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Traders' tips for the World Cup final and play-off

The World Cup comes to a conclusion this weekend but there are still two more opportunities for punters to get involved and end the tournament on a high.

England face Belgium in St Petersburg on Saturday in the third-place play-off before their conquerors, France and Croatia, meet in the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday.

Ahead of both matches, the BetStars traders have analysed the odds and given their World Cup predictions.

France vs Croatia

France have looked strong and efficient all tournament making their way to the final, while Croatia have impressed but have played extra time every round which is an extra 90 minutes of football. Furthermore they have trailed in every knockout tie so far.

With this in mind France will just have too much for Croatia and if there is one man to nullify Luka Modric it is N'Golo Kante, who has been superb this tournament. With the pace of Mbappe and quality of Griezmann and Pogba, we believe France will win the World Cup within the 90 minutes.

Kylian Mbappe has been a leading light for France during this tournament and we expect him to rise to the occasion of a World Cup final in fitting style by opening the scoring in Moscow. Croatia's defence has struggled to deal with pace throughout World Cup 2018 and the 18-year-old PSG striker is the perfect candidate to exploit the frailties in Zlatko Dalić's side.

The opportunity to stake a claim for the Golden Ball should also prove a big motivation for Mbappe and at 11/2 with an odds boost from BetStars, he is a fantastic bet to score the first goal of Sunday's final.

Both Croatia and France have been involved in tight knockout games leading into this final, with the exception of France's chaotic game against Argentina in the round of 16. We are expecting another tight affair at the Luzhniki on Sunday and given Croatia's tendency to go the full 120 minutes at this tournament, the likelihood of this game coming down to a penalty shoot-out looks high.

Whilst Croatia would fancy their chances of winning their third shoot-out at this World Cup, our preference would be for France to prevail on this occasion. At 10/1 with an odds boost from BetStars, France to win on penalties looks a great value bet.

Belgium vs England

Eden Hazard has been in superb form for Belgium in this World Cup and had they not been knocked out by France he would have been a strong contender for the Golden Ball.

The Belgium captain takes penalties and has been a prominent attacking threat all tournament and for that reason we are siding with him at an enhanced price.

80+ Minute Goal Insurance: Applies to all matches in the World Cup tournament. Stake refunded as a Free Bet up to £20 if a goal after 80:00 turns a winning Match Result bet into a loser. Goals scored in Extra Time or Penalty Shootouts do not count. T&Cs apply.

More World Cup previews here

Andrew McDermott
@a_mcdermott in World Cup