(WUSA 9) -- France will face off against Croatia in the World Cup Final this Sunday in Moscow.
France turned in an all around performance against Belgium in the semi-finals winning 1-0, thanks to Samuel Umtiti's header from a corner kick.
Croatia edged out England 2-1 in extra time, thanks to Ivan Perisic, to pull off the upset and reach their first ever World Cup final, making Croatia the second smallest country to ever reach the final.
This is not the final that many expected at the start of the tournament. So far, this has been one of the most surprising World Cups in recent history. Brazil losing in the quarterfinals, Spain losing in the round of 16 and Germany not even making the knockout round were all farfetched ideas just a month ago.
For the French, this is redemption in the making after the French fiasco from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. But for Croatia, this is a huge accomplishment already.
France - Les Bleus arguably have the most talented team in the tournament on paper, but they still feel as if they're underperforming, even after their impressive win against the Belgians. They were able to shut down a lethal Belgian attack spear-headed by some of the world's best attackers. Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne was negated by the French midfield, stifling much of their attack through the middle, but they only won 1-0.
This French squad in theory should win against just about every team that qualified for the tournament, but so far they've had to scrap their way through the World Cup. Nothing comes easy to them, as they recently showed they can win ugly against the scrappiest team in the tournament: Uruguay. All of their results have been close, some of this can be attributed to baffling tactics at times, but there's no knocking their results.
Still, there's much to be desired as their forward Olivier Giroud has yet to register a shot on target in 6 matches. Thankfully the full-fledged emergence of teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe has carried the French attack, as he's only the second ever teenager to score 3 goals in the tournament. The first was Pele in 1958.
Croatia - Croatia have by far been the surprise of the tournament. They're not one of the bigger, well known giants of the international stage. But their midfield is arguably the strongest in the world with the likes of Real Madrid's Luka Modric and Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic.
This duo seemingly crushed the whole country of Argentina as they made their midfield look amateurish, and have so far powered the team consistently through the tournament, with Modric arguably being one of the best players in the whole tournament. Luka Modric has done everything his team has needed of him, and then more. He consistently finds the open pocket of space, delivers a slashing through ball, and immediately tracks back on defense. Like Pogba for France, he's capable of producing pure magic out of thin air at any moment.
Modric has no doubt been the star, but it was the Inter Milan's Ivan Perisic who was integral to putting the team through to their first ever final. Perisic scored to tie the game and assisted Mario Manzdukic for the game winning goal in extra time.
Croatia, just like France have proven that they can win ugly, if not uglier. While France has played close games throughout, they have yet to go to extra time. Croatia has done so three times already. The country won in penalty shootouts against Denmark and Russia, before outlasting England.
France will enter the game as heavy favorites, but as Croatia has already shown they're not to be taken lightly. Expect Croatia to hold onto the ball and France to seek out the counter as they did against Belgium with the highlight matchup coming between the two midfields. France's N'golo Kante and Paul Pogba did a masterful job in defending one of the world's best in De Bruyne in the last round. Expect the duo to do more of the same against Modric in the final.