France sealed their second World Cup triumph with a 4-2 win over Croatia in the final in Moscow.
An 18th minute own goal by Mario Mandzukic was added to by Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe in a stunning showdown in the Luzhniki Stadium where France were crowned as champions of the world on Sunday evening.
— Equipe de France (@equipedefrance) July 15, 2018
Against the run of play, Mandzukic flicked the ball into the top corner of his own goal from a Griezmann free-kick.
Croatia had been dominant, and continued to do so after the setback, when Ivan Rakitic volleyed a Mandzukic cross wide of the target.
Zlatko Dalić’s men made the pressure count in the 28th minute when Ivan Perisic hit a brilliant drive into the bottom corner of Lloris’ goal to even the scores just before the half-hour mark.
Luka Modric – later named the player of the tournament – was dictating play and more chances came and went for but Mandzukic and Perisic.
Again, against the run of play, and just minutes before half-time, France were awarded a penalty. A Griezmann corner hit the hand of Perisic, and after more than six minutes of arguments and reviews on the VAR screen, referee Néstor Pitana decided it was worthy of a spot-kick and Griezmann made no mistake; sending Subasic the wrong way.
The penalty was France’s first effort on goal and Croatia had dominated possession, but somehow, Didier Deschamps’ men were 2-1 up at the break.
Like in the first half, Croatia came out flying in the second and Ante Rebić had a volley tipped over in sublime fashion just three minutes in.
Ivan Rakitic and Modric were attempting to keep the momentum and fluidity in the Croatia group, and Perisic ran at Benjamin Pavard with every given chance, but it was to be France’s day and ultimately their world cup.
Paul Pogba got the third for the 1998 winners with thirty minutes to go with a fine strike from the edge of the area.
It was just four minutes later when Mbappe found the bottom corner with a low drive after being given too much space 25-yards-out.
FIFA Young Player Award:
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 15, 2018
Mandzukic kept the tie alive when he read Lloris’ mind in the 69th minute, cutting out the Tottenham Hotspur stopper’s shift onto his left foot; and the ball ricocheted into the back of the France net for 4-2.
The scores stayed that way and France were crowned champions of the world, and deservedly so.
The French Football Association have built a successful model and the victory meant Deschamps, who captained them 20 years ago, became just the third man to win the competition as a player and coach.
Only three managers have won the World Cup as both a player and a manager:
1958 & 1970: Mario Zagallo
1974 & 1990: Franz Beckenbauer
1998 & 2018: Didier Deschamps
The most elite of groups. pic.twitter.com/n3nmUvDBLR
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 15, 2018
Having claimed sport’s most sought after trophy once again, the player celebrated joyously with Deschamps – the coach whose conservative methods have often brought criticism – tossed high into the air by his players.