While the headlines will be dominated by outfield stars such as Kylian Mbappe and Luka Modric, France and Croatia can thank their goalkeepers for their spots in the upcoming FIFA World Cup™ Final. Both Hugo Lloris and Danijel Subasic have been on top form for their respective sides, producing a steady supply of miraculous saves and penalty heroics respectively en route to Sunday’s decider.
With that Luzhniki showdown now looming large, FIFA.com asked our dedicated Team Reporters to give us the lowdown on their sides’ No1s.
Hugo Lloris (FRA)
Club: Tottenham Hotspur (ENG)
Russia 2018 shutouts: 4
What he brings to France
“Hugo Lloris has brought France consistency in a position where that was most definitely required. He became the team’s No1 as far back as 2009 and has accrued vast experience in the near-decade since. Against Belgium, he made his 103rd appearance for Les Bleus, which is a notable milestone as he equalled coach Didier Deschamps’ final caps haul having already become the most-capped keeper in France’s history.
At 31, he is in his goalkeeping prime and, as we have seen during this World Cup, there is no sign of his skill level dropping or his reflexes slowing. But Lloris’ importance isn’t merely as a good goalkeeper. He is a confidant of Deschamps and also holds the record for most appearances as France captain (79). Lloris is one of the true heroes of Les Bleus‘ Russia 2018 campaign thus far. His saves have proved crucial in securing the team vital results in matches against Peru, Uruguay and Belgium.”
Best save at Russia 2018
“There have been a few but the best came in the Round of 16 against against Uruguay, a few minutes before the end of the first half. The game was tense and France had only recently gone 1-0 up. Martin Caceres ran past Paul Pogba and rose higher than everyone to bullet in a powerful header. It looked certain to hit the net but Lloris produced an amazing horizontal leap to claw it away. After the match, Deschamps said: “It’s not a save – it’s almost a goal!”
Danijel Subasic (CRO)
Club: Monaco (FRA)
Russia 2018 shutouts: 2
What he brings to Croatia
“Danijel Subasic is having a very strong World Cup. Croatia conceded just a single goal in their first three games as they cruised to the top of a very tough Group D, and Subasic played no small role in that achievement. Penalty shootouts are another story. Croatia won their Round of 16 game against Denmark 3-2 on penalties and then 4-3 via the same method against Russia in the quarter-finals. Subasic became just the second goalkeeper to save four or more spot-kicks in a World Cup penalty shoot-out and has established himself as a real expert in that respect.”
Best save at Russia 2018
“Subasic showed his versatility when he saved three penalties against Denmark. He tipped the first penalty during that shootout from Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen on to the post. He then dived to his right to save an attempt from substitute Lasse Schone. Finally, he used his feet to block Nicolai Jorgensen’s attempt. But Subasic was injured during the shootout against Russia and perhaps his save against Fedor Smolov is the most famous. It was a bizarre half-Panenka attempt by the Russian, who tried to get Subasic to dive before chipping down the middle. But Smolov failed to direct his effort in the centre of goal, and Subasic adjusted his dive to make the save.”