France's was simple, Croatia's brutal

Can Modric lead Croatia to their first-ever World Cup title

Can Modric lead Croatia to their first-ever World Cup title

Most consider France to be the favorite for the match at the Luzhniki Stadium, just like two years ago when the country's national team faced Portugal in the European Championship final at home.

Didier Deschamps has told his France players they can win the World Cup if they focus on the three Cs - calmness, confidence and concentration.

Antoine Griezmann showed enormous calm under pressure to bury his first-half penalty, while also setting up France's opening goal as the No7 proved to be a constant threat to Croatia's backline.

The first match was the most momentous - a 2-1 win for France in the 1998 World Cup semifinals at Stade de France outside Paris.

Pavard has been such a revelation for France at FIFA World Cup 2018
Pavard has been such a revelation for France at FIFA World Cup 2018

They have since proved too strong for the Argentines, Uruguay and Belgium, and they are rightly favourites in the final, which is a repeat of the 1998 semi-final.

"Of course we know what's happening in France, all the more so after seeing all the images after the Belgium game".

Milan Badelj gave the Croatians the lead in the second half but his goal was cancelled out by Iceland's Gylfi Sigurdsson, who scored a penalty.

Croatia had started full of energy but fell behind when Mandzukic, who scored the extra-time victor against England in the semi-final, became the first man to score an own goal in a World Cup final when a Griezmann free kick skidded in off his head in the 18th minute.

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"We took the hard path, probably we will be the only team at a World Cup to have played eight games to get to a final if you tally up all the minutes", admitted Dalic.

It seemed crucial and definitive, but was followed by a 65th minute scorcher from French wonderkid Kylian Mbappe, who drilled home a low shot from 25 years for his fourth of the tournament. Inside the centre, cheers were deafening when Croatia scored their first goal to briefly tie the game at 1-1. Griezmann went down easily to win a free kick and he whipped the ball in and Mandzukic flicked the ball into his own goal to put France 1-0 up.

Croatia have done the same in Russian Federation, needing penalty kicks to beat Denmark and hosts Russian Federation before defeating England in extra time in the semi-finals. If they're not we have great players on the bench who are raring to go.

France has shown throughout the tournament it is comfortable, perhaps even prefers, counter-attacking.

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After three successive extra-time knockout games, the chances of another Croatian comeback seemed slight but they looked dead and buried six minutes later.

"We have this inner strength from the beginning of the tournament with which we can overcome any challenge".

We'll be counting down to kick-off ( 4pm United Kingdom / 6pm local time / 1am Australia) on this liveblog, bringing you all the choice cuts from The Guardian's World Cup coverage and keeping you abreast of any breaking news.

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