Published: Sun, July 15, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Laurence Reese

The mind says France, but the heart wants Croatia

The mind says France, but the heart wants Croatia

"After 20 years we are in the final with France".

They have been inspired by mercurial midfielder Luka Modric while coach Zlatko Dalic, who only took over previous year with the squad in chaos, has coaxed remarkable performances from his team. France will be gunning for its second World Cup title, while Croatia could become just the ninth team to ever take home the trophy, and the second smallest country to win it all.

The 19-year-old Mbappe has been the biggest sensation at the tournament in Russian Federation, scoring three goals - including two against Argentina in the round of 16 - and creating havoc for opposing defenses with his pace and his agility.

Les Bleus laboured through their group, beating Australia and Peru by the odd goal and drawing with Denmark in the only goalless game of the tournament. They are very good also in the team.

Belgium's players criticized the tactics France used in their 1-0 semifinal win as Didier Deschamps' team sat deep and Samuel Umtiti's headed goal came from a corner, but Griezmann dismissed the criticism.

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The cavernous 80,000-capacity Luzhniki Stadium will be the setting for the final, but the biggest celebrations will take place on the streets of the winning country. How we play to win the game I do not care! We need relaxation and rest to regain freshness for tomorrow. They deserve to be in the final just as much as us.

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.

Perisic was the star of Croatia's 2-1 extra-time victory over England at the same Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday, scoring his country's equaliser and then setting up the victor for Mario Mandzukic.

"I have tried to manage my play, when to keep the ball, when to accelerate".

If you don't have cable or any pay TV package, you can still watch the World Cup 2018 finals for free with a digital antenna. And he said he had changed the way he plays for France in order to benefit the team.

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"They are a team playing in the World Cup final, a team with players who have a lot of experience". But if they will be unable to give their all, they will tell us.

They rode their luck against England in the first half and there is a question over whether Ivan Perisic's equaliser should have stood due to a high foot.

"I have this feeling there will be hundreds of millions rooting for us on Sunday", said Ivan Rakitic.

"We have some minor injuries, minor problems, and I hope my players will be ready. If not, I have great players on the bench who will be raring to go".

The win in Kaliningrad put Croatia in a strong position after Argentina were held to a surprise 1-1 draw by Iceland in their Group D opener.

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