The World Cup draws to a close this weekend. In our bitcoin betting guide, you'll find details on likely formations and performances. First, we look at the third place playoff. The chance to win a bronze medal will not be taken lightly by those on the field on Saturday (even if the first-teamers are rested) and it should be a free-flowing game of football.
Didier Deschamps' side are strong favourites to lift the trophy on Sunday. However, Croatia's tournament has been defined by a never-say-die attitude that should allow them to grind the French into submission. It will be an intense battle for supremacy in central midfield, and although there probably won't be many goals it should be a fascinating final nonetheless.
Belgium v England 14th July 14:00
As Premier League managers ring Roberto Martinez and Gareth Southgate pleading to rest their star players, Belgium's third-place playoff with England might be the most bizarre rematch in Word Cup history. Here's a chance for England's reserves to get revenge on Belgium's reserves.
Both nations will be crushingly disappointed following their semi-final exits, and so it makes sense to leave the first-teamers on the bench and give some time to the background players who, having supported the first 11 on their journey, deserve another chance in Russia.
Tactics and line-ups
This means starts for fringe players including Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Marcus Rashford, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Fabien Delph, all of whom will be pushing for places at Euro 2020. They will be keen to leave their mark on the competition, and the same can be said of those for whom the playoff represents their final ever World Cup match. Gary Cahill and Jamie Vardy certainly won't be around in four years time.
England will probably pick the same team that lost 1-0 to Belgium in the final match of the group stages
Southgate is unlikely to change shape, either, although he could deploy a 4-3-3 if he is keen to make 11 changes - the only way to leave out John Stones and bring Danny Welbeck in. Belgium will similarly put out a mix of experience and youth, with Adnan Januzai keen to build on his last performance. Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku, both chasing the Golden Boot, will have to settle for late cameos.
Things to look out for:
How motivated will these teams be? A win would put a nice cap on an excellent campaign, and so the tempo should be a lot higher than it was in June. Loftus-Cheek, Alexander-Arnold, and Rashford are all future England stars, making this a good test of their mentality – and ability to work together in the same side. Elsewhere, it would be fantastic for Jamie Vardy's fairy-tale career to end with a bronze medal, and a goal, at the World Cup.
Belgium have a couple of future stars of their own, and it is certainly worth keeping an eye on 21-year-old Youri Tielemans, an AS Monaco midfielder who has the potential to be one of the world's best players. The hunger of these youngsters, plus both nations' commitment to expansive football, could make for an entertaining and high-scoring game.
Back over 2.5 goals at 1.64*
France v Croatia 15th July 15:00
This isn't exactly the final most had envisaged when the tournament began four weeks ago, and indeed the respective journeys of France and Croatia suggest it won't be a particularly entertaining one. France beat Belgium 1-0 in a victory for pragmatism over attacking quality, while Croatia have needed extra-time in all three of their knockout rounds so far.
For the French, this is a first final since they lifted the World Cup in 1998 and a rematch of their 2-1 semi-final win over Croatia that year. Not unlike England's penalty shootout defeat to West Germany in 1990, Croatian fans have never forgotten the heartache of the day when Davor Suker gave them the lead only for a Lilian Thuram double to send the hosts through.
Tactics and line-ups
France have looked considerably better in the knockout stages than in the groups, primarily because Didier Deschamps' cautious defensive football suits facing possession-centric teams. They held a very low block against Belgium, winning in a Mourinho-esque fashion that simply won't work against Croatia. It is unlikely Deschamps will change the starting line-up but the French will be forced out of their shell.
Croatia will take confidence from how poor France were against Australia and Peru, winning narrowly having struggled to create chances throughout.
France's central midfield partnership will be tough to break down
We'd expect this to be a low-scoring chess match on Sunday. The battle between N'Golo Kante and Luka Modric will define this match. Can the Real Madrid midfielder evade Kante's grasp and probe in the spaces left by Paul Pogba?
Things to look out for:
The most important aspect of Zlatko Dilic's tactics against England was the long diagonal passes into the full-backs, who were able to find space on the outside of Southgate's midfielders and deliver crosses for Mario Mandzukic. This could be equally effective in the final given France's relative weakness in the full-back positions and Deschamps' use of Blaise Matuidi as a left winger. Matuidi tucks inside to help centrally, which might hand right-back Sime Vrsaljko an advantage.
At the other end, Kylian Mbappe should cause havoc on the shoulder of the last defender, mimicking how Raheem Sterling tore the Croatia centre-backs to shreds in the first half of the semi-final. Dejan Lovren and Domagoj Vida will be too slow to handle Mbappe, provided France are willing to play long balls forward. Ultimately however, Deschamps' conservatism will cost him.
Back Croatia to win at 2.96*
*Odds subject to change, all times UTC.