Belfast Telegraph

The main talking points around the World Cup final

Can Croatia keep going? And will Mbappe shine on the biggest occasion of all?

One of the greatest World Cups in memory comes to a close on Sunday as France and Croatia meet in the final.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the talking points of the day.

Croatia’s Duracell bunnies

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Croatia have kept running… and running (Adam Davy/PA)

Many onlookers could not believe how strong Croatia looked in seeing off England on Wednesday night. After all, they had gone all the way to penalties against Denmark and Russia, so the way they grew into the semi-final and eventually overpowered England was impressive. It would be foolish to doubt if they can do it again, would it not?

The biggest stage for the biggest names

Kylian Mbappe has been one of the stars of the tournament, most notably his stunning deconstruction of Argentina in the second round. Not even 20, he was not born when his country won the World Cup on home soil at France 98. Nothing has fazed him so far in his career, be it his big-money move to Paris Saint Germain or this World Cup. The stage seems set for him.

Didier deserves more credit

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Didier Deschamps could do a World Cup double (Adam Davy/PA)

At stages throughout this World Cup cycle it has been suggested Didier Deschamps should be on borrowed time as France manager. Nonsense. The 49-year-old’s record stands up with some of the best. He took France to the 2016 European Championship final and now a World Cup final where he could follow up his achievement of lifting the trophy as captain 20 years ago.

Over to you, Qatar

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The World Cup’s next stop is Qatar (PA)

It is fair to say there was some degree of cynicism about this World Cup, largely for off-the-field reasons. Predictions have proved to be little more than that, though, with the general consensus being that this will go down as one of the best World Cups ever, if not the greatest. The torch will be passed to Qatar on Sunday. They have a high bar to clear.

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