Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup Final: France Emerges World Champions After 20-Years
France has emerged the reigning world champions for the second time having defeated Croatia in a six goals scintillating final between the two European teams.
England’s Harry Kane is the tournament highest goal scorer winning the golden boot ahead of Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku and France Kylian Mbape.
FIFA’s President Gianni infantino describes this year’s tournament as the best ever FIFA world cup organized, while crediting Russia with fantastic hosting.
When a team reaches the FIFA World Cup Final, it is because they have overcome every obstacle and shown exceptional qualities, and in doing so have turned their dreams of lifting the trophy into an attainable goal.
The teams in the Final have every reason to believe that their names could soon be added to the exclusive list of people with the description ‘World Cup winner’ on their CV.
Our team offers three reasons why Les Bleus win the 2018 edition in the deciding match against Croatia.
Both defensively and going forward, the French have impressed throughout the tournament. The stats speak for themselves:
- Since the start of the competition, France have trailed in a game for a total of only nine minutes
- Ngolo Kante has won back possession 48 times at Russia 2018, the most of any player at the tournament
- Hugo Lloris has saved each of the last seven shots on target that he has faced
- With eight victories in his last 11 matches (73 per cent), Didier Deschamps has the highest win percentage of any coach to have taken charge of at least ten matches at the FIFA World Cup
- Kylian Mbappe became the youngest player since Pele (in 1958) to score in the final of a World Cup.
2. Team spirit
“The World Cup does not respect talent, only teams,” declared Belgium coach Roberto Martinez ahead of his side’s semi-final defeat to Les Bleus. Didier Deschamps’ men are an object lesson in togetherness.
Firstly, at the footballing level: every player can make a decisive contribution or score a crucial goal. The proof is there to be seen in the profiles of their goalscorers since the start of the knockout rounds: defenders, midfielders and forwards have all risen to the occasion.
Secondly, at the human level: as demonstrated by a squad whose substitutes flock as one to celebrate goals with their team-mates on the field of play, the only star in this team is France itself.
They have been transformed from a collection of individuals into a close-knit group. From the third-choice goalkeeper to the head of security, from the starting player to the assistant coach, everyone is 100 per cent involved and committed to the team’s mission. It is the mark of a team capable of going the distance.
Twenty years after their first and only world title, the French repeat the trick. It is symbolic that the team standing in their way, Croatia, still seeking revenge for a semi-final defeat during that triumphant campaign in 1998. If France were to win on Sunday, Didier Deschamps would become only the third man after Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer to win the world title both as a player and as a coach.
All the ingredients for a fairytale ending are in place, and the planets seem to be aligned: 2018 will be the year of the second blue dream.
CROATIA DESERVE TO WIN THE WORLD CUP
1. A miraculous collective and maximum motivation
Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic has done something incredible. The atmosphere in the team has never been better, something the players have repeatedly said.
They have felt like a real family during this World Cup, having been together for 50 days. The players look like they would die for each other on the pitch in the effort they put in. Despite playing in three consecutive extra time matches, they have shown that their desire to win as a collective is very high.
2. Mental strength and character
Denmark, Russia and England — those were three come-from-behind wins for Vatreni, with two of them coming from winning in penalty shootouts. The Croatian comeback kings dominated those games from a mental and physical perspective.
Captain Luka Modric repeatedly said: “We have shown our character.” Croatia’s strength of personality will serve them well in the final against France. Every World Cup winning team throughout history has had to have a great amount of character.
3. Experience equals self-confidence
Modric is the leader of this great Vatreni generation. Besides the Real Madrid talisman, there are other stars in Dalic’s squad, including players from Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Liverpool like Ivan Rakitic, Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Perisic, Mateo Kovacic and Dejan Lovren. With an average age of 27 years and ten months, Croatia have a lot of experience and self-confidence as well, because almost everyone has their place in their clubs’ first XI. They are all well aware of their capabilities.