Sports personalities pick their winning team

JOSEPH SCHOOLING National swimmer

I think Croatia are going to win; I always like an underdog, and they showed a lot of tenacity in the way they played against England. It showed a huge will to win. It's the World Cup final, anything can happen.


JAZREEL TAN National bowler who supports Spain and England

My teams are out. But, between France and Croatia, I feel like supporting Croatia because there's a Liverpool player (Dejan Lovren) in the team. France have a very good team on paper. Individually, they are so stacked and crazy but I'll support the underdogs and my Liverpool player.


SASHA CHRISTIAN National waterskier

That's a tough one. France won five games and drew one. They are looking great. That said, this is the first time Croatia are in the final and, like many others, there's a huge part of me that wants to stand with the underdogs. I'm sure they will be fuelled by all the support and do their best to take it home.


NURUL BAIZURA

National netballer and Brazil fan I feel France's attack is very clinical and their strikers/wingers are very skilful individually. In particular, Kylian Mbappe has great speed and is very deadly with the ball in the box.


HARISS HARUN Singapore football captain

It's tough to call. Croatia are a team of fighters, but France will win because they are very solid all the way from their backline to the forwards - but it will be close. They've got men in Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe who can change a game. They are favourites but, in a one-off game like this, you never know.


MICHEL SABLON Football Association of Singapore technical director

I hope, and I think, Croatia will win. France are a physically strong, defence-oriented team with a fast counter-attack. I prefer a technical team like Croatia, and that's why I think they will win. Luka Modric has played some fantastic games, and he never loses the ball.


FANDI AHMAD

Local football icon and national team coach Croatia have experienced players and they have played very patient football. France are always dangerous because of their speed. It's 50-50 but, if I have to make a prediction, I think France will edge it.


SHAHRIL ISHAK

National football team vice-captain Croatia deserve to win the World Cup. They conceded first in all three of their knockout games, but came back to win each time, showing great teamwork and semangat (fighting spirit). I think they will win 2-1.


PATRICK VIEIRA

Former France midfielder and 1998 World Cup winner in a column for The Times: Didier Deschamps has timed this run to perfection. France have found the balance of the team and the best form exactly when they need it. I believe they will be at their best for the final.


PAUL MERSON

Ex-England player tells Sky Sports he expects France to edge it 2-1

Olivier Giroud could be the key man. I think he's underrated. If he can get the better of the two centre-backs and hold the ball up, then with Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe running off him, I don't think Croatia will be able to live with France.


MARK LAWRENSON

Former Ireland defender tells BBC why he thinks France will win 2-0

We have seen France are efficient, and are able to stop teams from playing through them, but they are also very dangerous going forward. They have been the best team here in Russia, and that's why I am backing them to be world champions.


CHARLIE NICHOLAS

Former Scotland forward tells Sky Sports it will be a one-sided final, with France winning 4-0

The sheer grit of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and even Dejan Lovren... managed to dig in against England. But, if Croatia concede early, it could be an exhibition of football from France.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 15, 2018, with the headline 'Sports personalities pick their winning team'. Print Edition | Subscribe