It has been 31 days since Russia kicked off the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a thumping 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia.
Since then, dreams and fairytales have been shattered. England supporters are now faced with the sobering reality that the only thing 'coming home' is their fourth placing.
Belgium's World Cup window was slammed shut, although they found some solace in the bronze play-off against England.
The hosts sizzled and then fizzled, Australia did what Australia usually does in offering so much but delivering so little.
The Iceland fairytale came to a shuddering halt, gobbled up by the wolves that are the world's best footballers.
And when all the dust cleared, there were two teams left standing - France and Croatia. Tonight, they will do battle for the biggest prize in world football.
They have dispatched Lionel Messi’s Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium to be here - no easy feat.
Teenage striker Kylian Mbappe is a revelation with pace that can burn the world's best. Paul Pogba is omnipresent in the midfield and this side has talent in every position across the park.
They were one of the pre-tournament favourites and will be raging favourites heading into this final.
The ghosts of the early rounds of the World Cup still linger. France was lucky to steal a win from Australia, probably should have endured a draw and could have even lost if the Aussie's learned how to shoot.
They really limped through the group stage despite their star-studded roster before finding form later in the tournament. If they slip into old habits, they could well be punished.
Since Croatia regained independence in 1991, they have been an impressive force in world football.
This is the nation's first final, but they did make the semis in 1998 when they were bundled out by France - their opponents here.
Their group of Argentina, Nigeria and Iceland was widely considered one of the toughest to escape and beating Russia on home soil was an incredible feat.
Coming from behind against England showed how much heart this roster has. Anything is possible.
The very fact that Croatia is even at this World Cup is somewhat of a miracle. They needed a last-gasp win over Greece just to qualify and weren't expected to go nearly as far as they have.
This is a real David versus Goliath story, but unlike the biblical tale, the giant usually comes off as the victor.
Croatia is going to have to play the best game of their lives to topple the French.
Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.