The 2018 FIFA World Cup Final sees favourites France take on underdogs Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday night.

The month-long footballing carnival in Russia is about to come to a close, with an all-European final set to enthrall fans.

France have been among the few sides that have managed to deliver on their immense promise but will they secure their second world title against the tiny, but proud nation that is Croatia?

After collecting the scalps of Denmark and Argentina, the Vatreni are not likely to be fazed by the challenge that Paul Pogba and Co. present and it’s very much a 50-50 clash.

Follow The Statesman’s live feed for timely updates of the summit clash right here:

Full-time

Croatia’s dream run ends in heartbreak as France prove to be too strong in the final.

Yes, Les Blues got lucky with an own goal and a contentious penalty in the first-half, but after the restart, Didier Deschamps’ men were all over the Vatreni.

In the end, the 1998 winers edged out a memorable 4-2 win to secure their second title.

Mbappe and Pogba scored belters in the second period to take the tie away from the Croats, who raised hope briefly after Perisic pounced on a calamitous error from Lloris.

In the process, Didier Deschamps created history by becoming only the third man to lift the World Cup as a player and manager both.

Match starts

2nd half

90+5: The referee signals for full-time and the French bench invades the pitch to celebrate. 

90+3: Paul Pogba misses a sitter after Croatia were caught napping on the free-kick.

90+2: Vrsaljko gets a yellow card for a scything challenge on Griezmann.

90: The fourth official signals for five added minutes.

89: Rakitic lets fly from outside the box, but his shot is too wild to trouble Lloris.

84: Rakitic’s free-kick is collected by Lloris without any hassle.

83: Pogba concedes a free-kick on the right flank.

81: France substitution.

Giroud comes off to be replaced by Nabil Fekir.

80: A dangerous France counter fizzles out as Mbappe loses his footing in the Croatian box.

78: Croatia knocking on France’s door and Rakitic’s shot is just wide of the goal.

76: Vrsaljko long-range shot is well wide of Lloris’s post.

75: Perisic sends in a dangerous cross into the box but France clear.

73: France substitution.

Corentin Tolisso comes in on place of Blaise Matudi.

71: Croatia substitution.

Rebic makes way for forward Andrej Kramaric.

69: Croatia score!

4-2!

Hugo Lloris makes the biggest blunder of his life as he allows Mario Mandzukic to tackle him right on the goal line and out of nowhere, the Vatreni are now back in it.

65: France score!

4-1

 

Kylian Mbappe fires one in from outside the box after some good work from Lucas Hernandez on the left flank. The 19-year-old is the second teenager after the great Pele to score in a World Cup Final. 

59: France score!

3-1!

 

Paul Pogba fires one in from his left foot after some slack Croatian defending. Is this the goal that settles the tie?

58: Perisic beats Pavard on the left wing, but his cross is too deep for his teammates.

58: Croatia win a free-kick in the French half.

55: France substitution. 

 

Kante, on a yellow card, makes way for Steven Nzonzi.

54: Lloris just about does enough to punch a cross and as he gets clattered, France win a free-kick.

53: The match is stopped after a fan invades the pitch.

52: France counter with Mbappe and the teenager burns Vida with his pace on the wing, but Subasic smothers the chance.

50: Vrsaljko fires a volley well wide after Modric’s corner came to him on the edge of the box.

49: Lloris makes a vital interception to deny Perisic from getting on to the through ball.

48: Ante Rebic fires a fierce shot from an acute angle, Lloris makes a fine save to tip it over the bar. France clear the ensuing corner.

47: Griezman fires straight at Subasic from outside the box, the keeper collects without any fuss.

46: Lloris collects a low cross from Vrsaljko.

46: France get the second period underway.

Half-time

France lead Croatia 2-1 at the interval.

A Mario Mandzukic own goal had given Les Blues the lead but the Vatreni hit back via a wonderful Ivan Perisic strike.

However, controversy reigned when referee Pitana, after consultation with VAR, awarded a penalty for the 1998 winners.

Antoine Griezmann converted it to restore France’s one-goal lead but Croatia are still in the tie and are dominating the possession stats.

1st half

45 +3: Strinic fouls Mbappe in the French half and it looks like Les Blues will hold on to their lead.

45: Fourth official signals for three minutes of injury time.

45: Umtiti is down in the French box with a suspected knee injury.

44: Scramble in the French box to clear after a corner from Ivan Rakitic.

43: Croatia win a free-kick in the French half after Umtiti shoves Mandzukic.

41: Another yellow for France and this time the offender is Lucas Hernandez.

40: Croatia have a chance to equalise after Perisic’s cross finds a teammate, but Vatreni can’t score and France clear.

38: France score!

2-1!

 

Griezmann coolly sends Subasic the wrong way to restore Les Blues’ lead. 

37: Penalty for France!

Griezmann to take.

35: Referee Nestor Pitana is consulting VAR for the Perisic incident. It did strike the winger on the hand, but was it deliberate?

34: France are appealing for a handball after Matuid’s header got a touch from Perisic from a corner.

28: Goal!

1-1!

 

Ivan Perisic collects Vida’s knockdown in the box and beats Kante before firing a left-footed shot past Hugo Lloris. Shot took a minor deflection off a French defender. 

28: We have the first yellow card of the final and it’s N’Golo Kante who goes into the book for tripping Ivan Perisic as the winger was leading fast break.

24: Chance for Croata as Manduzkic volleys a difficult chance over.

23: Paul Pogba had Kylian Mbappe through, but Vida recovers to make an immense tackle. Croatia launch an immediate counter and Pavard concedes a free-kick in his own half.

21: Chance for Croatia as Domagoj Vida heads over from Modric’s free-kick.

21: Croatia win a free-kick on the right flank in the French half. Skipper Luka Modric to take.

18: Goal!

 

Griezmann’s free-kick beats Danijel Subasic after a touch from Croatian centre forward Mario Mandzukic. 

 

17: France win a free-kick in a promising area after Brozovic fouls Luka Modric.

15: Perisic almost finds a teammate with a low cross after a counter, but Samuel Umtiti clears for a throw.

 

11: Ivan Perisic almost gets on a lofted through ball, but the chance fizzles out for a France goal kick.

09: Olivier Giroud makes a headed clearance on the corner.

08: Croatia fullback Ivan Strinic wins a corner on the left flank.

05: Croatia dominating so far, France yet to foray into the opposition box.

02: Theo Hernandez fouls Luka Modric in the Croatia half.

Warmups

Les Blues and the Vatreni have arrived at the Luzniki and the warmups are already underway.

Lineups

 

Didier Deschamps’ men, heavy favourites for the summit clash, are unchanged from the side that won the semi-final against Belgium.

Captain Hugo Lloris starts between the sticks, behind a four-man defence of Theo Hernandez, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umitit and Benjamin Pavard.

Paul Pogba partners N’Golo Kante in central midfield, while Blaise Matuidi, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe line up further ahead.

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Centre forward Olivier Giroud retains his place at the apex of Les Blues’ 4-2-3-1 formation.

The Vatreni are mirroring their fancied opponents’ formation for the biggest match of the year, with Mario Mandzukic leading the line for Zlatko Dalic’s side.

Antre Rebic, Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic feature behind him, with Ivan Rakitic and Marcelo Brozovic anchoring the midfield.

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Ivan Strinic, Domagoj Vida, Dejan Lovren and Sime Vrsaljko feature in the four-man backline ahead of goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.