Read my Semi-Final predictions.
And then there were two. France and Croatia. It’s a match that I predicted would happen at the World Cup. It’s just a bit later than I predicted. Either France will lift the World Cup for the second time or Croatia will lift it for the first time. But who will it be?
France have overcome Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium in the knockout stages and won each match inside 90 minutes. They were excellent against Belgium in the semi-final and kept a potent Belgian front line quiet. Croatia overcame Denmark, Russia and England in the knockout stages and all three matches went to extra time, with the first two requiring penalties. England had the better of the first half in their semi-final, but Croatia came into the game more as it progressed and deservedly won.
Which is all very well and good, but who wins? I can’t look beyond France. They’ve been solid when they need to be and have goal threats across the forwards. If the Croatian full backs try to push on as they did against England to pin wide players back, it will leave a lot of space for Mbappe to run into and he will be difficult to catch. If Croatia stay deep, I fancy France to be able to create chances from Giroud knocking balls down and linking up play. I predict a 2-0 victory for France.
Leave a comment with: who you think will win the World Cup Final; why; the score.
Read my predictions for the Quarter-Finals.
France V Belgium
Two of Europe’s best teams compete for a place in the final. It would be the first final for the French since 2006 and the loss on penalties to Italy, whilst it would be Belgium’s first final. France knocked out Uruguay with a 2-0 victory in the Quarter-Finals and Belgium beat tournament favourites Brazil 2-1. Both teams are full of potential match winners, making it a difficult game to call. I can see extra time being required to separate the sides and the French bench making the difference. France to make the final is my prediction.
Croatia V England
An unlikely Semi-Final, so both teams will be looking to take advantage of being in this situation. It would be a first final for Croatia if they win and England’s first final since… well, you know when! Croatia made the Semi-Final via penalties against Russia, whilst England comfortably saw off Sweden 2-0. Croatia are the better side technically, but they are an ageing team who have required penalties in both of their knockout games. Whoever controls the tempo is likely to end up winning, with England wanting a quicker tempo than Croatia. I think England will make the final.
Leave a comment with your prediction on who makes the World Cup Final.
Uruguay V France
The French put in their best performance of the tournament in beating Argentina in the Last 16, whilst Uruguay eliminated Portugal. Two very good teams in a game that could go either way, but I think the French have a bit of extra quality and it will be enough to get them past Uruguay and into the Semi-Final.
Brazil V Belgium
Brazil have been improving through the World Cup and knocked out Mexico in the Last 16; it seems as though everyone is still waiting for the promise of the Belgian team to deliver a performance that they should surely be capable of with the players at their disposal. The Last 16 tie against Japan saw them have to claw back a two-goal deficit and score the winner with the last kick of the game. Giving up two goals against Brazil would surely end their tournament. I expect Belgium to play better than they did against Japan, but it will not be enough and Brazil will progress.
Sweden V England
The Swedes saw off Switzerland in the Last 16 with a 1-0 victory and England finally won a penalty shootout in eliminating Colombia. England are expected to progress with ease, but Sweden beat Italy over two legs to qualify and topped a difficult Group F, with their only loss being to Germany with a goal deep in stoppage time. It won’t be an easy game for England, but I think they will progress to the Semi-Final.
Russia V Croatia
Russia produced the shock of the Last 16 in knocking out Spain, whilst Croatia struggled against Denmark; both sides required penalties to progress. It’s difficult to imagine Croatia struggling again, especially as Russia are unlikely to get players forward to push the Croatian wide players back; it will be a big ask for Russia to keep their shape and soak up pressure again, especially as the Croatian possession is likely to have more attacking intent than some of the Spanish possession had. I expect Croatia to knock out the hosts.
My predicted Semi-Finals:
France V Brazil
England V Croatia