France vs. Croatia
Sunday, July 15 at 11:00 AM ET
Betting odds at Jazz Sportsbook:
Over 2 (+110)
Under 2 (-120)
Croatia and France will clash in the World Cup final, looking to take home the biggest prize in football. France beat Belgium 1-0 in the semifinals, with defender Samuel Umtiti scoring for a French team filled with offensive talent. Croatia on the other hand showed resilience coming from 1-0 down to win 2-1 in extra time when Mario Mandzukic scored in the 109th-minute.
This will be Croatia's biggest game in their country's brief existence and it will also be a rematch from the 1998 World Cup semifinals, when France won 2-1. Croatia has never beaten France in five games. The teams have played three friendlies, all France victories and a 0-0 draw in the group stage of the Euro 2004.
These two teams last met in 2011 and several players who were involved in that game will be in action on Sunday, including Hugo Lloris and Blaise Matuidi for France and Dejan Lovren, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic, Vedran Corluka, Luka Modric, Domagoj Vida and Milan Badelj.
Croatia will have to recover from yet another knockout game that went to extra-time (their three consecutive extra-time games are equivalent to playing one more whole game than France), while France had an extra day of rest and their games haven't gone longer than 90 minutes yet. Also, they rested some of their stars in their 0-0 draw with Denmark in their last group stage game (the only goalless game of this World Cup).
France: Lloris, Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Lucas, Pogba, Kante, Mbappe, Griezmann, Matuidi, Giroud
Croatia: Subasic, Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Strinic, Rakitic, Brozovic, Rebic, Modric, Perisic, Mandzukic
Croatia can cause France problems and this game could easily go to extra-time tied 0-0 or 1-1 but there are deficiencies in their play, as seen against Russia and in the first half against England and if the highly-skilled French team pressures them they can prevail in a close game.
On paper, Croatia is a weaker team than Belgium but France will not take them lightly like England did. Croatia has lacked killer instinct at times and it can cost them against a very tough opponent.
World Cup Pick: France -110 at Jazz Sportsbook
Check odds here: https://goo.gl/dVwAAb
Odds as seen on ESPN Chalk: https://goo.gl/ji6GJZ