World Cup 2018: Final Predictions

Final rankings will come after the 3rd/4th Place Play-Off and the Final, but for the moment, just quick predictions after I was one for two on the semis (38/62 or 61%).

It’s the game no-one wants to play, but 3rd place isn’t an unworthy goal, at least not in my eyes. Belgium let themselves down against France, and England did the same against Croatia, both sides struggling to exert any authority on their games in the second half, and both fluffing their lines upfront when it mattered. You would imagine it will be the B teams played here, and I would expect a repeat of the group game in such circumstances. Prediction: Belgium.

On the final, France have impressed with solid defensive football and some rapid movement up-front when the need was required. Mbappe and Pogba are in good firm, making up for some lacklustre showings from Greizmann and Giroud. Lloris is reliable in goal, and France have shown they can shut teams down effectively. Croatia have ground out results in three consecutive 120 minute games, a bit away from their dominant group performance, but the likes of Vida, Modric and Mandzukic have been outstanding, with Modric likely to be named player of the tournament. They have a very important persistence and excellent fitness levels. It’s hard to call, but I feel that French obstinance and structure will trump Croatia’s usual midfield domination, and lead to their second triumph. Prediction: France.

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