Barton: France Will Beat Croatia

Warren Barton believes France will win the World Cup, but he admits he has a soft spot for Croatia and what it has accomplished

Reiter Than You
July 12, 2018 - 2:44 pm
France Advances To Final

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FOX Sports soccer analyst Warren Barton dropped by CBS Sports Radio’s Reiter Than You to discuss the World Cup, including Sunday’s final between France and Croatia, which begins at 2 p.m. ET.

Show host Bill Reiter offered his condolences to Barton, an England soccer fan. England was eliminated in the semifinals, 2-1, by Croatia on Wednesday.

"Croatia is an excellent team,” Barton said. "They beat Argentina 3-nil and it could've been 5-nil. They've gone to PK's twice, so they've got character and strength and abundance. And they've got, obviously, world-class players with the likes of Rakitic of Barcelona and Luka Modric of Real Madrid. So they're an excellent team and fully deserve it. If you're going to get beat, get beat properly, and we did. But we are proud with a little tinge of disappointment."

Reiter wondered how a country of Croatia's size has been able to put together talent of this caliber and beat bigger, more populated – and often more talented – countries. 

"You have the quality of players that are playing at big clubs, the publicity that goes with that and the money it generates for the country,” Barton explained. “It's surprising to some but not to others who understand what the mentality is in that part of the world – that soccer is their life and that's all they think about when the sun comes up until it goes down. It's part of their lives and they would play soccer until 70 or 80 years of age if they could."

Barton also offered a prediction for Sunday. 

"Your head says France, but there's a little soft spot for Croatia,” he said, “(given) what they've been through, beating Russia, going to extra time with England and Denmark, and winning on penalties against Denmark – and their performance against Argentina, which is probably the performance of the tournament. But I am going to go with France. I just think . . . they’ve got that X-factor, and the pace that they play at is exciting to watch."