France v Croatia Betting Tips – 15th July 2018
Football, it turns out, is not coming home. England’s semi-final defeat broke hearts throughout the country but it sparked huge celebrations in Croatia.
A superb performance from the second-half onwards against England saw Croatia qualify for their first ever World Cup final. After requiring either penalties or extra-time in each of their knockout matches so far the Croatia players will feel as though fate is on their side.
Unfortunately, France are very much not on their side.
Les Bleus had to hang on and defend in numbers in the closing stages of their semi-final against Belgium but few teams have shown the attacking verve that they have shown during the tournament.
Croatia’s Luck to Run Out on the Biggest Stage of All
Croatia were full value for their semi-final win over England. After a rocky first half in which England could, and perhaps should, have taken control, Croatia grew stronger as the match went on.
That was surprising given that Croatia’s prior two knockout stage matches went all the way to penalties and many players looked out on their feet in the quarter-final against Russia.
What Croatia did very well against England was control the midfield thanks to some smart use of the ball and fluid movement. That will be tougher against France who are stronger in midfield while the pace of Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann and the effective hold-up play of Olivier Giroud will pose a constant threat to the Croatian defence.
Croatia have done incredibly well to make it to the showpiece event of world football but we don’t think they’ll be able to stop Didier Deschamps’ incredibly talented France team. Therefore, the main pick in our World Cup final betting tips is on France to lift the trophy at 5/11 with 888Sport.
Battling Spirit Could See Croatia Take Yet Another Game Beyond 90 Minutes
When you compare the two squads it is clear that France are the stronger side on paper. Football, as the old saying goes, is not played on paper though. Croatia have the combination of quality on the ball, defensive organisation and fighting spirit to ensure that this is a very competitive match.
The French defence was resolute against Belgium but we are not sure they’ll be able to keep another clean sheet against this incredibly motivated Croatia side. Therefore, consider a bet on both teams to score at 10/7 with Unibet.
It may also be worth taking a bit more of a risk by betting on France to win the tie in extra-time at 8/1 with Coral.
Croatia’s growing strength during the England game was impressive but the players are surely bordering on fatigued now. That is not good against the pace and trickery that France possess in attacking positions so Les Bleus could well fire late on to win the World Cup for a second time.
Giroud’s Role to Open the Door to His Attacking Teammates
The job that Olivier Giroud has done for France in Russia has not gone unnoticed back home. The Chelsea striker has been rightly praised for his all-round forward work despite the fact that he has not been at his best in front of goal.
425 - Olivier Giroud has now played over seven hours of football at the 2018 World Cup (425 minutes) without managing a single shot on target. Frustrating. #FRA #BEL #FRABEL #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/LHhrFlQCWO— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 10, 2018
Giroud will keep Croatia’s physical centre-backs tied up for long periods which will allow Griezmann and Mbappe to do the damage.
Mbappe is the player Croatia will be most worried about and they’ll have plans for him but Griezmann is a very tough player to mark out of a game and he looks a good bet to score first at 9/2 with Ladbrokes.