Betting: France to rule the world in Moscow

 
Ben Cleminson
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Samuel Umtiti scored the only goal as France beat Belgium 1-0 in the World Cup semi-final (Source: Getty)

So near, but yet so far.

But for some missed first-half chances, and some tired defending, it could have been England lining up in the World Cup final on Sunday.

Instead, it will be Croatia who face France at the Luzhniki Stadium to compete for football’s ultimate prize.

While English fans will rue the Three Lions’ inability to make the showpiece, it certainly shouldn’t detract from what has been a monumental effort from the Croatians.

Read more: World Cup 2018: How Croatia beat England to reach the final

For a country with a population of just over four million (behind Liberia, Oman and Mauritania at the last count) that only gained independence in 1991, and have overcome three successive trips into extra-time at this tournament, to reach the final is nothing short of remarkable.

Zlatko Dalic has some genuinely world-class talent at his disposal in Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Rakitic, and captain Luka Modric – though the Real Madrid midfielder did look noticeably jaded at the end of the semi-final victory.

Croatia will have to pick themselves up to face a France side who have grown in strength as the competition has progressed.

While the other pre-tournament favourites have crashed and burned along the way, Didier Deschamps’ outfit have moved seamlessly through with the minimum of fuss – as seen in the professional way they closed out their 1-0 semi-final win over Belgium.

Strong in defence, robust in midfield, and with the flair of Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann in attack, Deschamps has put together a mighty team.

Read more: World Cup 2018: What we learned from day 25

Captain for France’s only World Cup win in 1998, the former Marseille boss will hope to become just the third person to win the trophy as both player and manager.

I think he’ll be able to add his name to Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer’s on Sunday.

While Croatia have showed great spirit to get this far, France really do look a class above, with quality in every single position – and playing three 120 minute matches in 11 days has to catch up with Croatia eventually.

I see France getting ahead, before closing the door on Croatia in the same professional way they have throughout the tournament.

Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has kept four clean sheets from six games so far, and I think he can add another on Sunday.

Back France to win to nil at 2.75 with BETDAQ.

Pointers

France to win to nil - 2.75 (BETDAQ)

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