Didier Deschamps has crafted a perfectly-balanced side which grinds teams down and gets the job done in a nonchalant and brutally cool-headed demeanour.
Croatia, however, were always major outsiders. I know the taste of losing a final. "That's the aim and that's the mentality we've been using while preparing for this game". The first model relies exclusively on team results, weighted towards more recent performances. Federation Internationale de Football Association gives each team at least $8 million.
Three Chelsea players will return to Stamford Bridge with a World Cup third-place medal (if they care to display it). We take a look at the two key battles that are likely to have a bearing on the final result. Kante is about more than simply snuffing out danger in front of the France backline, he can move well with the ball, is key to the side's counterattacks and can score from distance. "I'm not trying to say it's a superior feeling that the French have for France, or Russians for Russia". France have as much attacking talent as any team in the tournament, but Deschamps signalled his intentions from game one by picking full backs Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernández over the more offensively-minded Benjamin Mendy and Djibril Sidibié.
And of course Yugoslavia had a long and proud record of producing technically gifted players - they beat Brazil in their first World Cup match in 1930 and were twice European Championship finalists. "We hope that Croatia will turn back that game 20 years ago and play with pride". As they face off in the 2018 World Cup final in Moscow.
The other question concerns Croatia's pedigree. They have more obvious match-winners, too, with Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann, not at his best thus far, maybe saving his best for another final.
Ahead of the World Cup final between France and Croatia, which happens to be the 900th game in the tournament's history, we compiled a list of key stats and figures that will be at play with the help of the ESPN Stats & Information Group. This will see Ivan Rakitic play in a box-to-box role while freeing up Luka Modric to play in an advanced role.
Another factor in France's favour is rest.
They filled Nikolskaya Street in particular, which has become the unofficial center of fan activity at the World Cup, painting the Moscow town red and white.
Despite making nine changes with their progression already secured, Croatia racked up three World Cup group victories for the first time with a narrow win over Iceland, scoring with both of their shots on target. Both teams were very almost not here.