Russia World CupThe last assault in Moscow: France - Croatia

Dan Nicolaie (translated by Cosmin Ghidovean)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section / 13 iulie 2018

The last assault in Moscow: France - Croatia

The final tournament of the World Football Cup will end with a gala representation, the duel between Croatia and France. France, the with the most expensive players in the tournament, has met the expectations, Croatia is the biggest surprise the of the competition.

The French are coming in after a 20 year hiatus, and for the Croatians this is their first time. In theory France is the leading favorite, but in practice it is hard to anticipate the Croatians' evolution, as they have demonstrated outstanding resilience, as they have been successful in enduring three consecutive matches with extensions. If they succeed in recovering in such a short time, the game gets played, if not, France can't lose.

Having already lost another final, coach Didier Deschamps won't accept defeat this time: "It is a truly remarkable achievement. I am truly happy for my players. They are young, but they've had ambition, the character and the mentality of winners. I take my hat off to them and my entire staff. The game belongs to the players and we are in the final of the World Cup thanks to those who have been on the field. We have not yet digested what has happened two years ago (ed. note: the Euro 2016 final lost to Portugal), those things are still fresh in our minds. It was painful. And so we are going to see, quietly, how we are going to approach this final. My players are young, but they have a strong mind. They have experience, they are very competitive and they have made a lot of progress. They have demonstrated that in the match with Belgium. They were prepared for any kind of scenario and for any situation that the opponent would have placed them in. We have prepared the game well". "We are in the final. Rendez-vous Sunday to win it", French president Emmanuel Macron wrote on Twitter. He will be meeting his Russian peer, Vladimir Putin before the final, the Elysee palace has announced. The meeting was set on Tuesday night, in a short phone call between the two leaders, after the end of the France-Belgium semi-final.

In the other side, Croatian coach Zlatko Dalich admits that he has himself been amazed at the strength of his team and that he wants one last "push" from them: "I am proud of what our players have achieved, of the force they have displayed, their resilience, their energy... I wanted to switch players, but none of them wanted to leave the field, they all kept telling me «I can still run». Some of the football players have played with minor injuries, which would have prevented them from playing in other matches. Two of them played with one valid leg, but it didn't show. In 1998, I was a supporter of France in the first three matches. Everybody remembers that game (ed. note: France beat Croatia in the semifinals of the 1998 World Cup, 2-1, Thuram "47 and "69 / Suker "46).

We've been talking about that game for 20 years. I remember we celebrated Suker's goal. As soon as we sat down, France tied the score. We are not seeking to get revenge. We will only be preparing for playing our best game in this Cup, in this final".

Croatia is the lowest ranked team in the FIFA chart, since that chart exists, to ever make into a final, according to EFE. The team managed to qualify, ranked 20th in the FIFA world ranking, created in 1992, surpassing the French representative, which at the time held the 18th place when it became world champion, in 1998.

The big final, France - Croatia, will be held Sunday at 18:00. The small final, England - Belgium, will be held Sunday at 17:00.

NOTE: The final match will be reported live exclusively on the BURSA website.

The Luzhniki stadium

The Luzhniki stadium, which will host the final, is the biggest stadium in Russia.

Inaugurated in July 1956, it has hosted the Summer Olympic Games of 1980.

It was rebuilt between 2013-2017. The final cost of the works was 350 million Euros. The capacity of the Arena is 81,000 seats.

The finals of the World Cup

On Sunday, the French team will play its third final in its history, after those of 1998 (which it won 3-0 against Brazil) and 2006 (which it lost in the penalty kicks before Italy). Croatia is playing its first final.

1930 (Uruguay) Uruguay - Argentina4-2

1934(Italy) Italy - Czechoslovakia 2-1

(after extra time)

1938 (France) Italy - Hungary 4-2

1950 (Brazil) Uruguay - Brazil2-1

1954 (Switzerland) RFG - Hungary 3-2

1958 (Sweden) Brazil - Sweden 5-2

1962 (Chile) Brazil - Czechoslovakia3-1

1966 (England) England - RFG 4-2

(after extra time)

1970 (Mexico) Brazil - Italy 4-1

1974 (Federal Republic of Germany-FRG) FRG - Holland2-1

1978(Argentina) Argentina - Holland3-1

(after extra time)

1982 (Spain) Italy - FRG 3-1

1986 (Mexico) Argentina - FRG 3-2

1990 (Italy) FRG - Argentina 1-0

1994 (US) Brazil - Italy 0-0

(3-2 after extensions and penalty shoot-outs)

1998 (France) France - Brazil3-0

2002 (Korea and Japan) Brazil - Germany 2-0

2006(Germany) Italy - France1-1

(5-3 after extra time and penalty shoot-outs)

2010 (South Africa) Spain - Holland1-0

(after extra time)

2014 (Brazil) Germany - Argentina 1-0

(after extra time)

Lawsuit over broadcasting rights

FIFA may sue TV network that allegedly broadcasted illegally the World Cup. The liable party is the BeoutQ network, which has its headquarters in Saudi Arabia. "FIFA has hired an attorney to start the lawsuit in Saudi Arabia and is in touch with other holders of sporting rights who have been affected and want to protect their interests. FIFA is urging the authorities in Saudi Arabia and in other countries to protect the fight against TV piracy", it is said in a press release of FIFA, quoted by Agerpres. BeoutQ appeared shortly after Saudi Arabia stopped the broadcasting of the Qatari network BeIN following the diplomatic tensions between the two countries. BeIN holds the rights for the World Cup and other athletic events in the Middle East and Northern Africa. The Saudi authorities have rejected the claim that BeoutQ is broadcasting from other countries and that it has any connection to that TV station.

Russia has a better image

Hosting the 2018 Football World Cup has improved the image that Russia has abroad, said the president of the Organizing Committee, Arkady Dvorkovich: "Russia's image is now getting closer to what our country really is. The result is superb, Russia has changed its reputation. Russia is in fact much better than some people abroad think".

Russia has spent over 11 billion dollars for preparing the cup, with most of that amount going towards the building or overhauling of the numerous athletic facilities. The Russian officials have said that all these improvements will have long term positive effects on Russian sports.

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