2018 World Cup Final: France v Croatia Odds and Betting Preview
After one of the most thrilling and entertaining World Cup tournaments in recent memory, just two teams remain; France and Croatia who will do battle on Saturday to decide who will be World Champions from Russia 2018.
France are looking to win their second World Cup following their first triumph back in 1998. Croatia, after eliminating England are making their debut appearance in a World Cup final after eclipsing their previous best performance of the semi-final, twenty years ago.
It is no secret that this game on Sunday afternoon – kick-off: 16:00 GMT – is the biggest game of football in the world. It is hoped in spite of the magnitude of the game that it is played in an attacking and entertaining manner, as some previous finals have been dour, unattractive affairs. With some of the finest players world football has to offer on both sides, we can expect the game to live up to the hype.
Path to the Final
Didier Deschamps’ French team saw off a spirited Belgium side as the Semi-Final stage to reach the Final with a Samuel Umtiti header in the second half. The French have improved as the tournament has progressed and have had a difficult path to the final after seeing off Argentina and Uruguay before dismissing Belgium.
Youthful striker Kylian Mbappe has been a revelation for a French team packed with quality players, including Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Rafael Varane amongst others.
Croatia, led by Zlatko Dalic, have performed admirably to reach the Final, considering that Croatia have needed extratime – including penalties against Denmark and tournament hosts, Russia – following their 120minute victory over England on Wednesday night.
Many columnists, including myself, suggested that the Croats would surely tire late against England in Moscow, however, it was completely the opposite. The Croatians were the strongest at the finish and could’ve beaten England by more than the 2-1 margin. They cannot be underestimated against the French.
The best price for a France victory within ninety minutes can be taken with Betway and Unibet amongst others at 19/20. The Draw is next best with 188BET at 40/17, while a maiden World Cup victory for Croatia can be had with MarathonBet at 79/20.
In terms of winning the Jules Rimet trophy by any means, France are a best-priced 5/11 with Unibet and 888 Sport, while Croatia can be taken with Bet 365 at 2/1.
After all of the extra minutes that Croatia have played to reach the final, it proves that Dalic’s team has huge resolve and resilience, and that will make it a very difficult game for France. However, France has looked a cut above the rest in my view in this tournament and are my confident selection to win the World Cup on Sunday. A punt just short of even money looks to be decent value here and not to be missed.
Individual Goal Scorers
An indication of French superiority in this game is shown in the First Goalscorer betting market. Five French players – two are unlikely to start the game – are ahead of the first Croatian player to score the opening goal.
Heading the list is the Atletico Madrid man, Antoine Griezmann at 91/20 with Marathon Bet. The 27 year old has scored three goals so far in the tournament, including a goal apiece against Argentina and Uruguay in the knockout phase. Griezmann is a big game player, who is likely to be very popular in this market.
Teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe is a shoe in for the Young Player of the Tournament award following some scintillating performances from the 19 year old. The PSG star is top priced 5/1 to score the first goal on Sunday with Boylesports and Black Type. Mbappe also has three goals so far in this campaign and with his raw pace and supreme skill, the teen star could be the ultimate difference between the two teams.
Olivier Giroud is expected to keep his position as the lead striker for the French as MarathonBet go 63/10 on the Chelsea man to notch the opening goal. Giroud has started the last five games for his country at the World Cup but has yet to find the net – perhaps the biggest game of all could be the one!
Croatia’s best chance of providing the First Goalscorer according to the bookmakers is Mario Mandzukic at the top price of 9/1 with Unibet and 10BET. Juventus striker Mandzukic scored the winner against England in the Semi-Final and has notoriously performed well on the big stage – he’s a player to consider here.
Others worthy of consideration include Ivan Perisic at 13/1 with Unibet and 888Sport. Paul Pogba is also a 13/1 chance with MarathonBet, while Croatian penaltytaker, Luka Modric could interest punters at the top price of 14/1 at Unibet and 10Bet.
Other Side Bets
A short-priced bet of interest is in the Half Time score betting market. A tense and closely fought opening first half is likely. At a generally available 5/4 for the score to be 0-0 at the break, this is one of the better punts at just over odds against.
If our ultimate ideal of a France victory does bear fruit, then the Draw at half time and France to be leading at full time is the one to follow here. This particular bet can be had with Unibet and 888Sport at the best industry odds of 39/10 and is decent value.
Our Correct Score offering is for a French victory by 2-0. Unibet and Sporting Bet both go 7/1 on this score line and provided that the strong French defence can maintain their form for one more game, it is a bet that could prove profitable.
Best Bets: (90 Minutes)
- France to win the game at 19/20 with Betway
- Draw at half time and France to be leading at full time at 39/10 with Unibet
- 2-0 France Full Time Correct Score bet at 7/1 with SportingBet