France v Croatia: The best same-game multi bets for the final
There's a World Cup final to be played on Sunday and that means one last look at the best same-game multis relating to the big game. Jamie Pacheco talks us through it all...
"But let’s show Croatia a bit more respect. We thought they’d be exhausted; they still managed. We thought they were dead and buried against England; they recovered. They’ve drawn three in a row now and the last three World Cup finals were draws at full-time. We could well have another."
France v Belgium
Sunday July 15 19.00
TV: live on BBC1
If you listen to a lot of people out there, France might as well lift the trophy now and they should just skip the game entirely. I'm joking of course but I'm surprised by how quickly people are writing off Croatia's chances.
Yes, France have probably been the best team in the tournament. They showed bottle by coming back to beat Argentina from a goal down and back-to-back clean sheets in World Cup knock-out games after that is a huge achievement.
But let's show Croatia a bit more respect. We thought they'd be exhausted; they still managed. We thought they were dead and buried against England; they recovered.
They've drawn three in a row now and the last three World Cup finals were draws at full-time. We could well have another.
I have to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't imaging this but France have now won three matches and drawn one...and had less corners than their opponents in all those games. Against Argentina they managed four goals but not a single corner. Weird but as ever, the stats don't lie.
Against England, Croatia managed something very rare indeed. They got more corners than them, something no-one else had achieved so far this World Cup. They also got more than Russia in the round before that and got the same against Denmark in the Last 16.
So with that in mind you could argue there's real value in going with them at 17/10 in the corners match bet. But it would be highly annoying if it was a draw on the corners. With the first leg of our same-game multi bet already being at a big price, it's worth being more conservative and taking Croatia +1 (you'll win if it's a draw on the number of corners) at evens.
Croatia have scored in every match so far. That makes them the only team of those still in Russia to have done so. England didn't against Belgium, Belgium didn't against France, France didn't against Denmark.
I've mentioned France's two clean sheets in their last two matches but Uruguay looked a little lost without Edinson Cavani and Belgium just had an off-day in attack.
Mario Mandzukic hasn't necessarily had a stand-out tournament. He's worked tirelessly but two goals from five starts (he was rested against Iceland) is a decent effort rather than a great one. Still, he came good when it really mattered with that extra-time goal against England and the way the team is set up, he's the one they're trying to create chances for. Unless it's from a penalty (Luka Modric would take it), he looks the likeliest player to get one for Croatia and with all that in mind, 4/1 looks pretty decent.
If you were going to paint a picture in your mind of a battle-hardened uncompromising Croatian defender, he'd probably look a lot like Dejan Lovren.
The Liverpool man has been excellent this World Cup and fans of his English club side will be wondering why he doesn't put in more performances like that for them.
But alongside his endless clearances and tackles, there have been plenty of fouls.
Quite how he escaped a booking against England, I'll never know. He was all over Harry Kane more often than not and whereas there was no particularly rough challenge, there were three or four infringements that you thought would have added up to him seeing yellow.
He got booked against Russia and rightly so and if it's not the trickery and guile of Antoine Griezmann giving him plenty to think about on Sunday night, then it may be the lightning pace of Kylian Mbappe.
Up to now, it's always been a case of thinking about the game going on and the one after it so players may hold back a bit. But there's no game after this one. This is it, the ultimate showdown. If Lovren has to turn to the dark arts to help Croatia's cause one last time, he probably will.