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France fine-tuned their preparations for the World Cup final against Croatia.

MOSCOW- Desperate to overcome the bitter disappointment of losing the Euro 2016 final,France fine-tuned their preparations for the World Cup final against Croatia on Friday as FIFA declared Russia 2018 the best-ever tournament.

France kick-started at a steady rate in  their World Cup bid but they have gone up through the gears during the knockout rounds, and look a strong blend of youthful verve and experience.

"The tears have dried from Euro 2016 but it's still there in a little corner of people's minds," midfielder Blaise Matuidi said on Friday.

"It will be useful for us on Sunday, even if I don't like to keep bringing up the past. It will serve as a lesson to us and it means we know what it is to play in a final.

"We'll approach it differently and hope that we play really well and win it. It´s up to us to put everything into place to achieve our dream of lifting the World Cup."

Croatia's Luka Modric has been one of the stars of the World Cup in Russia. Photo; AFP

.Croatia — the smallest nation to make it to the final since Uruguay in 1950 — have battled through three periods of extra-time to reach the final. That means they have played the equivalent of a whole extra match more than France.

But coach Zlatko Dalic said there would be no excuses despite their exertions.

"I feel extremely excited, I don't know how I will wait until Sunday," said Grabar-Kitarovic, who is going to attend the game. "Regardless of Sunday's result, which I believe will be a victory, we are winners."

'Best World Cup ever'

As the tournament moves towards its end, FIFA president Gianni Infantino declared it the best ever.

"I was saying this would be the best World Cup ever. Today I can say it with more conviction... it is the best World Cup," Infantino said in Moscow.

More than one million foreign fans have visited Russia during the World Cup, according to FIFA figures.

"A lot of pre-conceived ideas have changed thanks to this World Cup," said Infantino.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino says the Russian World Cup is the best ever. Photo: AFP

"Everyone has discovered a beautiful country, a welcoming country, full of people keen to show to the world what maybe sometimes is said is not what happens here."

He also said the use of the VAR (video assistant referee) had been a success and praised the quality of the football, with just a single 0-0 draw in 62 games so far.

Security operation 

Millions will be watching FIFA world cup Final live and hundreds of thousands of people are expected to pour onto the streets of Paris at the weekend, 20 years on from the 1998 win, when Deschamps was captain of the side.

"Everything is being done so the French can live these festive moments with peace of mind, despite the terrorist threat which remains at a high level," said Interior Minister Gerard Collomb.

Before the final, England will play Belgium in a low-key battle for third place in Saint Petersburg on Saturday.

"None of us knows if that´s as good as it gets," he said, after England were beaten 2-1 by Croatia in extra-time on Wednesday.

"We were 20 minutes from a World Cup final and then in extra-time about 10 minutes from penalties to get into the final."

FIFA said Friday it had asked TV producers to reduce the number of close-up shots of fans to avoid any "suggestions of sexual connotations".

"We prefer that the coverage avoids exaggerated or extended duration close-ups that could lead to suggestions of sexual connotations or gender bias," a FIFA spokesman said.

  • FIFA world Cup
  • Moscow
  • Russia
  • France
  • Croatia
  • Football worldcup Final
  • Euro 2016
  • FIFA president Gianni Infantino