Paul Pogba warns France: We are not favourites in World Cup final against Croatia
Paul Pogba insists France are not favourites against Croatia in the World Cup final on Sunday in Moscow.
Les Bleus are considered by many as the stronger of the two -- but the French midfielder refutes this status.
"I don't think we are the favourites, It is a World Cup final," he said in a news conference on Thursday. "Croatia are really strong mentally. They came back from a goal down against England. They might have played 90 minutes more than us [due to extra-time in the last three matches] but the most determined team will win on Sunday.
"We have to stay like we are, not think that we are the favourites. Before the tournament started, there were doubts over us. We still haven't won anything. We want to go and get this World Cup together."
Samuel Umtiti, the goalscoring hero of the semifinal victory over Belgium, agrees with Pogba's assessment.
"We are only focused on our game and our performance," he said. "We have to play as a team like we have done so far in the knock out stage. We are not thinking about being favourites. "We are keeping our feet on the ground, we are not getting carried away. There is one more match to play. It is the most important one of all."
Umtiti expects a very good game and also played down the physical aspect of Croatia's play.
"It should be great final," he added. "We have a very strong collective and Croatia also have some big individual talents at the service of the team too. They are solid. "I don't think that tiredness will play a part as you overcome it when you play in a final."
The Barcelona defender will face yet another club teammate on Sunday in Ivan Rakitic. He is used to it though in this World Cup after playing against Lionel Messi in the last 16, Luis Suarez in the quarterfinal and - although he didn't actually take to the field -- Thomas Vermaelen in the semifinal.
"Rakitic is excellent technically," said Umtiti. "He can run for 90 minutes and more. He plays so well with Modric in midfield. They dictate the game. We can't give them the freedom to do it."