Prediction for 2018 World Cup Final

This prediction comes combining 3 different calculations (two of my own based on team rankings, FiveThirtyEight) for the outcome of Croatia versus France.

France has a 59.4% chance to win the World Cup. Croatia has a 40.6% chance to win the World Cup.

The numbers suggest a competitive game. France is the favorite, and they can win the World Cup if they play the fast, attacking style (think of their performance against Argentina) that optimizes their talent.

However, France could fall back on a lazier approach in which they cross balls into the box for headers with a low probability of a goal. Based on data before the tournament, crosses made up 23.5% of France’s successful passes into the opponent’s penalty area. This rate was the 15th highest among 32 World Cup teams.

French midfielder Blaise Matuidi seemed to suffer a concussion late in the semi-final against Belgium, but he is expected to play.

Croatia is a talented team that looked like the best team at the World Cup during the group stage. However, they have played 30 minutes of extra time in each of their three knock out matches, which makes fatigue a concern. Croatia looked lethargic in the first half of their semi-final match against England before coming to life with two goals after halftime.

Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic appeared to hurt his right hamstring against Russia. He will play, but he may not be as strong going to his left, the spot where England scored off a free kick.

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