A youthful France faces veteran-laden Croatia for Word Cup

We have not trained for the World Cup final,’ says Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic

All three of Croatia's knockout-round games went to extra time, meaning its players have played 90 more minutes - effectively an additional game - than France's since June 30. But France will have too much for Croatia and will win by two goals.

France are in their third World Cup final after winning in 1998 and losing to Italy in 2006.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Final: Samuel Umtiti's victor against Belgium was only his third goal for France.

"I hope we will overcome those today and that all my players will be ready to play in the final".

Unlike Croatia, France were among the favourites right from the start.

"Of course we know what's happening in France, all the more so after seeing all the images after the Belgium game", goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said on Saturday.

The Croatians may not have the raw talent of France but have shown that they have the determination, work rate, and composure to perhaps cause a final upset.

While Croatia was in total control in the early minutes of the match, it was France who would strike first, when Antoine Griezmann struck a free kick into the box that caught the head of Croatian Mario Mandzukic for an own goal to give Les Bleus a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute. And yes, that includes France's first and only in 1998.

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After France lost the 2016 European Championship final on home soil in agonizing fashion, largely the same team has bounced back to secure World Cup glory.

Mbappe then scored himself, his fourth of the tournament, to make it 4-1.

An own goal from Mario Mandzukic and a penalty from man of the match Antoine Griezmann, given after intervention from the video referee, put France up 2-1 at half-time, with Ivan Perisic getting a temporary equalizer.

Croatia opened the World Cup with a 2-0 win over Nigeria in their traditional red and white checkers.

"It's a huge pleasure and privilege to play in such a match, there's nothing more attractive as a professional football player than to play in the World Cup final", he told reporters on Saturday. One thing that brings me happiness is that all my players tell whether they are not 100 per cent fit. Croatia's defence is considered their weak link but they continue to do the business and get results.

It looks as though they will have to dig deep once more to find the strength to play from behind.

The Croats needed penalties to get over Denmark and Russian Federation in the round of 16 and quarter-finals respectively, while they dispatched England 2-1 in extra-time in the semi-finals. They have managed to qualify after extra time three times in a row.

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