MOSCOW, Russia (July 15, 2018) – An own goal, a VAR review, and six goals. This year’s FIFA World Cup final had everything, but it was France that took the best part of it after winning 4-2 against Croatia to lift the trophy for the second time in their history.
The French attacking side proved why they are the team nobody wants to face with four goals in 65 minutes against a Croatian team that left their heart out on the pitch despite Les Bleus being too strong for them.
Not so many expected Croatia to win it all. Nevertheless, they came short after tying the game 1-1 in the first half with a superb left-footed strike by Ivan Perisic. The odds before the tournament didn’t favor Croatia getting this far and that’s something they should be proud of. Ultimately, the fatigue associated with playing three straight extra times ahead of this game took its toll.
France Thrashes Croatia to Claim Second World Cup Trophy
Mario Mandzukic’s own goal in the 18th minute was an anticipation of what was about to come: six goals in the final for the first time since 1966.
Perisic’s equalizer brought hope for Croatia’s side in the 28th minute, but 10 minutes later Antoine Griezmann put France ahead one again after scoring the first penalty dictated by the VAR Technology in a FIFA World Cup final.
In the second half nothing really changed. It remained all Les Bleus for the most part.
Paul Pogba played probably his greatest game in a France uniform after defending as he was doing all tournament long. This time, though, he managed to score the third goal after a great counterattack in the 59th minute.
Young rising star Kylian Mbappé put the game in the bag with France’s fourth goal in the 65th with a remarkable strike from outside the box. With the match 4-1 at this point, French supporters were ready to celebrate early.
However, Croatia had one more when goalkeeper Hugo Lloris made a horrible error that Mandzukic was able to take advantage of to make it 4-2. Mandzukic also became the second footballer in World Cup history to score a goal and an own goal in the same match since Ernie Brandts did so in 1978.
That was all. Croatia tried to come back as they did against England but the French defense remained resolute the rest of the way. Though Croatia was desperately in search of goals, the Balkan side could not do anything to put pressure on Les Bleus.
Allez Les Champions
For the second time in their history, France won the World Cup after emulating the generation of ’98, tying Argentina and Uruguay as the third best in the history of the event.
France is the first team in World Cup history to lift the trophy without their main forward scoring a goal in the tournament as Olivier Giroud failed to find the net in any of their seven matches.
With Sunday’s triumph, France is also the first team to score four goals in a World Cup final since Brazil beat Italy 4-1 in 1970. And coach Didier Deschamps became the third person to win the World Cup as a player (1998) and as a coach (2018). The other two are Brazil’s Mario Zagallo and Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer.
The World Cup party ended with the champions crowning celebration and individual accolades. Mbappe was named the best young player in the tournament. He scored three goals, including his side’s fourth goal in the final to be considered as the football star of the future.
FIFA gave Croatia captain Luka Modric the Golden Ball award after he led his country to their first international final, in a road that included three extra times and two penalty shootouts.
Belgium’s Eden Hazard earned the Silver Boot and Griezmann received the Bronze Ball.
England’s Harry Kane finished as the Golden Boot winner with six goals in the tournament, while Belgium’s goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois obtained the Golden Glove.
Spasibo Russia, You Were Amazing
The Russia World Cup comes to an end but not after giving plenty of outstanding moments.
And with that, the wait is on for Qatar 2022. It will be four and a half years before that tournament takes place with proceedings getting underway on November 21 and the final being played on December 18.