FIFA World Cup final: Stats preview
After 62 matches and 161 goals, this weekend sees the FIFA World Cup final take place in Moscow between France and Croatia.
Sunday’s clash at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow will offer one last chapter in a tournament packed with thrills and spills – the average goals-per-game of 2.6 so far just a shade below the 2.7 in Brazil four years ago and higher than the tournaments in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
World champions in 1998, France are heavy favourites to lift the trophy in the Russian capital on Sunday, with Sportradar’s algorithm giving them a win probability of 50 per cent, compared to Croatia’s 21 per cent.
A hugely talented squad, given a clinical, hardworking ethic from their FIFA World Cup-winning coach Didier Deschamps, France will take some stopping, with the spine of their side helping produce a series of slick and efficient displays thus far.
At the back, Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane is almost a shoo-in for a spot in the Team of the Tournament, barely putting a foot wrong in his six matches.
With passing accuracy of 85 per cent, Varane has also made nine successful tackles and interceptions, even weighing in with the opening goal against Uruguay in the quarter-finals.
In front of him, Paul Pogba looks back to his former self following a somewhat frustrating season at club level. The 25-year-old is yet to find the target but has created eight chances for team-mates such as Kylian Mbappe – the Paris Saint-Germain man currently sitting fifth in the scoring charts.
Only Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku ahead of him remain in the competition – both likely to feature for England and Belgium in Saturday’s third-place play-off – keeping the door ajar for Mbappe who boasts a shooting accuracy of 83 per cent across his six games.
After getting past hosts Russia and England in extra time over the last two rounds, Croatia have secured their best ever finish at a FIFA World Cup, following their run to the semis in 1998.
Despite a shooting accuracy of just 36 per cent, imposing forward Mario Mandzukic sent Croatia into the final with only his second goal of the competition, although the Juventus man has laid on seven chances for team-mates.
Luka Modric – undoubtedly the star man for Zlatko Dalic’s side – is another key provider in a team where goals are well spread out, with the Real Madrid star creating eight opportunities for team-mates and also contributing two goals and an assist.
In front of him, winger Ivan Perisic has also been among the tournament’s top performers – his six showings in Russia bringing two goals, an assist and four chances created. With a passing accuracy of 78 per cent, he will likely be one of Croatia’s main threats again as they seek to upset the odds in their first FIFA World Cup final.