Rivaldo Exclusive: Mbappé could be crucial for France against surprising Croatia

France boss Didier Deschamps
It could be a tense night for Didier Deschamps in Sunday's World Cup Final
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Croatia deserve huge respect for reaching the World Cup final, but it could be Kylian Mbappé who decides this one says Rivaldo, or we could even be set for a tense penalty shoot-out...

"Kylian Mbappé is France's main player right now. He is playing with a lot of confidence and is very relaxed in the tournament and I believe that he could be crucial in this match."

Croatia efforts must be recognised!

France is obviously favourite in this World Cup Final, but that doesn't mean they will be crowned champions, as Croatia is surprising us all game after game.

Now, Croatia has about seven matches completed in this tournament - three Extra-times - and that means they are more tired than France going into the Final, but they must be congratulated for their achievement up to this point.

I was expecting Croatia could be at a disadvantage against England thanks to two extra-minutes before, but it ended up being England to run down in the end, with Croatia hanging on and then striking late, so they believe they can be champions, and even if they end up losing the match, I believe they are not going to lose it because of physical issues as they are very motivated to achieve something historical for their country and themselves.

Mbappé could make the difference for pragmatic France

After losing the Euro 2016 Final to Portugal in their own country, France would certainly be alert to play at 100% and avoid relaxing too much - players and staff will talk about that for sure - even because Croatia is really in the right mood so far to achieve something special, so France cannot trust in their favouritism and stop running.

They are favourites, are producing a strong campaign in the tournament, have excellent players and already won a World Cup (1998) and were finalists against Italy some years later, but Croatia have been hoping for this opportunity for so long and won't make it easy for France.

I also think that France were supporting Croatia in the semi-finals as England has more tradition at the competition and could have been tougher to beat in the Final.

Kylian Mbappé is France's main player right now. He is playing with a lot of confidence and is very relaxed in the tournament and I believe that he could be crucial in this match. Croatia should mount a special defence to stop him as he is very dangerous with his pace and style of play. He looks to be playing as an experienced player and that's impressive for a 19-year-old kid.

Verdict

As this is a Final I expect a tight game and wouldn't be surprised to see the game end 1-1 in 90 minutes with France prevailing on penalties.

*The 1-1 Correct Score is available to back at [7.6]
*France to Win on Penalties can be backed at [11.0]

***

Tite should continue at Seleção

At the moment, Tite should continue at our national team. He is our coach for more than two years and we must give him another opportunity, even because I don't see any other manager that could replace him now.

He was doing a nice job until the World Cup and I believe he should continue as there is no viable alternative to grab all this pressure in his place. Furthermore, players already know him and are used to him, with the team also grabbing some confidence during the World Cup.

Brazil was eliminated in a match they could have won, and as I always say World Cup only starts at Quarter or Semi Finals and this was an example. Croatia, for instance, managed to hang on strongly in these phases and totally deserved to be at the Final.


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