A loaded team that’s rarely had to exit second gear (France), and another that expended more energy than anyone in the tournament (Croatia), will meet for the 21st World Cup championship.
The matchup was set Wednesday, as Croatia outlasted England in extra time at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, the venue for the title game. France was a favorite before the tournament and will remain so Sunday, in part because of its depth and talent, and in part because it’ll enter the final so much fresher. But the resilient and indefatigable Croats won’t be an easy out.
The strength of both sides is the force and flair of their midfields and flanks, where stars like France’s N’Golo Kanté and Kylian Mbappé, and Croatia’s Luka Modrić and Ivan Rakitić have put their stamp on this World Cup.