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Here’s how the head-to-head duels in France v Croatia played out domestically this season

What can we gauge from some of the head-to-head battles that have gone down between players from Croatia and France this season?

There’s nothing that compares to a World Cup final.

But that’s not going to stop us over-analysing every minute detail in search of a clue as to which way France v Croatia will go.

The two sides haven’t met competitively since David Trezeguet rescued a point in a 2-2 draw during Euro 2004.

However several players from each side have faced off during the domestic season just gone.

See ya

EPA
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See ya

Paul Pogba (Man United) and Luka Modric (Real Madrid)

Not strictly domestic, but Pogba and Modric locked horns when United and Madrid met in the European Super Cup.

Both players completed the full 90 minutes on a night in which Madrid ran out 2-1 winners thanks to some wayward United finishing.

Pogba was guilty of failing to find the back of the net with a close range header, although the resulting miss from Romelu Lukaku meant it was quickly forgotten.

Kylian Mbappe (PSG) and Danijel Subasic (Monaco)

If France are to lift the World Cup then Didier Deschamps’ side will have to do something Mbappe hasn’t been able to this season; find a way past Croatia goalkeeper Subasic.

Mbappe has been on the winning side on both occasions Monaco and PSG met this season- once in Ligue 1 and once in the French League Cup final- but didn’t score in either game.

Any chance of getting Edinson Cavani in on a one-match loan?

Access denied

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Access denied

Olivier Giroud (Arsenal/Chelsea) and Dejan Lovren (Liverpool)

The most unloved striker in world football meets the self-proclaimed best centre-back in world football. Surely a one-sided affair?

Not if their two earlier meetings this season are anything to go by.

Giroud played 28 minutes of Arsenal’s 4-0 loss to Liverpool in August before moving across London to avenge the defeat.

The Frenchman beat Lovren in the air to settle the game between Chelsea and Liverpool in May. A sign of what’s to come?

Leaping like a Calvin Klein model

AFP or licensors
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Leaping like a Calvin Klein model

Benjamin Pavard (Stuttgart) and Ante Rebic (Frankfurt)

Two of the unheralded members of their respective sides, Pavard and Rebic have nonetheless played their part.

Rebic has floated from flank to flank during the tournament, meaning he’ll come up against right-back Pavard at some point.

Heading into the game it’s advantage Rebic, who found the back of the net against Pavard’s Stuttgart in a 2-1 win in September.

Pavard did manage to get his own back when he helped Stuttgart keep a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Rebic’s Frankfurt five months later.

We thought you weren’t meant to go to ground?

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We thought you weren’t meant to go to ground?

Blaise Matuidi (Juventus) and Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan)

The two versatile Duracell Bunnies don’t always look particularly graceful, but they get the job done.

There was nothing pretty about the pair’s first meeting this season- a 0-0 draw when Juventus hosted Inter Milan in December. However their final meeting of the Serie A campaign was more enjoyable.

Inter had a man sent off after 14 minutes only to go 2-1 up, a lead they held until the 87th minute when Milan Skriniar’s own goal pulled Juventus level.

Gonzalo Higuain popped up two minutes later to win the game for Juventus in a game that proved vital for the title race. Any chance of more of the same in the World Cup final?

Gloves and short sleeves should be a punishable crime

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Gloves and short sleeves should be a punishable crime