2018 FIFA World Cup Final: Early Odds and Betting Market Update

OddsShark.com@@OddsSharkFeatured ColumnistJuly 12, 2018

Croatia's Luka Modric celebrates with head coach Zlatko Dalic after advancing to the final during the semifinal match between Croatia and England at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Frank Augstein/Associated Press

France and Croatia will meet in Sunday's World Cup Final after defeating fellow European nations Belgium and England, respectively, at the semi-final stage.

20 years after winning their first World Cup when they hosted the world's biggest football tournament, Le Bleus are favourites, according to AustralianGambling, to lift the FIFA World Cup Trophy a second time after securing a 1-0 win over Belgium.

Croatia had to do it much harder, prevailing in extra time for the third consecutive match, after the Three Lions took a 1-0 lead thanks to a Kieran Trippier free-kick just five minutes into their final-four encounter.

Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric has had a brilliant tournament as captain of his country, but he looked dead on his feet with 30 minutes remaining. The skipper and his teammates found another gear, though, and leveled through an Ivan Perisic goal in the 68th minute.

A mistake at the back from John Stones then allowed Mario Mandzukic to score the winning goal for Vatreni in the 109th minute of extra time. This is the first time that Croatia have made the World Cup Final, with their previous best result coming at France 1998, when they finished third.

France should be the much fresher side, having won in normal time in each of their knockout fixtures. They also have the psychological edge of never having lost to Croatia in their five previous meetings, winning three of those.

Didier Deschamps' side are $1.91 betting favourites on the early odds at the sportsbooks to secure the win inside the 90 minutes, while the Croatian lineup are out at $4.50. The draw is priced at $3.25.

If we get that draw, it will be the fourth time in a row that Zlatko Dalic's side have gone to extra time, and as you'd expect, if they win in the additional 30 minutes, you'll get a whopping $18.

The French are $8.50 in that market, while just $1.45 is on offer for France to lift the trophy via any of the three methods against $2.75 for the Eastern Europeans to salute.

England will meet Belgium in the third-place playoff on Saturday, where Gareth Southgate's side are an early $3.10 outsider, with $2.25 on offer for the Red Devils to end the tournament with their second win over the Three Lions after an Adnan Januzaj goal gave Belgium a 1-0 win over England in the group stages.