World Cup TV Schedule 2018: Live Stream and Start Time for France vs. Croatia

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2018

France's forward Kylian Mbappe attends a training session at the Luzhniki trining field in Moscow on July 14, 2018 on the eve of the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia. (Photo by CHRISTOPHE SIMON / AFP)        (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)
CHRISTOPHE SIMON/Getty Images

France play Croatia in the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday. It's a rematch of the 1998 semi-final, a contest Les Bleus won thanks to a brace from Lilian Thuram.

Things could be different this time since Croatia have claimed some impressive results en route to the final. The Blazers thrashed Argentina in the group stage, eliminated hosts Russia in the last eight and saw off England after extra time in their semi-final.

It's a squad built on technical quality in midfield. Few nations boast three playmakers as astute as Marcelo Brozovic, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.

By contrast, the France midfield is built on the energy and brawn of N'Golo Kante. The ingenuity in this team can be found along a forward line featuring versatile pair Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe.

           

Date: Sunday, July 15

Time: 6 p.m. local time (4 p.m. BST/11 a.m. ET)

TV Info: BBC One, ITV 1, Fox

Live Stream: BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, Fox Soccer Match Pass, fuboTV

          

Containing Griezmann and Mbappe is a challenge Croatia will struggle to handle. The latter has used this tournament to emerge as a global star, one ready to make the "world's best player" label his own in the near future.

Mbappe has the world at his feet.
Mbappe has the world at his feet.Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

BBC Sport's Julien Laurens summed up Mbappe's influence and impact on this squad: "At 19, he is not a full leader yet—but he is the technical leader of this team. His talent is immeasurable. He is the kind of genius that you only see once every 25 years."

It's high praise but no less than the Paris Saint-Germain attacker merits after his three goals and displays of audacious flair in Russia. Mbappe's combination with the intelligent Griezmann will give Les Bleus all the cutting edge they need to lift the trophy for a second time.

France's chances of winning also hinge on a strong defence led by centre-backs Samuel Umtiti and Raphael Varane. They will need to make sure the distances across the back four don't increase and give Modric the room to thread his passes.

Fortunately for France, Croatia's midfield maestros will first need to escape the attentions of active midfield destroyer Kante:

Keeping Modric in check has to be the priority for France or else the 32-year-old schemer will dictate the flow of the game and keep Croatia on the front foot.

Writing for the Guardian, former Real Madrid coach Jorge Valdano described how Modric brings order to his nation's possession-based game: "When the ball passes by his feet, the play flows as if football was the easiest thing in the world. It's not about adding intensity or danger to the move; it's about adding sense, clarity, intent."

If Modric is denied his familiar role as a calming influence, Croatia will be picked apart by France's pace and movement up top.

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