Some of us have waited four years for this. Today is the day we crown a new World Champion. Will it be a team that has never won before let alone been in a World Cup Final (Croatia) or will it be the team that has won one and lost one (France).
Before we get to the game analysis, I want to give thanks to King Hippo, Don T, Wakezilla, and Litre_cola for contributing so much insightful fútbol analysis not just for this World Cup but for our Soccer Saturdays and Champions League Match Days.
You guys have helped make this World Cup super fun for me and it’s been a joy to share it with you.
I also want to thank our intrepid commentists and writers that dipped their toes in the World Cup pool and found that the water was actually pretty nice.
Let’s just say I’ll be stealing from SonOfSpam’s Poland preview for a long time.
Speaking of pools, our contest is down to the last game and there are only two outcomes which will influence three people.
Should Croatia win, Wakezilla will win our contest! Should France win, both Spur and Clint Greasewood would overtake him for first place. The tiebreaker is total goals scored in the knockout stage and I do not think the guys understood the instructions as their guesses were 5 and 11.
Therefore, I will provide a jersey of their choice to each of them should they win.
Good luck, gentlemen, we’re all counting on you!
CROATIA V FRANCE
Balls: I REALLY like this Croatia team. What I wrote for the semifinal easily applies here. That team DOES NOT GIVE UP. You’ve got to admire that.
They are also, however, incredibly talented. Mbappe gets the headlines, but Croatia’s players play for big teams in big games and have experienced and surpassed extreme pressure in club games.
France’s players are young. Extremely talented, but young. I do not see them having the mental fortitude to stand the enormous pressure that will be on them.
Predicción: Croacia 2 Francia 0
Hippo: Our dear Murder Checkerboards have given us so very, very much. They knocked out the Rooskies. They knocked out the Brits. Left it all on the pitch on both occasions. One wonders how they have anything left in the tank whatsoever. And to be able to chase around the fastest, most technically sound side in el torneo? One that also registered a clean sheet against the mighty Waffles? I just don’t see how they do it. Les Frogs Magnifique, Grand Champion. Mbappe tallies a brace.
My #HAILGAMBLOR ticket for the big day:
$55 on Les Frogs at 3-1 exactly (+1650)
$55 on Les Frogs to win PLUS more than 2.5 goals scored total in match (+285)
$45 on Les Frogs to win by exactly 2 goals (+450)
$45 on Mbappe first goal scorer (+580)
Predicción: Francia 3 Croacia 1
Litre_Cola: Well I had Les Bleus in the final against the Brazilians. That isn’t too bad. In the final I think that the front 3 of the French will be too much for the Croat defense. In my THC addled brain I also believe that the back 4 of the French has been absolutely outstanding this tourney and nobody saw that coming. They have gelled and play extremely tough.
Mbappe has captured everyone’s eye in this tourney and his pace has been something that I have never seen before. At full tilt the kid is so good on the ball it is incredible He will be a menace for the next ten years unless the money, fame and women go to his head and then he will still ply his trade in Ligue 1 and drink wine. Griezmann hasn’t been outstanding thus far but he can takeover a game at the blink of an eye and works as a perfect foil to Giroud and Mbappe. Speaking of Giroud he hasn’t scored yet this tournament but has done so many things up front to get his teammates loose that I’ve been very impressed. I know a striker is supposed to bang in goals but he takes defenders with him which makes the field much bigger for deep runs by the French. Pogba hasn’t lost his mind yet. Could he be maturing?
The Croats have been a great story like the little engine that could. These guys don’t tire, they are never out of the game and even in injury time I expect them to score. Modric is the real deal, it is a shame that he plays for the Francoists.
Thanks everyone for reading my taeks and terrible predictions. You all have made this World Cup extremely enjoyable for me. Allez Les Bleus!
Prediction: France 2-1 (AET) Oh this one is going to extra time.
Wakezilla: Well shit. This preview is sad to write because the next World Cup preview won’t happen until November, 2022. That’s four and a half years from now! Will I or this hell world even exist then?
Either way, it has been a lot of fun doing these previews—well, on the days when I had more than 10 minutes to write a preview and had time to edit. Thanks to the regular DFO Kontributors for letting me participate in this Lesser footy tournament.
Originally, I was going to do another write-up about why you shouldn’t cheer for France, but it was going to sound too much like my England preview. So, just read my England preview, add more Islamophobia, add in an openly casual racist president who calls himself a Roman God, and you’ll get the gist. Also know that even if France wins, despite 12 of 23 players having African descent, this will not motivate French society to change or have an open mind to immigration because we have already seen what happens to France after a multi-racial team wins the World Cup. I’d say the nadir likely occurred in 2010, after France was ousted in group stage. Once word got out that there was a player mutiny, many of the papers were declaring that the squad was too black and Arab to win and represent France. If France loses today, the same shit will happen because most of the players do not sing along when La Marseillaise is being played, which pisses off France’s growing centre-right and right wing parties. Essentially, France is like a team of Colin Kaepernicks, if Kaep was kneeling during the anthem during the 49ers’ Superb Owl run.
This French team is very interesting because despite being a colonizing country, most Africans have deemed this French squad as Africa’s team, which has delightfully pissed off a lot of racists.
Don’t get too enamoUred with Griezmann’s moves. He has done blackface.
To paraphrase Dennis Green, Les Frogs are who we thought they were. They have looked and played like the tournament favoUrite since the round of 16. They are entering the Finals in perfect health and having played fewer, harder minutes than the 101 Dalmatians. As an added bonus for France, they have tournament finals experience, as they lost to Portugal in the Euros two years ago. The players who finished second at the Euros are going to want to make amends. Their biggest task is whether Kante can overcome Modric at midfield. Modric has done an excellent job shutting down the other clubs’ midfielders, so, this should be an interesting battle to watch. Aside from Modric, I think it will come down to how cautious France plays. If they are too cautious like they were against Portugal at the 2016 Euro finals, or play anti-football like they did against Belgium in the semis, they’re going to let Croatia hang in there, which could be disastrous for Les Frogs.
As for the Murder Checkerboards, it has been fun watching them play as their games have been mostly entertaining and very dramatic. If you think I hyped Croatia here, you should have seen how I hyped them up in the real world. Most notably, in hopes of watching the Picnic Blankets/Limp Biscuits match, I got my co-workers emotionally invested in Croatia winning over England and why it was bad for England to win. I watched the game in its entirety. One of my co-workers, a fairly attractive light skinned woman from Barbados was in tears when Croatia won. I believe by office law, that makes her my work wife, right?
As an aside, if you haven’t already read about Modric’s life story, The Sun UK of all news media, recently put up an excellent article (with tons of old, family photos of Modric that no other media has been able to reproduce) about Modric and his life as a refugee on their site. Before I post the link, I want to say the link is slightly NSFW. If you are offended by Katie Price being topless and walking on a beach in Thailand, don’t click on this link because there’s a picture of her on the side of the article. But I digress.
The Cardiac Croatians enter the finals on house money. They will likely play loose because all the pressure is on Les Frogs. As an added bonus for the Picnic Blankets, the lesser footy media is giving them lots of bulletin board material by declaring they’re too tired to play and will get shellacked. So not only is there no pressure on them—regardless of the outcome, they will return to Croatia as Gods—but they have been given a chip on their shoulder. That alone will make things interesting. Not that there’s any extra incentive required, but, the Murder Checkerboards’ Ivan Perisic is being watched closely by United. Jose Mourinho wanted Perisic last year, but things fell through. Given the tournament he has had, it’s likely a formality that he will join Man U after the tournament. However, if Perisic can have a good game today, I’m sure he’ll have a few extra million dollars thrown his way. Unfortunately, not everything is rosy for Croatia. If Strinić plays, he is not going to be 100%, which is troubling because Croatia needs him to have an excellent game to shut down France’s deadly attack.
I’ve gone this far with Croatia, I might was well ride them to the very end. Mbappe will open scoring early in the first half, only for Perisic to respond early in the second half. Griezmann will score late in the second half, with Brozovic answering in injury time. This will set up Luka fucking Modric to score the game winning goal in the 118th minute, to give Croatia a 3-2 victory.
Don T: Croatia is ditching its black / dark blue checkerboard with red letters and numbers (the most killer kit in this World Cup). They’re going with their traditional white and red—
Goddammit start the game already. France is infallible, Croatia indefatigable.
Predicción: Best World Cup ever, but it had to end some time. France 1 : 0 Croatia.