Thank you!! The only reason I started watching soccer was because my dad always did, but I got really interested in it. I’m not that good at understanding it too much, but I still find it interesting. Hopefully I’ll get better at sports talk soon lol.
Croatia is so good. Luka Modric from Croatia is without a doubt, an amazing midfielder, a machine and leader on the field, and one of my favorite players. He has guided his team effectively from his position to lead them to this success.
I decided to watch Croatia vs England over the course of two days as I was busy. Watched the first half the one day, the second half (with extra time) the following day. This gave me a closer/better observation of how the game played out. Throughout the game, I honestly felt that it became increasingly obvious that England got too comfortable after that first goal by Trippier. A beautiful penalty kick:
And so, they did. To be honest, I could feel the arrogance just oozing from the screen during the entire match in my opinion. I think some of the players playing for England’s team felt like they were already in the finals, which hypothetically they were after the first goal, but they forgot about a very, very hungry Croatia. You can’t just assume you’re making it to A when you haven’t even reached B yet. It’s not over until it’s over, especially at a crucial point in the tournament like the semi-finals or any position in the tournament to be honest. That’s no understatement. Perisic at the right place in the right time:
England did well… for the first half. After that, their performance deteriorated over time after Croatia’s equalizer. Croatia was defensive at first, then switched to offensive while England did it backward by switching from offensive to defensive. Poor defense, lack of consistency on England’s side; they were literally LETTING Croatia invade their side, constantly giving them multiple chances to score the goal. Take this for example, this teamwork:
And then, the ambition and opportunity presented to Mandzukic that sent Croatia to the finals with France:
Maybe I was wrong, about Croatia’s complacency. I don’t think complacent or loss of consistency is the right word. Because they did stay consistent, they didn’t get complacent. I think maybe this is their style of adapting to their opponents and learning how to counterattack them which they have nearly perfected. Their attitude, style of play, and flow after the first half completely changed for the better for the rest of the game. They played with such a good attitude, heart, and passion. Such beautiful flow during the second half and during extra time. England didn’t do terrible, but they had some nice flow too despite the mistakes they made. Props to Southgate (their coach) for keeping his cool even after the defeat.
The game was very fun, especially during the second half (with extra time). Both teams shifted gears after Croatia’s comeback but Croatia played so much better. I think England just didn’t know what to do after Croatia’s return. But a very fun game. This was a game that progressively got better and better every single minute. I loved it and I wish I had the opportunity to have watched it live since I was too busy that day. France vs Croatia is looming pretty close now (takes place tomorrow, July 15th on Sunady; final match of this World Cup)
But before we get to the finals, the third place place match will go underway between Belgium and England, which is happening right now. A rematch from the group stage. England can still bring it home in third place. Belgium too. They both can still make some magic here as-well. There’s still so much at stake here, especially Harry Kane from England’s side and Romelu Lukaku from Belgium’s side in the race for the golden boot. Kane at 6 goals, Lukaku at 4 goals. I think this will be much better than their group stage match.
Update: Belgium vs England. Belgium 2. England 0. Third Place Playoffs. If there was one word to describe this game in my opinion? Satisfying.
I honestly feel that their victory was well earned and I am happy for them. They could have got further, and to some, they took the harder route, but they came very far in the tournament and I was not surprised at that. England, on the other hand, has some alright players. But this team, with some additional improvements, can be a very good team in the future.
Belgium scored a goal in the first 5 minutes:
A DANGEROUSLY close goal by Eric Dier from England; had he just given it a little more force, that would’ve been a goal, no doubt in my mind. So close:
2nd goal for Belgium by Eden Hazard:
England’s defense still needs some work when playing against teams such as Belgium. In future international games, that should be a priority to work on because I feel like they have the offense down, but not the defense as much.
Anyways, for some reason, third place playoff matches are so fun to watch lol. That Belgium vs England game was a lot better than their first encounter in the group stage, and rightfully so. Third place is still something to hold onto. I don’t really have much to add on Belgium vs England. We saw both teams at their best here, but Belgium was the better team. Both Kane, Lukaku, and other key members had opportunities to score goals but neither of them did. This puts Kane just one up further for the golden boot unless something happens tomorrow to upset that which would be almost rare.
Well earned by Belgium. I honestly don’t have a lot to say here but it was a satisfying game.
I am completely anxious and excited for tomorrow! Everyone I know will be watching with crossed fingers…congrats on Belgium for third place!
@FreakyEvilMargs Me too, haha. It’s hard to believe that in one day, the World Cup will conclude. What a ride this World Cup has been; full of surprises and an impressive showcase of performance and athleticism and nothing but joy. France vs Croatia is just the pinnacle, the cherry on top of this entire thing. So excited for tomorrow.
Now, by many, France is the obvious favorite here for several reasons. It’s not just because their team is well constructed and strong and how they’ve played, but because of Croatia. Some think that fatigue could play a factor tomorrow for Croatia. If you think about it, it makes sense. Croatia has gone into extra time/penalties for 3 consecutive games in a row in the knockout stage. That’s probably going to affect their performance in some form. Not to mention that France has had an extra day to rest up. While this could be the case, I think Croatia can still put up a fight tomorrow based on previous performances.
Honestly, I think this final will be very unpredictable for multiple reasons.
You have France, a powerhouse on the field and the former World Champions who have won this thing before all the way back in 1998. They remind me a lot of 2014 Germany in terms of their role in the World Cup. They had the toughest route in the World Cup, even more so than Belgium, in my opinion. France has a very well constructed team, with a tough defense that’s difficult to break through as we’ve seen… They have slightly more experienced players and youthful players such as Griezmann, Pogba, Giroud, Mbappe, and so forth.
But so does Croatia. The case with Croatia is that they’re the underdogs, and they don’t mind being that. They’re likely to use this as motivation in the match and adapt to France. They are a well all-around team who has proven to create their own opportunities and take advantage of them. Croatia has never won a World Cup and has reached their first ever finals. They are the second smallest country to compete in the finals of a World Cup. Croatia has guys like Modric, Rakatic, Lovren, who could potentially be dangerous for France in the game as much as guys like Mbappe could present a threat to Croatia as well if we are talking about fatigue, and we ALL know how fast Mbappe is lol.
And these two opposing teams should be no strangers to each other tomorrow as most of them play together in clubs, so I am very interested in seeing how they perform.
If I had to pick for a team to root for or choose to win this thing tomorrow, I couldn’t. These are two of my favorite teams with some of my favorite players. It would be kinda interesting and cool, to see a new world champion this year in Croatia, but a French victory would come nothing as a surprise to me considering how good this roster is. I wouldn’t mind at all because it would be a well-earned victory. I think that most people will be very satisfied with this game tomorrow, and the winner in general.
So, this is the final game! Whatis everyone’s thoughts on the World Cup final tomorrow? Who are you rooting for, who do you think is going to win? France, or Croatia?!
I really believe France will win, and I’m personally rooting for them, but it would also be extremely shocking (in a good way though!) if Croatia won, especially since they’ve never won a World Cup (i believe they never have, and france won one in the 90’s) and they’re a pretty small country compared to other countries.
I was shocked about germany and s.korea
Oh yeah. I remember that game very well. Germany’s national football team is known as “The Machine”. But this machine was nowhere near the level we saw from Germany 2014’s World Cup. Many people including myself were shocked. But some weren’t. Out of 4 of 5 of the last World Cup winners/world champs, only Brazil has managed to avoid the curse, with France, Italy, Spain, and now recently Germany unable to get out of the group stage the following World Cup after winning the previous one. Crazy, huh?
It’s a little strange not to have Germany be somewhere on the final card, whether it be Quarter-finals, semi-finals, or even the finals itself. Since the 1950s, they have always got to at least the quarter finals and beyond in the World Cup. So we are pretty used to that lol. But that changed this year. At the same time, it is a breath of fresh air this year especially with France vs Croatia in the finals which will happen in just about 3-4 hours from now. Some fresh faces and underdogs such as Croatia has made it very far!
You are correct. Croatia will be the second smallest country (about 4 million now) to ever reach a World Cup final, the first being Uruguay (about 1.7 million at the time). Croatia has never won a World Cup, never been in the finals except for the semis… France and Croatia met in 1998 in that WC’s semi-final, with France beating them 2-1. So there’s some history there. Croatia will be looking to salvage that defeat with this significantly improved roster. France will be looking to make up for that UEFA loss they took from Portugal in that final in 2016.
If you’re looking for an underdog, look no further than Croatia. When they play, France shouldn’t underestimate Croatia, though, and I don’t think they will. It would be foolish for the players do so. They’ve seen what Croatia can do. If we look at statistics alone, the only team to really present a challenge to France this World Cup was Argentina, all the way back from the Round of 16 that ended 4-3 in normal time. France never went into extra time or penalties this entire World Cup and was able to defeat competitive opponents such as Uruguay, Belgium, and so forth in normal time.
France the defensive advantage, Croatia has a midfield advantage. France’s defense is going to be so difficult to break. Paul Pogba is key for the defense; he has been able to counter most shots. But Croatia is amazing in the midfield, controlling and playing the game in this aspect in a way that often leads to success. Just look at what Luka Modric has been doing all this tournament. Impressive stuff. Honestly, I’d go as far to say Croatia has as much chance as France does (even if France has more); being the underdog, they’re going to want it even more than they do; they’re very hungry.
Croatia must defend extremely well and perform with these long passes in order to open up opportunities, against tougher opponents as proven before. They’ll have to work smarter and strategically against France. Because they have mostly defeated their opponents with extra time or penalty kicks, fatigue could be one of Croatia’s disadvantage as stated before. However this could also be an advantage of endurance for Croatia. This is why the starting lineups will be very important. I’d say the coach should put guys like Pivaric in and let Strinic sit this one out as a substitute. His legs are still fresh and he can go.
Mbappe will be looking to score here. If he scores, he’ll be the second teenager besides Pele to score in the World Cup final.
So much at stake today! I can’t contain my excitement any longer lol. There is nothing like the World Cup finals… and there is no doubt in my mind, that a Croatian victory would send shock waves throughout the planet. No one would be expecting it, and it would be such a huge, underdog success story for Croatia; a masterstroke, a happy ending to an underdog story for them and an inspiration for years to come; almost like a movie you’ve been invested into. Even if they lose to France today, they should be very, very proud of how far they have come. This is a big day with a huge opportunity for France and especially Croatia…
This is it, everyone! France vs Croatia, the finals! We are 5 minutes away!
History will be made. We are going to see something special today. May the best team win, and good luck to both.
OMG. You have seen me this whole way praying for France…,…THEY WON! I was doing jumps on my bed and singing the french anthem! I love it… thank you everyone…
And just like that… the 2018 FIFA World Cup closes out with France lifting the trophy after a 4-2 win. They stood victorious as they secured their second World Cup win ever after 20 years against Croatia in a such a hard-fought, emotional, bittersweet rollercoaster of a final game.
So as usual, let’s break this thing down in case you missed this amazing match.
I have so much to say about this that I don’t even know where to begin. Finals are always so special and entertaining. If you didn’t watch previous games, this was definitely one to watch. This was a very historical, and entertaining, and controversial, and not just because it was the final.
So, right off the bat from the start, you can tell that Croatia already has a game plan. They controlled most of the game, using both short and long tactical passes to each player as I mentioned before. They took possession of the ball more than France did and pushed France back to the wall. But Croatia, despite dominating the game for its entirety, experienced a very unlucky first half. Don’t get me wrong. I am not discrediting France. They have one of the best national teams in the world and had a hell of a second half. They are one of my favorite teams, but I have to admit that they were very lucky for the first two goals in the first half. I’m sure anyone who was paying very close attention to detail could have seen that.
So just how, how were they lucky in the beginning? Well, France’s first goal came as a result of a free kick that wasn’t even a penalty/foul… I feel that this should NOT have been awarded. It was not a penalty or a foul… if anything, it was a dive. If you check the replays, Griezmann clearly dived - there was barely any contact at all from Brozovic. HUGE mistake by the referee not using the VAR and a disgraceful act by Griezmann. This was the turning point in the game for me, most likely the deciding goal. It completelty changed the tone of the finals. My god…
I love France’s team, but Griezmann doesn’t get a pass from me just because France is one of my favorites. It is a clear dive by Griezmann just before Brozovic comes in, barely any contact in that time lapse… I was absolutely shocked when the referee awarded this free kick. Terrible decision. The big question: Why wasn’t the VAR or better judgment used here?! Just have a look for yourself in the clip below. The VAR rules need to defientlty be improved…
I was not a fan of this, at all. As a referee, especially in a World Cup final, you simply do not award those kinds of penalties or free kicks. But the game had to continue, and so… France takes the lead from here 1-0, from this free kick, unfortunately for Croatia… and yeah some people were saying Mandzukic made history by being the first player to score into his own goal in a World Cup final. Some people said Croatia didn’t deserve it but to be honest, the ball was heading into the goal anyway. I can’t defend Croatia in that aspect. The Croatian defense and defenders like Vida and of course the goalkeeper, Subaic are at fault, despite the false free kick given. Griezmann was wrong for doing that. It was a cheap and dirty move by him, and it was a mistake and unfair decision by the referee, but the game must continue and there are opportunities that you must maximize by staying on top of your game no matter what happens I geninuely felt Croatia’a pain though, I really did. But it still could have been prevented.
But then, Croatia’s Ivan Perisic equalizes this with this pretty cool goal:
Now, the second biggest controversy of the game wasn’t too far behind.
A corner kick from Griezmann… turns into a handball to Perisic. Initially, this goal was not awarded, but the ref was instructed to use the VAR (now you want to use it? lmao). According to the rules, a penalty kick is supposed to be awarded if there is a deliberate handball within the penalty zone. And the hand movement in relation to the ball is very important. Now, this is up for interpretation, but I am neutral on this. Lots of debate on this. I understand how it could have been a deliberate handball and how it couldn’t have (due to reaction time)… many people think either of these. It’s just hard to tell, but the ref’s decision was what was put through. Either way, very unlucky and a bad first half for Croatia… And thus, a penalty kick was awarded and scored…
Not a goal, but someone from the crowd managed to escape security and make it onto the field… was an interesting moment, but nonetheless. EDIT: Actually, this was 2 protestors of a punk activist group. You can read more about it in an article, but I’m not sure if that violates the forum guidelines so I’ll just leave out the article and name of the group to avoid accidently promotion which is not my intention:
Anyways, that was pretty much the end of the first half. In the second half, Croatia still dominated, but France went more offensive. Paul Pogba sent this ball through the net with this great goal:
And just before you thought this was all you’ve seen, there was more. Kylian Mbappe is something else. He was just waiting for his moment in the whole tournament.
And he got it, with this beautiful, lovely, just perfectly timed goal. Just beautiful. Croatia’s defense was lacking here. With this goal, he became the first teenager since Pele to score in a World Cup final. What an impressive start to a career Mbappe has already. This guy is just awesome. Just awesome:
And finally, the last goal of the game.
I don’t think I need to elaborate here, lmao. I think this goal speaks for itself. It was hilarious but unexpected at the same time. Lloris was completely caught off guard. Mandzudkic pretty much redeemed himself there. Croatia never gave up, but France won the war in the end.
Based off what we’ve seen here, the results probably would’ve been roughly the same if the referee was a bit more logical with his decisions… But we’ll never know now, won’t we? Whether this would’ve been the case or not, the best team had to win int he end, and France was the best team from start to finish despite all the controversy. But if you want my honest opinion, Croatia played better with heart, passion and ambition. France played better with power, strategy, and precision.
sigh… They say time flies when you’re having fun. This game, and well, the tournament as a whole, was no exception to that statement. The World Cup finals are always an exciting and beautiful matchup to watch, especially with a matchup such as France vs Croatia. Coming into this tournament, Croatia was always a dark horse. Very few people expected them to get all the way to the finals and I was one of them. This underdog story is always one that most can connect with and I cannot stress that any further after what I felt today.
To be honest, and I’m not afraid to admit this, I felt very emotional after this final. I haven’t had this feeling since that way since Germany vs South Korea’s game from the group stage, but this one was more than that; I felt something in my chest that I don’t know how to describe. I didn’t cry, but I was on the verge of doing so. I felt a hole in my heart. It felt like a mix of emotions of happiness, bittersweetness, satisfaction and more that I don’t know. Just so many emotions at one time. I felt extremely proud of Croatia for their performance this World Cup. It was so sad to see them go out the way they did, but it is also heartwarming. I felt bad for Modric the most, especially during the awards ceremony. The rain pouring down, the gratitude showed was just so bittersweet and heartwarming yet heartbreaking. He looked like, to me, that he wanted his team up there with him too… but they didn’t win. It’s just so emotional. This whole World Cup has been emotional lol. The golden ball awarded to Modric was well earned. Mbappe obviously earned that youngest player award, too. This is the greatest success in Croatia’s sports history. Even if they didn’t win, they managed to come so far. I will never forget this Croatian team. All Croatians and Croatia fans should feel proud of how far they’ve come in this. Finally, a special congratulations to France on their World Cup victory! This is your time to celebrate. France faced the most competitive teams in the entire World Cup. They beat Argentina that had Lio Messi, Uruguay that had Suarez, Belgium that had Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku. That is no easy feat. They had the toughest route to the finals and they overcame all obstacles on the way there until the end. This was one of the best well-constructed teams that I have ever seen on the field. Players such as Modric, Pogba and Mbappe have transcended to new heights. The amount of skilled talent is just unbelievable. Many players made a name for themselves this year on the French side, and I hope to see them go on to do great things on the field for many years to come.
It feels very strange knowing that waking up tomorrow, there’s not going to be any more World Cups games until 4 years from now. ^^; However, there is still the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup! The Women’s World Cup will take place in France next year, and I’m definitely looking forward to that. I never watched it before, so it should be fun! I feel like it doesn’t get enough love/attention as the men’s. There’s also the Africa Cup of Nations, qualifying matches for the next World Cup in 2022, in Qatar and so much other football events throughout in the future…
I am so proud of these two teams and I cannot stress that enough. One of the best and entertaining World Cups I’ve seen, in my opinion. Hats off to France and Croatia, and to all of the football teams who have entertained us this summer.