World Cup 2018: Lawro's predictions for the final and third-place play-off

Published on: 13 July 2018

World Cup 2018 on the BBC

Host: Russia Dates: 14 June - 15 July

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Croatia midfield maestro Luka Modric is Mark Lawrenson's player of the 2018 World Cup, but who does he think will win Sunday's final?

The match between France and Croatia is the 64th and final game of the tournament. Lawro has made a prediction for all of them and, overall, he has been right 52% of the time.

In the semi-finals, Lawro correctly thought France would beat Belgium, but predicted England would win their semi-final 2-1 in extra time. Sadly for Gareth Southgate's side, it was Croatia who scored the decisive late goal.

Lawro picked the winner in three of the four quarter-finals and six of the eight last-16 ties. He had a 46% success rate in the group stage, correctly predicting the outcome of 22 of the 48 games.

Before the tournament, Lawro correctly chose 14 of the 16 teams that reached the first knockout stage, including Brazil - his pick to win the tournament - and England, who he thought would go out in the quarter-finals.

Lawro was speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan in Moscow.

Games Score Lawro's prediction

Saturday, 14 July

Belgium v England x-x 1-2

Sunday, 15 July

France v Croatia x-x 2-0

Saturday, 14 July

Belgium v England (Third/fourth-place play-off, Krestovsky Stadium, St Petersburg - 15:00 BST)

This is the game nobody wants. Who remembers who finishes third in a World Cup?

When we look back at this tournament, England reached the semi-finals, not finished third or fourth.

I think Belgium boss Roberto Martinez will make some changes, but will Gareth Southgate do the same? I am not sure.

The more I think about it, the more I think Southgate will use it to give a game to the squad members who have spent most of this tournament on the bench but have trained hard and helped the team reach the last four.

This is England's second meaningless match with Belgium at this World Cup, and the only good thing about this game is it might be quite open, because there is no point getting everyone behind the ball.

Lawro's prediction: 1-2

Sunday, 15 July

France v Croatia (World Cup final, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow - 16:00 BST)

France forward Kylian Mbappe has been absolutely brilliant in a couple of games but Croatia midfielder Luka Modric has been my player of the tournament because he has delivered in every match he has played.

Modric wants the ball in every situation, always tries to pass it forward, and hardly ever gives it away.

He will win the ball back for you too, and has also come up with a couple of goals. His consistency is exceptional and he is an absolute class act. I don't see a better midfielder in world football.

I have seen Croatia three times during this World Cup and their strength is definitely in the middle of the pitch. That is where they will look to take control of this match.

They are very good at keeping the ball, although they do not always fashion that many chances and France will be extremely difficult to break down.

I was at France's first game, against Australia, and they have developed and improved as this World Cup has gone on.

Ousmane Dembele started up front against Australia alongside Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann, and it just did not work. They were all moving around well but they had nobody to get hold of the ball for them in the final third.

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Olivier Giroud has come in and given the team a focal point and a presence in that part of the pitch. You know it will stick when it comes into him.

Everyone is saying Giroud has not scored yet, but that doesn't matter because he makes Mbappe and Griezmann better players and gets them on the ball in dangerous areas.

We have seen France are efficient, and 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.

Lawro's prediction: 2-0