MOSCOW — Kylian Mbappe has electrified the World Cup with his speed and youthful exuberance. Luka Modric has coolly controlled matches with his graceful play in the middle.

Whether France wins its second title in 20 years or Croatia raises the trophy for the first time Sunday at the Luzhniki Stadium in front of Russian President Vladimir Putin and nearly a billion television viewers could turn on the play of the two stars.

The 19-year-old Mbappe has been the biggest sensation at the tournament, scoring three goals – two against Argentina in the round of 16 – and creating havoc for defenses with his pace and agility.

“It’s going to be the biggest match of my life, for sure,” the Paris Saint-Germain forward said Friday.

Although Mbappe has impressed for France at the month-long tournament, Modric has been the rock and spark for Croatia. When the Real Madrid midfielder has the ball, good things happen for Croatia.

“Even when you think they’re going to lose or going to crack, they always have the mentality to come back,” Mbappe said of the Croatian team. “It’s a team that plays with a lot of intensity.”

France last won the World Cup in 1998 at home. The French beat Croatia in the semifinals that year, which until now had been the nation’s best showing.

Croatia, a country of 4.5 million people that gained independence from the former Yugoslavia only 27 years ago, enters the final after three straight extra-time matches, including two penalty shootouts.

In all three matches, Croatia recovered from being a goal down.

“When you put the sacred Croatia shirt on, you become a different person,” Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic said through a translator. “I’m not trying to say it’s a superior feeling that the French have for France or Russians for Russia.

“The best feeling is to be Croat these days and this is the source of all our strength.”

While Croatia had to rally to keep advancing, France won all three knockout games in the regulation 90 minutes and trailed for only nine of the 540-plus minutes on the field.

France or Croatia will become the fourth European country to become world champion in a streak that started when Italy beat the French in the 2006 final.

Spain won the 2010 title in another Europe-only final against the Netherlands, and Germany defeated Argentina in 2014 to become the first European team to win the Cup in South America.

There is $10 million in extra prize money on the line. FIFA will give $38 million to the winning team’s national soccer federation. The runner-up gets $28 million.

The total prize fund for the 32 competing teams is $400 million. FIFA gives each team at least $8 million.

NOTES: Both the World Cup final and men’s Wimbledon final could overlap Sunday. The tennis final starts in London two hours before the soccer kicks off in Moscow. … If Rakitic’s soccer career had not led him to the World Cup final, he might have helped design the Luzhniki Stadium’s recent reconstruction. Rakitic studied architecture while growing up in Switzerland, and trained at the Basel offices of Herzog & de Meuron.