France midfielder Blaise Matuidi says his side are ready to go all the way with what he describes as a “hardened” Croatia side (Match Betting – France 10/11, draw 23/10, Croatia 4/1).
The pair meet on Sunday in the World Cup final but have enjoyed differing paths to the showpiece, as while Les Bleus (4/9 – 2018 World Cup Outright) have always got their business done in normal time, their opponents have had it much tougher.
Zlatko Dalic’s men required penalties to get the better of both Denmark and Russia and, after having to fight off suggestions of fatigue, looked fresh as they outlasted England in the semi-finals.
Those victories will surely have given them confidence and they will not be afraid of keeping things tight and risking a fourth batch of extra-time football.
While other nations have battled fatigue, it does not seem to have been the case for the Croatians (7/4 – 2018 World Cup Outright) who appear to relish being pushed to their limits.
A war of attrition could be on the cards at the Luzhniki, something that will also suit the always industrious Matuidi.
The Juventus man’s pressing could be key to his team’s chances of winning the World Cup for the second time to make up for their Euro 2016 final defeat.
Although it is being suggested tiredness could be a factor for the Croats, the 31-year-old believes they will have instead been inspired by their marathon efforts.
“We wouldn’t like to think about the fact that they [Croatia] couldn’t finish the last three matches at the World Cup without extra time,” Matuidi told reporters. “We’ll think that they aren’t weakened by this but were hardened instead.”
Odds subject to change.