The 2018 FIFA World Cup final is set.
France and Croatia will play for all the glory. Croatia has never appeared in a World Cup final and France last won the title in 1998.
France has, somehow, reached the finals without ever really having given the impression it has reach greatness or maybe it has without playing to its potential.
They sleepwalked through its group, with single-goal victories against Australia and Peru, and a mind-numbing goalless draw with Denmark.
It was only in the quarterfinals, against Uruguay, that France finally broke the trend of squeaking by.
France, for the last month, has done what is required and it will be confident that can do so, one last time. They are dangerous precisely because of that! They have another gear, another level that it can reach out to, when it is necessary.
France coach Didier Deschamps has faced some criticism for being too pragmatic and functional despite having so many stars in his squad, but the organization of the team is superb and Deschamps now has the chance to become the third person World Cup history to win the title as a player and as a coach.
Croatia’s achievement in reaching the finals of the World Cup has been Cinderella like – It’s a United States thing!
They played in three consecutive extra time matches, the team somehow dug deep down and finds the energy needed to fight off defeat each time.
Against Japan, they came back from a two goal deficit to win in dramatic fashion and then versus England, they again came from behind to win its match.
Croatia is the second smallest nation to make the FIFA World Cup tournament, but its achievement in reaching the finals, it’s not only a tremendous source of national pride but a testament to their will.
With all due respect to France…There is a romantic quality that attracts us to teams, which just refuse to admit defeat and Croatia has it.