Croatia and France are set to meet in the 2018 World Cup final on Sunday and both teams will take to the pitch will very different mindsets.
While France will be desperate to break the voodoo and win their first World Cup since 1998 Croatia, on the other hand, will want to create history by winning their first ever World Cup final.
The pressure will undoubtedly be on the Les Bleus who are considered slight favourites to lift the trophy on Sunday but given the amount of resilience that Croatian team have shown, nothing is beyond their reach at this point of time.
The French team is dotted with superstars while Croatian team play as one single unit. And everyone is hoping to see a France attack vs Croatia defence battle in the World Cup final.
But if one can analyze the game a bit closer then they would see, the key battle will be played out in the middle of the pitch.
Between Luka Modric and N’Golo Kante.
Modric has been like that piano player in the orchestra who quietly does his thing in the background without ever getting noticed but once he stops playing everyone will immediately discern that something is wrong.
The Real Madrid midfielder is the kind of player who likes to stay away from the limelight and just do his thing.
So Didier Deschamps will know for sure that stopping him will be like winning half the battle.
But then, Gareth Southgate was also aware of the same thing.
England successfully kept Luka Modric at bay for the first half of the game but as the match rolled along, Modric was left loose and the result is now for everyone to see.
To be very honest, England did not have that kind of player who could stick to the midfielder like glue.
Thankfully France do.
France have N’Golo Kante in midfield and if there was any person in European football right now who can stop Luka Modric from playing his natural game, then it’s that little Frenchman.
Kante has made a name for himself in breaking up play and winning the ball back for his team. It’s a job that he loves and will do without even raising a frown.
Luka Modric so far has made 2.7 key passes in every game that he has played in the World Cup but N’Golo Kante, on the other hand, has made 3.2 interceptions in every game.
Modric has an 86 per cent passing success rate during the tournament while N’Golo Kante has a staggering 89 per cent.
So clearly if anyone can stop Luka Modric from bossing the game it is N’Golo Kante.
But we feel that the Frenchman has a crucial advantage by his side in the form of Paul Pogba.
If Kante manages to play his A game then he knows that Pogba has the quality to burst forward and provide that extra bit of juice in the attacking third.
While Luka Modric aso has Ivan Rakitic by his side but the Barcelona man is yet to shine in full light during this World Cup.
So, it might be a Mbappe or Manduzkic who scores the winning goal in Sunday’s World Cup final but be rest assured that the team who wins the midfield battle is going to lift that trophy in the end.