2018 FIFA WC: France play Croatia as Russia 2018 reaches climax

Moscow, Russia (PANA) - France and Croatia clash in the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia on Sunday as the month-long football fiesta comes to an end.

The two European countries will settle any grudges they have at the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, when the match kicks off at  1500 GMT.

And for only the second time in the history of the FIFA World Cup, the same man will have the responsibility – and honour – of refereeing both the opening game and the final, FIFA.com, the official website of the world football governing body said.

The referee is Argentinian Nestor Pitana who, accompanied by Hernan Maidana and Juan Pablo Belatti, will match the feat achieved by his compatriot Horacio Elizondo at Germany 2006.

FIFA.com says there is a distinctly 1998 feeling to this World Cup Final, evoking more than a few memories of the global finals which saw France emerge victorious on home soil two decades ago with a 3-0 victory over Brazil.

Vatreni (Croatian national football team) will be out for revenge from their final four defeat against Les Bleus (French national football team) back in 1998, with the then debutants denied a place in a maiden final by French defender Lilian Thuram's only international goals.

France will be hoping their captain in the final that followed that semi-final victory just over 20 years ago is their good luck charm at the Luzhniki Stadium.

Didier Deschamps could become only the third man - after Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer - to lift the Trophy as a player and coach, if he can replicate from the dugout the successful final he had against A Seleção (Brazil nationak football team) in 1998.

FIFA.com says despite the deep connections to the past, these sides are very much living in the here and now. France were functional and firm against Belgium to see off the Red Devils 1-0 in Tuesday's semi-final while Croatia needed extra time - for the third consecutive game - to defeat England at the Luzhniki on Wednesday.

Can Croatia go one better than their heroes of '98 - or will it be Deschamps' day once again in world football's biggest game? The globe will be watching, and impatiently waiting for an answer.
-0- PANA MA 15July2018

15 Julho 2018 07:03:08

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