In this summary – The Rivals compare the pre-tournament outlook on Croatia with how they look coming into the Final and who can have an impact.
In one of the more predictable groups, France’s star-studded roster brings along with it the highest expectations they’ve had in quite a few years.
It’s safe to say they’ve met expectations, but these players could become legends in their country and kick-off an amazing decade in French football if their young core can come together and pull out a win for the French. They’d become heavy favourites to take the next one in 2022.
Antoine Griezmann – Coming off a 19-goal campaign in La Liga where his club finished 2nd place, the striker looks to build on the success he’s had in previous international duties, scoring at a rate of a goal every 2 games. Much more is expected of him this time around as he’ll be looked at as the main man on France’s front line.
His WC: Antoine has kept this pace going on football’s highest stage, chipping in with 3 goals in 6 matches, and doing exactly what he needed to do to get his team to the Final. A world-class player, Greizmann will look to contribute at least one more in Russia to bring the gold back to France and maybe even have his face put on a stamp.
Paul Pogba – Paul Pogba is expected to be the main man in France’s quest to take back their place as giants.
His WC: While Pogba hasn’t been a firecracker on the scoresheet, (0 goals), he’s been the main point man in the middle of the pitch, which is most important. He’s doing his job exactly as he should be. The spine of the French team has been strong to this point, and while he’ll have his hands full with Modric and Rakitic, he’s more than capable of winning that battle.
Kylian Mbappe – At only 19 years old, he was also one of the highest priced transfers on record, falling behind only his PSG teammate, and perennial Ballon d’or challenger, Neymar. While it’s not known exactly how involved he’ll be when the tournament commences, it’s intriguing to think of how potent this offense could be with him included. My prediction is, he’s going to play a lot, and bring it.
His WC: Well, I have to say I was bang on with this one. Mbappe has taken the world by storm, and it looks as if there’s nobody that can stop him. He’s made blazing runs, scored 3 goals from open play, and dazzled audiences. The Croatian defence is going to get a steady dose of Mbappe today, and they’ll be hard-pressed to stop him.