France vs Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow – Russia, 2018 FIFA World Cup.
This coming Sunday, July 15, 2018, 5:00 PM GMT+2; the biggest soccer will take place at the Luzhniki Stadium, is the national stadium of Russia, located in its capital city, Moscow. Its total seating capacity of 81,000 makes it the largest football stadium in Russia and one of the largest stadiums in Europe. As France and Croatia will battle it out in the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
According to GhanaSky.com soccer analyst through wikipedia, this will be the 21st final of the FIFA World Cup, a quadrennial tournament contested by the men’s national teams of the member associations of FIFA. The match will be held at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, on 15 July 2018 and will be contested by France and Croatia.
After Uruguay and Brazil were eliminated in the quarter-finals, a European side was ensured to win the World Cup for a fourth consecutive tournament. The match is also the ninth all-European World Cup final, having most recently occurred in 2006 and 2010.
The match is the third World Cup final for France, having won the 1998 final as hosts, winning 3–0 against reigning champions Brazil. France also contested the 2006 final, where they lost to Italy in a penalty shoot-out following a 1–1 draw. Only Germany (eight) and Italy (six) have reached more finals among European nations.
The match is the first World Cup final for Croatia in their fifth World Cup appearance. Croatia’s previous best performance was as World Cup debutants in 1998, when they finished in third place, losing 2–1 to hosts France in the semi-finals before beating the Netherlands 2–1 in the third place play-off.
The final is the sixth meeting between France and Croatia, with France undefeated in the previous fixtures with three wins and two draws. The two sides first met in the 1998 World Cup semi-final, with hosts France winning 2–1. Their only other competitive meeting was during the group stage of Euro 2004, which finished as a 2–2 draw. Their next and most recent meeting was in a March 2011 friendly match, which finished as a 0–0 draw.
Date: July 15, 2018, 5:00 PM GMT+2 on OFMTV.COM
Location: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia
Venue: Luzhniki Stadium
Event: 2018 FIFA World Cup
Match: Match 64
Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia.
Luzhniki Stadium Inside, Moscow, Russia.
France entered the 2018 World Cup as one of the favourites to win the tournament, particularly for their strong squad featuring several youth talents. The team finished as as runners-up to Portugal at Euro 2016, which the country hosted. The team qualified for the World Cup proper after finishing first in their qualification group, ahead of Sweden and the Netherlands.
At the World Cup, France were drawn into Group C alongside Australia, Denmark, and Peru. The team defeated Australia 2–1 in its opening match in Kazan, with a penalty called by the video assistant referee and scored by Antoine Griezmann followed by an own goal deflected by Australian defender Aziz Behich. In its second match, France won 1–0 over Peru on a goal scored by 19-year-old Kylian Mbappé, who became France’s youngest goalscorer at a major tournament.
The victory over Peru qualified France for the knockout stage, allowing manager Didier Deschamps to rest several starting players for the final group stage match against Denmark. The match at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow finished in a scoreless draw marked by misplaced passes and goalkeeping mistakes. The team’s group stage performance was characterised as lacking cohesion and failing to use its star players effectively.
Finishing as winners of Group C, France were matched in the round of 16 with Group D runners-up Argentina. France won 4–3 on two goals scored by Mbappé, who also won a penalty in the opening minutes. Mbappé’s performance drew comparisons to Pelé, who in 1958 was the last teenager to score twice in a World Cup match. In the quarter-finals, France defeated Uruguay 2–0 on a goal and assist by Antoine Griezmann.
The team advanced to a semi-final match against Belgium in St. Petersburg, which ended in a 1–0 win for the French with a corner kick headed into the goal by defender Samuel Umtiti. The French team, particularly Mbappé, were criticised for timewasting and other unsportsmanlike conduct in the semi-finals after taking the lead in the second half.
Croatia entered the 2018 World Cup as potential contenders, with their “Golden Generation” led by forward Mario Mandžukić and midfielders Marcelo Brozović, Mateo Kovačić, Luka Modrić, Ivan Perišić, and Ivan Rakitić. The team reached the round of 16 of UEFA Euro 2016, with one group stage match interrupted by protests against the Croatian Football Federation for alleged corruption that brought charges against high-level administrator Zdravko Mamić in 2017. Croatia qualified by scoring only 15 goals and finishing second to Iceland in their qualification group after appointing manager Zlatko Dalić amid a series of poor away results. Croatia advanced past Greece in the qualifying play-offs, winning the first leg 4–1 and drawing 0–0 in the second.
Croatia were drawn into Group D with Argentina, Iceland, and Nigeria, considered a difficult draw due to Argentina’s talent and Nigeria’s historic performances. In their opening match, the team earned a 2–0 victory over Nigeria, with an own goal caused by Mandžukić and a penalty scored by Modrić. Croatia went on to upset Argentina with a 3–0 win and finished atop the group with a 2–1 win over Iceland.
In the round of 16, Croatia played Denmark and earned a 1–1 after the two teams exchanged goals in the opening five minutes and a missed penalty from Modrić in stoppage time. Croatia won the subsequent penalty shootout 3–2, with three saves by goalkeeper Danijel Subašić and two saves by Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
The team advanced to a quarter-final fixture with hosts Russia, who had defeated Spain in the round of 16, in Sochi. The Russians scored their first in the 31st minute, but Andrej Kramarić equalised for Croatia eight minutes later and kept the score at 1–1 through the end of regular time. Croatia took a 2–1 lead in extra time with a header by Domagoj Vida, but Russian defender Mário Fernandes equalised in stoppage time to trigger a penalty shootout.
The shootout was won 4–3 by Croatia after two misses by Russia and a shot by Modrić that rebounded off the post and into the goal. Croatia became the second team in World Cup to win two consecutive shootouts, after Argentina in 1990.
After the match, a video of Vida saying “Glory to Ukraine” prompted controversy among Russians and a warning from FIFA’s disciplinary committee, which enforces a ban on political slogans. Croatia’s semi-final match against England at the Luzhniki began with a free kick goal by English defender Kieran Trippier in the fifth minute. Croatia resisted several attempts by England to score a second goal and earned an equalising goal of their own through a shot by Perišić in the 68th minute. The match was won 2–1 by Croatia after a 109th minute goal by Mandžukić.
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