- ?World Cup Final: France v Croatia, 15 July, Luzhniki Stadium (Moscow)
- Croatia competing in first-ever World Cup Final
- Our Croatia team reporter gives three reasons why Vatreni would be deserving champions
By Vjekoslav Paun with Croatia
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia? Final is just around the corner, as 1998 winners France prepare to face first-time finalists Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
Ahead of kick-off, let's take a closer look at why this Vatreni (The Blazers) team are deserving of lifting the coveted Russia 2018 trophy and writing their names in the history books of Croatia forever.
1. A miraculous collective and maximum motivation
Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic has done something incredible. The atmosphere in the team has never been better, something the players have repeatedly said.
They have felt like a real family during this World Cup, having been together for 50 days. The players look like they would die for each other on the pitch in the effort they put in. Despite playing in three consecutive extra time matches, they have shown that their desire to win as a collective is very high.
2. Mental strength and character
Denmark, Russia and England — those were three come-from-behind wins for Vatreni, with two of them coming from winning in penalty shootouts. The Croatian comeback kings dominated those games from a mental and physical perspective.
Captain Luka Modric repeatedly said: "We have shown our character." Croatia’s strength of personality will serve them well in the final against France. Every World Cup winning team throughout history has had to have a great amount of character.
3. Experience equals self-confidence
Modric is the leader of this great Vatreni generation. Besides the Real Madrid talisman, there are other stars in Dalic’s squad, including players from Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Liverpool like Ivan Rakitic, Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Perisic, Mateo Kovacic and Dejan Lovren. With an average age of 27 years and ten months, Croatia have a lot of experience and self-confidence as well, because almost everyone has their place in their clubs' first XI. They are all well aware of their capabilities.