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World Cup Final: France vs Croatia: All you need to know, probable starting XI

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France will clash with Croatia in the 2018 World Cup final on Sunday at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia.

The Didier Deschamps’s men head into the game following a 1-0 victory against Belgium in the semi-final encounter played on Tuesday night, thanks to defender, Samuel Umtiti’s second half goal.

The Les Blues are bidding for their second World Cup crown after lifting the trophy in 1998 on home soil.

France have never lost in their five previous meetings against the Croats, winning three, including the most high-profile one, which came in the semi-finals of the 1998 World Cup.

Thuram scored twice in that match as France came from a goal down to win 2-1 en route to the trophy, and their only other meeting at a major tournament was a 2-2 draw at Euro 2004.

The two sides have only met once since that latter contest, and that ended in a goalless friendly stalemate at the Stade de France in March 2011.

The main injury doubts for France ahead of the clash is midfielder, Blaise Matuidi, who was forced off against Belgium following a collision with Eden Hazard.

Matuidi, however, is expected to start against Croatia after he was cleared of concussion.

France coach, Didier Deschamps could,, therefore name an unchanged side from the semi-final.

Deschamps is already on the verge of history as he bids to become only the third man after Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer to win the World Cup as both a player and a manager for France.

Meanwhile Croatia heads into the game after beating England 2-1 in the semi-final encounter played on Wednesday night.

Croatia coach, Zlatko Dalic has no new injuries worries in his squad ahead of the game.

Dalic is expected to feature an unchanged squad that started against the Three Lions.

Croatia captain, Luka Modrid will play in the midfield and will be assisted by Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic and Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozovic.

Juventus striker, Mario Mandzuki Perisic will lead the attack line for Dalic’s men and will be supported by Perisic, who was Croatia’s main danger man against England.

France’s potential starting XI: Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez; Kante, Pogba, Mbappe, Griezmann, Matuidi; Giroud

Croatia’s potential starting XI: Subasic; Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Strinic; Rebic, Modric, Brozovic, Rakitic, Perisic; Mandzukic

The kick off time for the match is 4pm.

Football

Manchester United players told to ignore Mourinho’s instructions

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Former Arsenal defender, Martin Keown, has told Manchester United players to ignore instructions from manager Jose Mourinho and take matters into their own hands.

The Red Devils travel to Anfield on Sunday to take on title-chasing Liverpool, 16 points behind their bitter rivals.

A much-changed United side slipped to another demoralising defeat against Valencia in midweek and Keown believes Mourinho’s men are turning in the worst performances he has seen in 25 years.

“These performances are some of the worst we’ve seen from United in 25 years,” Keown told Football Focus.

“They are there for the taking – these United players almost need to stop listening to their manager now.

“If this is how they’re being told to play, the players are on their own – I don’t know the identity of this United team.

“They’re almost dreading games. Whether they change the manager is another thing but every game feels like a crisis now.

“Mourinho has an incredible job there but the ‘special one’ has become the ‘lonely one’.

“He’s almost enjoying the process of it coming to an end.”

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Barcelona

Barcelona issue fresh ban to Dembele

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Barcelona have banned Ousmane Dembele from turning off his phone, after he once again failed to arrive on time for training, uniquesports.com.ng reports.

Earlier this week, Dembele begged his team-mates for forgiveness in a private dressing-room speech, after being fined £90,000 for turning up two hours late to training, reports Daily Mail.

Manager Ernesto Valverde has now instructed the French winger, to keep his phone on all the time, so that he can be contactable if another issue arises.

Valverde is said to be content with the player’s improvement off the pitch and believes he has taken positive steps towards changing his attitude.

It is believed Dembele enjoys playing video games and watching TV until the early hours of the morning, which is the main issue.

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Football

Man City VS Everton: Jesus scores twice as Manchester City go back to top

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Manchester City have returned to the top of the Premier League for another 24 hours at least, following a 3-1 win over Everton in Saturday’s early kick-off.

Pep Guardiola’s men saw their unbeaten start to the season end at Chelsea last week and Liverpool overtook them on the table.

However, the champions preserved their 100 per cent record at home against Marco Silva’s men.

Gabriel Jesus scored either sides of half time to give City a 2-0 lead, before Dominic Calvert-Lewin pulled one back.

However, Raheem Sterling climbed off the bench, to head in a third and make sure the home side got maximum points.

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