France prevailed in the FIFA World Cup final against Croatia as they were able to put in another efficient performance to see off dark horses Croatia. It was a polished performance from France as they were able to score at will while absorbing the pressure from Croatia. Deschamps’ men invited Croatia onto them before they were able to use the likes of Pogba, Griezmann and Mbappe to hit Croatia on the counter. It proved to be effective as this gave them the timely goals while they were able to stifle Croatia.
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France (4-3-3) Manager: Didier Deschamps
Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez; Pogba, Kante, Matuidi; Mbappe, Griezmann, Giroud
Croatia (4-3-3) Manager: Zlatlko Dalic
Subasic; Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Strinic; Broozovic, Modric, Rakitic; Rebic, Perisic, Mandzukic
- France have predictably sat back in a 4-4-2 shape allowing Croatia to come at them. Pogba and Kante/Matuidi have marked Rakitic and Modric when they have advanced, so they have dropped deep into their halfspaces to receive the ball and make switches in play
- Croatia have created openings typically from their retrieval of second balls in the midfield. Modric and Rakitic dropping off has helped them drag their markers towards themselves slightly, opening space for the likes of Perisic and Rebic to run into.
- France exploited the spaces left behind by the Croatian fullbacks as they kept coming up the field in search of an equaliser. Pogba’s press resistance and ability to pick the correct pass in transitions combined with Mbappe’s movement and pace facilitated this
France’s individual quality prevailed in the end over a Croatian side that was unable to keep up the intensity beyond the first half. Croatia can hold their heads high as they outdid themselves by making it till the finals while Didier Deschamps joins the elite company of Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer as the only people to have won the World Cup both as player and manager. The match turned out in a predictable manner as it was sit back in defensive solidarity and break out in numbers and quality for France. It was a fitting match for a World Cup final in terms of entertainment but a bit lacking in tactical discipline and quality as Croatia were found wanting a bit.
For more information on the patterns of play and how the game would have panned out, read our tactical preview here