2018 FIFA World Cup:
Final (Sunday, 15th July):
France Vs Croatia (6PM)
Croatia will be playing in their first ever FIFA World Cup finals this weekend against the 1998 winners France.
The Croats defeated a 10 man England side 2-1 after extra time to qualify for the final.
Croatia, who had reached the semi-finals in 1998 fell to Kieran Trippier’s curling free-kick near the edge of the goal area on five minutes.
Ivan Perisic volleyed in the equalizer in the 67th minute to force the game into the added thirty minutes of extra time.
Mario Mandzukic then grabbed the lead in the 9th minute.
Croatia now squares off with France who defeated Belgium in the first semi-final played on Tuesday.
Samuel Umtiti’s header earned France the slim 1-0 win over Belgium.
It is fitting that France now lie in wait in Sunday’s final.
Croatia’s success at France ’98, when they finished third in their first World Cup, has hung heavily over this current group. Robert Prosinecki, Davor Suker and Zvonimir Boban have offered a source of inspiration but also cast a large shadow and the will to carve a new piece of history has been apparent to anyone who has spent time with the Croatia camp recently.
“What our players did today – the strength, the stamina and energy levels they showed was fantastic. Some players played with injuries that they wouldn’t have played with for other games. Nobody wanted to give in. Nobody wanted to say, I’m not ready. Nobody in extra time wanted to be subbed. This is what made me proud. They never gave up. We were 1-0 down in three games in a row and have overturned all these and that showed character – we are a nation who never give in.” Zlatko Dalic, the Croatia coach, said as quoted by the Daily Telegraph.
On Saturday, Belgium will engage England in the third place play off match.