World Cup 2018 final: Key battles to watch out for
France take on Croatia in the finale of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Moscow on Sunday. With both teams keen to have their hands on the trophy, the Luzhniki Stadium will witness certain key battles. Which side can stake a claim and dictate their terms? Here are the key battles that could determine the fixture.
The match will be determined largely in mid-field where the likes of Luka Modric and N'Golo Kante will look to create their impact. Modric has been one of the best performers in Russia and his energy is vital for Croatia. But Kante will be there to continue his impressive form in breaking up the play and giving Paul Pogba the freedom.
Kylian Mbappe has displayed his enormous pace and abilities to make surging runs which, in turn, will test Croatia left-back Josip Pivarić. Pivarić has played only one game so far in Russia and this is his toughest test. Mbappe impressed against Argentina and Belgium, proving to be a menace from the right flank. A contender for the Golden Ball, Mbappe will test the defense.
Ivan Perisic can mark his influence with his raw power and ability to create gaps. Playing from the left flank, he will challenge Benjamin Pavard. Being superior in the air and also having the physical prowess, Perisic can combine well with Mario Mandzukic and cause problems. Pavard has given a decent account of himself, but Perisic is a problem he hasn't faced till now.
In-form Mario Mandzukic's ability to dictate the pitch, with his aerial prowess, would be a vital challenge for Raphael Varane. The center-back is equally good in the air and will need to be on his toes and close down Mandzukic repeatedly.