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CRISTIANO RONALDO FUNNY MOMENTS – INSTAGRAM, SNAPCHAT 2018

by Joga Bonito

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What went Wrong for Belgium against France? Tactical Analysis

by Tactical Analysis Hub

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Croatia Will WIN The World Cup Because… | World Cup Final Special | #FFO – Football Daily

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The BEST Signing Of The Season Will Be… | #HotTakes – Football Daily

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The last time France and Croatia met on the world stage  – FIFA on GBP Sports

  • France and Croatia have met once before at the FIFA World Cup™
  • Hosts France defeated Croatia 2-1 in 1998 semi-finals
  • THE LATEST: #FRACRO LIVE BLOG updating now

Sunday’s final between France and Croatia will bring back memories for FIFA World Cup™ aficionados. 20 years ago, the two sides met in the semi-finals at the 1998 World Cup, when France were hosts.

In many ways there are parallels between that match and Sunday’s final in Moscow. Croatia had almost unthinkably made it to the semi-finals, by far their greatest success as an independent nation. Fancied France were riding a wave of Les Bleus frenzy. Croatia had over-performed, and while making a semi-final was a great success for France, it was not inconceivable that they had made it that far.

Croatia had beaten Germany 3-0 in the quarter-finals. At Russia 2018, they put in one of the best overall team performances of the tournament in their 3-0 win over Argentina in the group stage. Much like this 2018 side, France were solid in the back — they had conceded only one goal before kick-off against Croatia in 1998 — and blessed with talent in midfield and up front with names like Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry littering their starting lists.

There are some direct connections from that day, too. Current France coach Didier Deschamps was captain of the 1998 side and led his team out on the pitch at the Stade de France against Croatia that evening in Saint-Denis.

The first half ended goalless between the two sides. At Russia 2018, 22 matches (35 per cent) were also goalless at half-time, with 61 goals being scored in the first half compared to 97 in the second.

The match sprang into life right away in the second half as Croatia’s go-to goalscorer Davor Suker broke through French lines to give Vatreni the lead. Croatia’s advantage lasted only a minute though, as defender Lilian Thuram stole possession on top of Croatia’s penalty area before lashing home his first goal in a France shirt.

Incredibly, Thuram was not finished there. He scored the winning goal in the 70th minute making it 2-1 with a curling shot that any striker would be proud of. Just as it was a France defender, Samuel Umtiti, who scored their decisive goal in the semi-finals at Russia 2018, it was defender Thuram who was the hero that night at the Stade de France, sending the hosts to the Final where they went on to beat Brazil 3-0 to lift the trophy for the first time.

Statistics say Sunday’s final could very well end with the same result from 1998: 2-1 is the second-most frequent scoreline at Russia 2018 (14) after 1-0 (15).

What story will the latest chapter of France v Croatia tell in the World Cup history books?

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Dalic: No excuses, we are ready – FIFA on GBP Sports

  • Zlatko Dalic took the long road to becoming Croatia coach
  • The 51-year-old has been in charge for less than a year
  • The Balkan side have surpassed their achievements at France 1998
By Vjekoslav Paun with Croatia

The luxury of having a few minutes of peace in his hotel lobby is a luxury that Zlatko Dalic has not been afforded of late, with the Croatia coach in constant demand for autographs and selfies from Vatreni supporters.

Nonetheless, the former defensive midfielder is enjoying his time being in charge of the Balkan side, as they prepare for their biggest ever challenge – Sunday’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Final against France at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. It’s a match that all coaches fantasise being a part of.

“We are still living our dreams, we are so close,” he said calmly from the team’s hotel in the centre of Moscow.

Having never earned the opportunity to appear for Croatia as a player, Dalic did not hesitate in taking the reins of his country’s senior squad last October when they were in danger of missing out on a place at Russia 2018.

“Through my life and career, I went the hard way. I did not want to be just an average coach in Croatia. I had to start from the lowest club,” he said. “Within a year in Asia, I became the best coach, and for three years, I was coach of Al Ain [in the United Arab Emirates], who are like Real [Madrid] in Europe. That was a tremendous experience for me. I coached two of the biggest clubs in Asia, so when Croatia’s call arrived, I did not hesitate.”

A few months on, Dalic’s efforts have surpassed those of his mentor, Miroslav Blazevic, who led Croatia to a third-place finish in the country’s World Cup debut back in 1998.

“With this great result [of reaching the Final], we have definitely entered history as one of the smallest countries ever in the World Cup finals,” Dalic said. “When we look at the conditions in which we work, we are a world wonder and phenomenon. We do not have the appropriate environment with big teams [in Croatia], but we have great players, who have brought us such joy. This is a planetary success.”

Dalic compared Croatia’s run in Russia to that of a fellow Mediterranean country that surprised the football world at UEFA EURO 2004.

“I see the connection between Croatia now and Greece in 2004, although they are two different styles of football,” he said. “No one believed that they could be the [European] champions, but they were compact and had great teamwork.”

As the smallest nation to reach a World Cup Final since Uruguay back in 1950, Dalic believes Croatia have what it takes to win the Trophy on Sunday evening.

“There are two top teams in the World Cup Final,” he said. “This will be our biggest game and our toughest opponent, for sure. France are very dangerous on the counter-attack. We had a tough journey to the Final, but there are no excuses, we are ready for the last game of the tournament.”

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What went Wrong for Martinez’s Belgium against Deschamps’ France in Semi-Final? Tactical Analysis

by Tactical Analysis Hub

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Pitana: It’s an indescribable feeling – FIFA on GBP Sports

  • ​Nestor Pitana to referee FIFA World Cup Final
  • Only the second man to take charge of both Opening Match and Final
  • “I could compare being selected to when I was told that I was going to be a father”

For the second time in the history of the FIFA World Cup™, the same man will have the responsibility – and honour – of refereeing both the Opening Game and the Final. The referee in question is none other than Argentinian Nestor Pitana who, accompanied by Hernan Maidana and Juan Pablo Belatti, will match the feat achieved by his compatriot Horacio Elizondo at Germany 2006.

Just hours after the announcement was made, the 43-year-old and his two assistants spoke exclusively with FIFA.com. They discussed the emotions that they were going through, the challenge awaiting them in Moscow and the preparations required to take on such an important assignment.

FIFA.com: Nestor, congratulations on your appointment. How would you describe this moment?
Nestor Pitana: Very rarely have I experienced anything comparable in my life. That feeling, that excitement. Maybe I could compare it with the moment when I was told that I was going to be a father. In terms of the sacrifice, the responsibility that it involves. For any kid who loves football, the dream is to get to the World Cup Final. This team have worked so hard to get where we are, we’ve managed one of the greatest achievements in the world of refereeing. And now we want to finish the job, in the best way possible.

What is the key to receiving such an honour?
Juan Pablo Belatti: Work and more work. We’ve invested a lot of our time in something we’re passionate about. Hours spent away from our friends and family. We put a lot of energy into it. What we felt when they announced our names, that mixture of emotions coursing through our bodies, only someone who experiences the daily routine of this profession can explain it. We’re very happy and very committed.

The match will feature two great teams in the shape of France and Croatia. What is your opinion of them?
Hernan Maidana: They’re both big teams who have got where they are through hard work, through careful planning. They’ve earned it, they deserve it. And it’s a similar story for us. We’ve worked very hard to get where we are. Just as they’ve got their challenge, we’ve got ours. This team that we’ve built has a great opportunity. And doing a good job won’t be enough; we’ve got to do an excellent job.

Is there a special secret to planning for a World Cup Final?
Pitana: I don’t think so. We won’t change what we’ve been doing up until now. We’ll be very focused as always, that’s what has got us here.

Belatti: I wouldn’t say that we have superstitions, but we do have our own certain rituals and habits. We’ll stick to them because that’s how we are. Along the way we’ve always had our mate, our music and jokes to help us to let off steam. But also the odd hug, a word of encouragement, a quick glance that reminds us that we’re here for one another. That’s how we work and we’re not going to change it. We’re going to give everything we’ve been giving up until now and more, that little bit extra. But in terms of our preparations, we’ll carry on in the same vein.

We know that you really like music, as you mentioned recently. So right at this moment, what rhythm are your hearts beating to?
Pitana: I like all music, I can go from reggaeton all the way to something more classical. But at times like this, it’s a total mixture of rhythms. The happiness is so great that I can’t describe it. I’d say that the mixture is so big that we’d give rise to a new style that has never been heard before (laughs).

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CONFIRMED: Chelsea To Announce New Manager & £57M Signing Today! | #VFN – Football Daily

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