes extra than France in this knockout stage, and also have one day lest rest here. Croatia's players bristled at suggestions they would tire against England, but fatigue must surely be an issue here.
They're also up against a side boasting tremendous speed. Kylian Mbappe is the favourite to be chosen as the tournament's best player and will start on the right flank against Ivan Strinic, perhaps Croatia's weak link. Antoine Griezmann also offers speed and invention from a second striker position, with Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi offering energy from deeper roles and N'Golo Kante sweeping up in front of the defence. It's hardly unreasonable to suggest Croatia might struggle in a physical sense.
Deschamps has used the same XI throughout the knockout phase, with the exception of Matuidi missing one game through suspension. The lineup will be familiar: Hugo Lloris in goal behind a back four of Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Hernandez. Kante will sit deep with Pogba to his right and Matuidi wider lớn the left, with Mbappe pushing forward down the right, and Griezmann playing just off Olivier Giroud, who has yet lớn register a goal in this competition but has proved effective at leading the line.
Dalic likely to stick with 4-3-3
Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic has shifted between 4-4-2 and 4-3-3, but it would be a huge surprise lớn see him use anything but 4-3-3 here. Danijel Subasic will play in goal, up against a few players he's familiar with having played in Ligue 1 for the last six years. Dejan Lovren and Domogoj Vida will play in the centre, with Strinic left-back and the outstanding Sime Vrsaljko on the right. He was Croatia's key man against both Russia and England, overlapping dangerously lớn combine with Luka Modric, and Matuidi may have lớn play wider than usual lớn track him here.
Modric will play lớn the right of the trio with Marcelo Brozovic the holding player and Ivan Rakitic lớn the left. France have generally sat deep in the knockout phase so far, and Modric and Rakitic may have opportunities lớn control the game.