FIFA World Cup 2018 Final between France and Croatia will be played at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday. Built in the 1950’s the stadium boasts of a capacity crowd of 80,000 and has also hosted the 2008 Champions League final, where Manchester United beat Chelsea on penalties. Ahead of the game, which kicks off at 8.30 PM IST, here are all the statistics and nuggets of information that you need to know.
# France will be playing in their third World Cup final while Croatia are making their maiden appearance in the tournament final. France won the coveted trophy in 1998 but lost in 2006 against Italy. Croatia were semi-finalists in their first World Cup appearance in 1998 but 2-1 to France. Current Croatia Football Federation president Davor Suker had scored the only goal for the Croats while Lillian Thuram scored twice for Les Bleus.
# Croatia have won all their matches in the knock out stages by extra time and penalties. They have also played more than 360 minutes in those matches, excluding time spent on the pitch for penalties in two of them. France has spent 270 minutes in their three knockout matches. France has also had an extra day of rest having beaten Belgium 1-0 in their semi-final on Tuesday. Croatia won 2-1 after extra time against England on Wednesday.
# Favourites France will be making an appearance in their second international tournament final in two years, after reaching the final of Euro 2016.
# Croatia’s average throughout the tournament has been two goals per game (12 goals in 6 matches). Luka Modric, Mario Mandzukic, and Ivan Perisic are Croatia’s top scorers with two goals each.
# Luka Modric is on the cusp of creating history as he will break Croatia’s record for most World Cup appearances (currently 11) if he plays in the final. Modric has also been Croatia’s workhorse covering a distance of 63 kms so far.
# France has scored 10 goals so far with forwards Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe top scoring with three goals apiece. But France has also conceded one goal less than Croatia (5).
# Both sides have met each other on five occasions and France are still unbeaten with three wins and two draws.
# Croatia is the second smallest country ever ( in terms of population) to reach the final. Croatia’s population of 4.1 million is roughly equal to six per cent of the population of France and 36 per cent of the population of Paris. Uruguay, who won the World Cup in 1930 and 1950, were the smallest country to reach the final. In 1930, Uruguay’s population of 1.7 million made them the smallest team to play the last game at the tournament. Incidentally, 1930 World Cup was held in Uruguay.