Sports desk – France have clinch the FIFA World Cup 2018 title defeating Croatia by 4-2 in the final match at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
It was the France’s second World Cup victory after 20 years. Sunday’s march was thoroughly entertaining that brought to the end to the outstanding tournament, which was participated by 32 football nations.
Despite Croatia having the majority of possession in the opening stages, France took the lead in somewhat fortuitous circumstances. Antoine Griezmann’s lofted free kick from the French right was nodded into his own net by Mario Mandzukic, according to FIFA.
Ivan Perisic levelled with a calm effort from the edge of the penalty area. A cross from the French right-hand side was handled by the Croatia No4, with a penalty awarded after a VAR review.
After the interval, France increased their lead through Paul Pogba, whose performances in the tournament deserved a goal in its finale. After Kylian Mbappe stretched the Croatian defence, Griezmann teed up Pogba, who finished after seeing his initial effort blocked.
After his tireless running tired the Croatian defence, it was only fitting that Mbappe himself got on the scoresheet, hitting a sweetly-struck effort from the edge of the penalty area with which Danijel Subasic stood no chance.
Mandzukic then scored in the same net, but this time to Croatia’s advantage, capitalising on some carelessness by Hugo Lloris to reduce the deficit.
In the end, the big No17’s strike was not enough to spark yet another miraculous Croatian comeback, and Les Bleus emulate their heroes of 1998 – including coach Didier Deschamps – in securing their second World Cup title.
Deschamps’ side repeated the success on home soil at France 1998 by a margin that hardly looked possible as Croatia stood toe-to-toe with the favourites for an hour.
France’s victory meant Deschamps, who captained them 20 years ago, became just the third man to win the competition as a player and coach, according to BBC.
Croatia also felt their luck deserted them, but ultimately France ran out victorious to erase the memories of the loss to Portugal in the Euro 2016 final in Paris.
Croatia and France delivered an enthralling spectacle that brought the joint highest goal tally in a final since 1958, a pitch invasion, and a controversial intervention from the video assistant referee that had a huge influence on the outcome.
France took the lead after 18 minutes when Antoine Griezmann’s free-kick deflected in off Mario Mandzukic’s head – but Croatia were by far the better side in the first half and deservedly equalised courtesy of Ivan Perisic’s left-foot finish.
Croatia were left nursing a burning sense of injustice when France restored their lead seven minutes before half-time through Griezmann’s penalty, awarded by referee Nestor Pitana for handball against Perisic after a lengthy delay while VAR was consulted.
In a compelling second half, France looked to have wrapped it up with two strikes in six minutes from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe either side of the hour mark.
Croatia, however, showed unbreakable spirit and even threatened a comeback when Mandzukic took advantage of France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris hesitating over a clearance to pull a goal back.
But France closed out the win to bring redemption for Deschamps after defeat at the Euros two years ago, sparking wild celebrations and ensuring Lloris lifted the World Cup.
France are the team for all seasons – possessing an all-round quality that has carried them to this World Cup triumph.
When that is added to an element of good fortune, it can prove a deadly combination.
France celebrated joyously at the final whistle after claiming the sport’s greatest trophy once more, with Deschamps – the coach whose conservative methods have often brought criticism – tossed high into the air by his players.