World Cup final 2018 – France vs Croatia, LIVE score and build-up

World Cup final 2018 – France vs Croatia, LIVE score and build-up: Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba and Co looking to repeat Les Bleus 98 performance at the Luzhniki Stadium

  • Both teams name unchanged line-ups for the World Cup final
  • France face Croatia in the final of the 2018 World Cup in Moscow on Sunday
  • Didier Deschamps is looking to guide Les Bleus to their second world triumph
  • Croatia are aiming for their maiden title after reaching final for the first time 
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The showpiece of world football is finally upon us as France and Croatia battle it out at the Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday.

Didier Deschamps is aiming to repeat his 1998 success by bringing the World Cup to France for just the second time, while the Croats are bidding for their maiden triumph.

Les Bleus are the heavy favourites ahead of the final, but Luka Modric and Co showed they are capable of upsetting the odds with their semi-final victory over England. 

Join DAN RIPLEY for all the build-up and the live action with kick-off at 4pm BST…

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‘France-Croatia should be a fine World Cup Final. I think France will win because they’re a better side and they have the best players in the tournament in Kante and Mbappe but Croatia have Modric and they have shown an iron will in this tournament. I hope it’s a cracker.’

Just for the second time in this tournament too with the first all that time ago in their opening game win over Nigeria.

Not too sure about those Eiffel Towers dangling from a hat, the big question is though why is this person carrying a pen on the front of his France shirt. All seems a bit random.

No surprises in the starting line-ups. Both teams are unchanged…

I’m hoping more than just Samuel Umtiti has turned up to help Didier Deschamps’s France team this afternoon or it could be a long afternoon for Les Bleus.

Croatia meanwhile look in a pensive mood, perhaps thinking of a story they can make up about the French media after the game…

Or maybe it is just me. All I know is I was in the same room as the World Cup trophy, the temptation to run around with it aloft would be far too tempting.

Kylian Mbappe to follow in Pele’s footsteps by becoming just the third teenager EVER to play in a World Cup final when France face Croatia

GEORGE FLOOD: Kylian Mbappe is set to become just the third teenager ever to feature in a World Cup final and the first for 36 years when France take on Croatia this weekend.

The 19-year-old forward has played a pivotal role in Les Bleus reaching their third final in Russia, establishing a reputation as the next true star of world football with a series of exciting displays.

Read more here

And that previous post takes us on Croatia’s route to the final. Unlike France they blitzed the group stage with dominating wins over Nigeria and Argentina, before sealing a late victory over Iceland to top the group.

But they were average in a 1-1 draw with Denmark before struggling against the host nation Russia in the 2-2 quarter-final draw – with penalties needing to defeat both.

An improved second half performance dismantled England 2-1 after extra-time in the semi-finals.

One concern for Croatia is the fact that three successive periods of extra-time mean they have effectively played a game more in the knock-out stages than France.

Probably should not have said that though or Luka Modric might think I am disrespecting his side, lacking humility or some other nonsense…

More World Cup fixtures, tables and results

‘Croatia are a day less in rest, they are not going to go into the game confident since they only had to play England in the semi. They are shaking in their boots.’

Jacuess, Rouen-Normandy, France

Seems a bit harsh, Jacuess. You could argue France’s route to the final included one of the weakest Argentina sides in recent history, a Uruguay side missing a crucial player with only Belgium offering a real test.

Despite that, I would just about make France the best team of this tournament.

It is not the most inspired cover for the biggest match in football, but you can be sure it is not cheap either.

For what is just a glorified magazine, this will set you back 800 Russian rubles, or just under £10. To be fair, that is the same cost as this year’s FA Cup final programme.

Convulsions, confusion and conspiracy: 20 years on from one of the World Cup’s most astonishing stories, what really happened to Ronaldo in the final of France ’98?

ROB SUMMERSCALES: Ronaldo ended France 98 with the Golden Ball — a trophy given to the best player at the tournament — but he and Brazil missed out on the main prize amid one of the strangest subplots in World Cup history.

Brazil were beaten 3-0 by hosts France in the final on Sunday July 12, 1998 in a match where the biggest incident occurred before it had even begun.

Read more here

It’s another of those gigantic Croatian banners that dominates Manezhnaya Square, and I am still no closer over how they fold it up and carry it around everywhere.

It was quite a curious group stage for France, who never looked like being beaten yet seemed to labour to top spot in Group C. For well over an hour in their opening game, France were toiling against Australia, while only profligate Peru finishing prevented the South American side from grabbing what would have been a well earned draw. As for the 0-0 draw with Denmark… worst game of the tournament, a damn waste of everyone’s time.

But France stepped up in the last-16, with Benjamin Pavard’s stunning volley (the spin of the ball is so oddly satisfying) helping them edge past Argentina, 4-3. A Uruguay side without Edinson Cavani were made to look pretty average in a 2-0 quarter-final win while Belgium were seen off 1-0 in the last four.

It does seem like France have played their way into form at an ideal time in Russia.

More FIFA World Cup fixtures, results and tables

The omens at least don’t look good. In this century we have seen no more than two goals in a final and even then the last three have gone to extra-time.

You could argue France’s 3-0 win over Brazil in 1998 was a good match (more on that in a moment) but for me you probably have to go back to Argentina’s 3-2 win over West Germany in 1986 for the last entertaining final.

Am I just being harsh, was Italy vs France in 2006 actually good to watch? Let me know in the comments

Here’s a few Croatia fans in Moscow today to show you…

Mbappe? Cavani? Lozano? Maguire?

HERE ARE the combined XIs selected by our team of reporters. Do tell us your stars of the tournament in the comments section below.

The nation of Croatia is only just over 20 years old. It won independence after the break-up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s and has a population of just 4.1million. Yet it has produced some of the most spellbinding footballers of recent years, from Robert Prosinecki and Zvonimir Boban to Ivan Rakitic and, of course, Luka Modric.

Twenty years ago their team, spearheaded by Davor Suker, reached the World Cup semi-finals in France. Today, they will bid to become the ninth nation to win the trophy, after Brazil, Germany, Italy, Argentina, Uruguay, France, England and Spain.

Their conquerors in 1998 were, yes, France. Their captain? Didier Deschamps, who is managing this team. Spooky…  

France, meanwhile, will win their second World Cup if they repeat Lilian Thuram’s heroics from that unforgettable semi-final against Croatia.

France and Croatia fans are partying together in Moscow. That’s the spirit.

Pogba or Modric? Kante or Rakitic? Mbappe or Mandzukic?

Sportsmail has rated every player from both teams ahead of the final. CLICK HERE to find out who comes out on top, and whether Luka Modric is a perfect 10/10…

Apologies in advance for this. But here’s some interesting, albeit cringeworthy and rather queasy, pictures from last night’s festivities. Ahead of the final, Russian president Vladimir Putin took Gianni Infantino and his fellow FIFA executives to a special performance of opera at the world-famous Bolshoi Theatre.

In this reporter’s humble opinion, it certainly has. Or at least the greatest tournament I have ever seen. So much drama, so many great matches, so many exciting storylines. And, of course, England going deep into the tournament.

Before we turn our attention to France and Croatia, CLICK HERE to have a read of Rob Draper’s inside story on how Gareth Southgate transformed the Three Lions from laughing stocks to semi-finalists inside two years.

Good morning and welcome, everybody, to the biggest day of the sporting calendar. 

That’s right – it’s the Wimbledon men’s singles final.

Apologies – that is, of course, just a joke. No matter what the committee at the All England Club like to think, nearly the entire world will not be watching tennis this afternoon. 

For today is the World Cup final: France v Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

So sit back and enjoy all the build-up, including breaking news and the latest pictures, ahead of the big game, before we bring you all the drama from the game itself.

Just one thing – try not to think too much that this game could have featured England… 


  • 18 matches, 19,744 miles and nine cities: Ian Herbert’s… France and Croatia both have stars that can lead them to… Croatia are building order from chaos… they have reached… From Harry Maguire to Kylian Mbappe: Sportsmail’s experts…

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