Croatian will write history in Moscow today. Coach Zlatko Dalić will lead Croatia in the final against France, the biggest match in the history of Croatian football. Neither team has anything to lose, and Croatia has long overcome its goals.
Here are ten reasons why Croatia will overcome France, too, as reported by Goal.hr on July 15, 2018.
1. Wonderful character, fight, and determination
At this World Cup especially, Croatia has shown their might. Croatia came back from losing in each of their last three games, showing miraculous character and ultimately getting the result. The games against Denmark, Russia and England went according to the same principle – so let it continue. Croatia’s character in Russia has overcome many challenges, and Zlatko Dalić’s side is ready to take on one last challenge.
Croatia’s players run when their legs won’t listen. Three games into extra time, they’ve secured three wins. And it will be the same in the final – their legs will slowly fail, but their hearts will not give up. The motives of Croatia’s players cross all borders. Croatia is prepared to press for 118 minutes, and there are few answers for such a tactic. Even against France…
2. The 20-year significance
Brazil won its first World Cup title in 1958, Argentina won their first in 1978, while France won its first title in 1998. So let this tradition continue, let 2018 be Croatia. For the first time in their history, they have reached the final of a major competition and are on their way to the gold.
With so many records and figures remembered in football, it’s surprising that no one really objects to the charming tradition of it all. Instead, football fans usually take them as fact. That said, for the first time ever, Croatia could become world champions.
3. There is no pressure
Croatia played almost every game in Russia under great pressure. Nigeria brought the pressure of the first match, Argentina put the pressure on for the first place in the group, and against Iceland, the reserves had to prove themselves. Denmark was Croatia’s most difficult game from a psychological point of view, but Russia is a rival who can’t be measured by quality with Croatia. And they should not have fallen to them. There was even pressure against England who was talented yet arrogant.
Now, before Zlatko Dalić’s players, they can only be winners. Win or lose, these 22 warriors are already heroes. Croatia has no pressure today, but France can only win. And we remember the pressure on France at the 2016 Euros…
4. France has no creator and weak defensive backs
Today, France is a true working team. Didier Deschamps has no creators in the midfield but the right workers. Individuals such as Kante, Pogba, Matuidi, Nzonzi or Tolisso help the defensive part of the game and are a solid block, but there is no Zinedine Zidane or even Dimitri Payet. France has no creator, which can be dangerous in the final.
The defensive backs? France has Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez. The first is the stopper for Stuttgart who is forced to be the right back for France, while Lucas Hernandez is not overly important at Atletico. Today he awaits his quick and dangerous teammate Šime Vrsaljko.
5. A valuable experience of great matches
Croatia and France are very different in such matches. True, six French football players (Lloris, Umtiti, Matuidi, Pogba, Griezmann, Giroud) have already lost in one big final (European Championship 2016) but let’s take a look at the club level. Only Raphael Varane played in the Champions League final, which was already won by Modrić, Rakitić, Mandžukić, and Kovačić.
Luka Modrić and Ivan Rakitić are much more experienced players, not to mention the experience of Mario Mandžukić’, while France, on the other hand, is not as strong. Individuals such as Mbappe, Dembele, Lemar, Tolisso, Pavard or Hernandez lack the experience of Croatia’s players, which we’ve seen play a pretty important role. Take a look at Croatia’s win over England, for example.
6. It’s about time Croatia finally beats France
Croatia and France have played five games against one another in the history of the national teams; France won three times, while two games went without a winner. Realistically, Croatia is a football superpower, and it is imperative that France adds another win to their belt. There is no better time than now for Croatia’s victory, which would not only be remembered for a lifetime, but for all generations to come.
7. The football world is on Croatia’s side
France is the absolute favorite in this final, and even the betting shops are on their side. And Croatia?
They are small, but they are great, they are outsiders, and they have fans all over the world behind them. That alone means a lot. Croatia will play the final today for almost a billion people, and many will get acquainted with Croatia for the first time. The world of football will be on Croatia’s side today, there is no doubt about it.
Croatia has been waiting for revenge against France for 20 years. Croatia first wrote World Cup history in 1998, but somehow, Lilian Thuram has stuck in their heads. The game in Moscow, however, writes a new story.
Croatia or France? This is no longer a struggle for the final, but for the world title. Somehow, Croatia has waited 20 years for this, and there is no better time or place for a big win. And for a new “football revenge”. Luka Modrić & Co. can play for themselves, for Croatia, but also for the 1998 generation, which they already surpassed a few days ago.
9. Everyone wants Luka Modrić to win the Golden Ball
The Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo debate has bored us for years, and for the last nine years, the top two footballers have fought over the Ballon d’Or – but that’s all over now. Ronaldo and Messi were declared the best, regardless of team achievements. Both of them have won this award five times, though it has never been given to Xavi, Iniesta or Ribery, regardless of the miraculous results they’ve had.
Luka Modrić is now a candidate for the most prestigious individual award in the football world, the World Cup Golden Ball, but the big question is whether Croatia’s captain has the power behind him like the others do. Could Modrić beat out Mbappe and Griezmann?
10. This story has to go to the very end
Croatia’s road to the World Cup final is a great story. Still, in the qualifications, Ante Čačić was sacked, and Zlatko Dalić became Croatia’s hero. Croatia secured their placement in a big competition and in Russia reached the final. Meanwhile, there was the Kalinić case, and Vukojević, though Dalić sorted it all without any problems.
We all know that Croatia is a small, but a proud country with 4.5 million inhabitants – and each of them (almost everyone) is living for the success of the national team today. Indeed, Croatia has come to a great finish, which is an incredible success, but also a brilliant screenplay. For the Oscar, however, we still need that last step – winning the World Cup gold.