The semifinal round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia is behind us, which means on Sunday a new champion will be crowned in Moscow, as France and Croatia remain. Sunday’s final could end up being the soccer version of David vs. Goliath as Croatia, a nation that became independent in 1991 and has only been past the group stage twice, including a third-place finish in 1998.
France stood in the way of Croatia in the 1998 semifinal and wound up winning its first World Cup title on home soil that year. France has been to three finals over the last six World Cups. France now stands in the way of Croatia’s pursuit of winning an elusive first World Cup title.
Before you lock in your 2018 World Cup picks for France vs. Croatia, you need to see what European football expert David Sumpter has to say. Sumpter is an applied mathematician who wrote “Soccermatics,” a book that explains how math works inside the sport. Along with other experienced analysts, Sumpter developed the powerful Soccerbot model.
The Soccerbot reads current odds and all team performance data, calculates key metrics and predicts upcoming matches. In nearly three seasons since its inception, the Soccerbot is up an incredible 1,800 percent on bookmakers’ closing odds.
The model is crushing the World Cup knockout stage. It strongly recommending Croatia as an underdog at +135 against England in the semifinals. The result: Croatia stamped its ticket to the Russia 2018 final with a thrilling 2-1 victory.
It also correctly predicted draws in regulation for Spain-Russia (+280), Croatia-Denmark (+225) and England-Colombia (+215) and was all over France beating Uruguay in regulation to reach the semifinals, not to mention Brazil and Belgium cruising in their Round of 16 matchups, just to name a few of its big calls. Anyone who has followed it is way, way up.
Now, the Soccerbot has crunched the numbers, analyzed the France vs. Croatia odds, and locked in its picks. We can tell you the model is leaning Under 2 goals, but its much stronger play is on the money line. And you can only see that 2018 World Cup pick over at SportsLine.
The model knows Croatia qualified for its first FIFA World Cup final in just its fifth appearance at the tournament. The Croats came from behind and upset favored England in Wednesday’s semifinal that was decided in extra time. Croatia became the first team to play extra time in three consecutive World Cup matches since England in 1990.
Croatia went down early, but equalized behind Ivan Perisic’s second-half goal to force extra time. Perisic has now been involved in 10 goals at major tournaments for Croatia (six goals and four assists).
The model also knows France enters the 2018 World Cup final with a ton of confidence after defeating Argentina (4-3), Uruguay (2-0) and Belgium (1-0) in its last three matches.
Kylian Mbappe has been the breakout star for France at Russia 2018, becoming just the second teenager to score multiple goals in a knockout match at the World Cup.
However, it has been Antoine Griezmann’s veteran presence that propelled France to its third World Cup final appearance. Griezmann has been directly involved in 13 of France’s last 20 goals scored in major tournaments, with nine goals and four assists.
This will be France’s second consecutive major tournament final after Euro 2016, when Les Bleus were beaten by Portugal in extra time.
So which hungry nation wins the World Cup final?
Drop your comments and predictions in the comment box below!