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France focus on ultimate glory, spurred on by 2016 Euro pain


Antoine Griezmann in action during a France training session in Moscow.
 MOSCOW, July 13: France fine-tuned their preparations for the World Cup final against Croatia on Friday, desperate to overcome the bitter disappointment of losing the Euro 2016 final as FIFA declared Russia 2018 the best-ever tournament.

Didier Deschamps’ team are firm favourites to win Sunday’s showpiece in Moscow and become world champions for the second time – 20 years after their first triumph in 1998.

But they will come up against a hungry Croatia side boasting one of the players of the tournament in Real Madrid star Luka Modric, who is desperate to win the trophy for the nation of just over four million people.

France failed to click in the group stages but they have gone up through the gears during the knockout rounds and look a formidable blend of youthful vitality and experience.

They will approach the match at the 80,000-capacity Luzhniki Stadium full of confidence and with the pain of losing the final of Euro 2016 on home soil to Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal spurring them on. “The tears have dried from Euro 2016 but it’s still there in a little corner of people’s minds,” said Blaise Matuidi on Friday. – AFP

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