France and Croatia will lay it all on the line when they face off in Sunday's 2018 FIFA World Cup final at the Luzhniki Stadium in Russia, where the two remaining teams will compete for a record high in prize-money winnings.
This summer's tournament has drawn crowds and viewers as much as any other World Cup, with the teams poised to be rewarded with a record payout for their contributions to the entertainment in eastern Europe.
The Associated Press (h/t Sports Illustrated) reported in October that FIFA increased the competition's overall prize pot to $400 million (£297 million), and $38 million of that is reward for the champion.
Sunday's runners-up will net $28 million purse, while those finishing third and fourth get $24 million and $22 million, respectively. Losing semi-finalists Belgium and England will compete for those pots in St. Petersburg on Saturday.
For almost every player who travelled to the World Cup in Russia this summer, it will be the idea of plaudits, silverware and etching one's name in football lore that fuels their ambition for the title, not prize purses and winnings.
But it certainly wouldn't hurt to know you're competing for an overall pot that's almost 50 per cent larger than any other in history.
Niall McCarthy reported for Forbes that total prize money is in fact $791 million, but $391 million of that goes to teams for preparation or as insurance for injuries suffered at the competition.
That overall prize money figure is much higher than the $576 million that was up for grabs in Brazil four years ago, and blogger Swiss Ramble illustrated how the upward trajectory in earning is set to keep rising:
Swiss Ramble @SwissRamble
2018 World Cup prize money of $400m is $42m (12%) higher than 2014 $358m. Winner receives $38m, but each participant is guaranteed minimum $9.5m ($8m prize money plus $1.5m preparation). Up further 10% to $440m in Qatar. Clubs providing players receive $209m, triple $70m in 2014. https://t.co/UosIynAmv6
Sunday's experience will be a new one for Croatia. It will be their first World Cup final—their first major final of any sort—and they'll again take on the guise of capable underdogs against a more marauding threat in France.
Zlatko Dalic's men beat England on Wednesday to disprove any fears of fatigue—they've now gone to extra time in their last three games—and Tifo Football unboxed their tactical plan heading to the Luzhniki Stadium:
It was enough to bamboozle England, but the same is far from guaranteed against France, who are in their third World Cup final and have many players hoping to make up for the 2016 European Championship final miss.
Les Bleus' star midfielder Paul Pogba recently spoke of the pain that's stuck with him since that defeat on home soil two years ago, and numerous others under Didier Deschamps' command will want to avoid a repeat:
That edge in experience, as well as the obvious quality running throughout France's squad, are some of the factors that have built them up as favourites ahead of Sunday's clash.
Both teams are now guaranteed some of the biggest prizes handed out in World Cup history, although there's little understating just how much more valuable a reward for top spot would be for Croatian football in particular.