France beats Croatia 4-2 to win 2018 FIFA World Cup

Monday, July 16, 2018

Yesterday, France defeated Croatia 4–2 in the final of 2018 FIFA Football World Cup to win the tournament for the second time. French teenager Kylian Mbappé became the second teenager to score in a FIFA World Cup final after Pelé did in 1958's tournament.

Croatia dominated the ball possession, having almost twice as much as France. In the sixth minute, French defender Samuel Umtiti won a free kick in the defensive half. In the 17th minute, Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozović committed a foul and the referee awarded France a freekick. Mario Mandžukić ended up scoring an own goal from Antoine Griezmann's assist, giving France an early lead. Domagoj Vida and Ivan Rakitić tried to equalise for Croatia, later, but their attempts were either blocked or went wide. In the 27th minute, French defensive midfielder N'Golo Kanté was shown a yellow card for a bad foul. A minute later, Ivan Perišić scored a left-footed shot from Vida's assist, equalising for Croatia. The sides were not tied to 1–1 score for long. In the 35th minute, the referee awarded France a penalty kick, after confirming with the video assistant referee. Ivan Perišić had a handball in the penalty area. Greizmann scored from the penalty, putting the ball in the left corner and sending Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subašić in the opposite direction. Frenchman Lucas Hernández was booked by the referee in the 41st minute. The first half ended with France leading 2–1.

In the second half, Griezmann missed a chance to score from Olivier Giroud's assist. France made their first substitution in the 55th minute, as N'Golo Kanté was replaced by Steven N'Zonzi. Just before the one-hour mark, Paul Pogba had a shot towards goal but was blocked and Pogba collected the ball, and on the second attempt, the French midfielder scored from the left-footed shot, doubling the lead for France. Kylian Mbappé scored the fourth goal in the 65th minute, from Hernández's assist. With this goal, Mbappé became the second teenager to score in a FIFA World Cup final. In the 69th minute, Mandžukić scored the second goal for Croatia, intercepting French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris' pass. However, Croatia could not catch up the two-goal difference, and the match ended 4–2, as France won their second FIFA World Cup.

French coach Didier Deschamps became only the third person to win the FIFA football World Cup as a player and a coach. As a player, Deschamps won the World Cup in 1998, when he was the captain of the French team. Two years ago, the Deschamps-led French team ended up as the losing side in the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament, 1–0 against Portugal in the extra-time.

After the match, Croatia's coach Zlatko Dalić said, "I congratulate France on their title [...] I have to congratulate my players, it was maybe the best game we played in these championships; we controlled the match but we conceded. Against such a strong side as France, you must not make mistakes. We are a bit sad but we have to be proud as well for what we've done."

Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitić said, "We were the better team in the first half, we were attacking, but we were unlucky tonight. They scored four goals from their three shots on goal. But I congratulate France, they deserved it."

Tournament top scorer Harry Kane won the Adidas Golden Boot award. The English striker scored six goals in the entire tournament. Belgium's goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois won the Adidas Golden Glove award. Croatia's captain Luka Modrić won the Adidas Golden Ball prize.

July 15, 2018
1800 MSK (UTC+0300)
France 4–2 Croatia Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia
Attendance: 78,011
Referee: Néstor Pitana (Argentina)
Mario Mandžukić Scored after 18 minutes 18' (o.g.)
Antoine Griezmann Scored after 38–39 minutes 38–39' (pen.)
Paul Pogba Scored after 59 minutes 59'
Kylian Mbappé Scored after 65 minutes 65'
N'Golo Kanté Booked after 27 minutes 27'
Lucas Hernández Booked after 41 minutes 41'
N'Golo Kanté Substituted off after 55 minutes 55'
Steven N'Zonzi Substituted on after 55 minutes 55'
Blaise Matuidi Substituted off after 73 minutes 73'
Corentin Tolisso Substituted on after 73 minutes 73'
Olivier Giroud Substituted off after 81 minutes 81'
Nabil Fekir Substituted on after 81 minutes 81'
2–1 (HT) Ivan Perišić Scored after 28 minutes 28'
Mario Mandžukić Scored after 69 minutes 69'
Šime Vrsaljko Booked after 90+2 minutes 90+2'
Ante Rebić Substituted off after 71 minutes 71'
Andrej Kramarić Substituted on after 71 minutes 71'
Ivan Strinić Substituted off after 81 minutes 81'
Marko Pjaca Substituted on after 81 minutes 81'