France are the established power with a young team full of speed and skill.
Seven years after they gained independence from the former Yugoslavia, Croatia's thrilling and unexpected run to the semi-finals was, for just about everyone except the victorious hosts, the highlight of France '98.
However, while France may have that favourites tag, nobody dares tell this Croatian team they they will not win the World Cup.
France last won the World Cup title in 1998, at home. "I'm not interested who is the opponent".
France Vs Croatia from the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow!
But perhaps feeling complacent after beating Germany in the semifinals, France flopped, losing 1-0.
"I don't think it's a factor", he said at news conference at the French training base on the outskirts of Moscow.
Mbappé, who has the skill set to flower into a Messi- or Cristiano Ronaldo-level star, is quick on his feet and has three goals in the tournament so far.
Against Croatia, picking Mendy and Sidibié would increase France's chance of conceding a goal by three percentage points, but also increase their chance of scoring by four percentage points, a net gain. In the quarterfinals against the host Russian Federation, despite a good game, Croatia have to go through extra time. It's also interesting to note that Didier Deschamps was the captain back then and now he's the coach.
Taking part in a big final on the pitch and watching from the sidelines were two very different experiences, he said.
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The victor of Tuesday evening's game will take on either England or Croatia in the World Cup final the following Sunday. As for France , they will meet either Croatia or England in Monday morning's (Singapore time) in Moscow.
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She told Mr Marr on his weekly Sunday morning show: "Carve-outs are things that are done in trade deals around the world". However, under the blue skies of the Chequers' garden, he said their relationship was "the highest level of special".
The betting markets seem to have accounted for these additional factors and tipped the balance further in favour of France. People will realise they should respect Croatia, defender Dejan Lovren said after the game.
Croatia's coach Zlatko Dalic has no time for favouritism and is confident his underdogs can upset the odds.
"I expect a lot of screaming at the screens", she says. "Especially when it comes to recovery and preparation time".
Manager Gareth Southgate praised hosts Russian Federation, saying: "There's a lot talked about relationships between our two countries, but on a personal level and mixing with the people of Russian Federation, we couldn't have been made more welcome".
Back then, two Lilian Thuram goals sunk a Croatia team playing in their first World Cup as an independent nation. Two from penalties and one largely thanks to a goalkeeping howler from Uruguay's Fernando Muslera.
"Now, there is no pressure, " Dalic said through a translator. "Simply this is the greatest moment in the life of all of us". Coincidentally, the outlier was France's 3-0 victory over Brazil in the 1998 final.
Croatia have not beaten France in five games since being accepted as a Fifa member federation in 1992.
Antoine Griezmann has been involved in 5 goals at the 2018 World Cup (3 goals, 2 assists), no French player has done better in a single tournament over the last 50 years. There are two teams in the final, a Cup and there are 90 minutes more.
Both teams were unbeaten in the group stage, and France have trailed for only nine minutes in the entire tournament.
The win in Kaliningrad put Croatia in a strong position after Argentina were held to a surprise 1-1 draw by Iceland in their Group D opener.