France beat Croatia to win SWC

Published: 15 July 2018
After 20 years since winning the final on home soil, France have been crowned Soccer World Cup champions for the second time in their history after beating Croatia 4-2 in the final at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

The opening ten minutes belonged to Croatia as they piled on all the pressure with their familiar high pressing game, giving France no room to counter attack, with maestro Luka Modric dictating play from the centre of the pitch.

However, with Croatia seeing most of the ball, plucky France finally put together a string of passes with Antoinne Griezmann darting forward, but before he was able to pull the trigger Marcelo Brozovic brought down the Atletico Madrid forward with referee Pitana Nestor blowing his whistle to give Les Bleus a 30-yard free-kick.

Griezmann sent in a searching free-kick as several blue shirts failed to meet the ball with their head only for Mario Madzukic, who attempted to clear the danger, see his faintest of touches go beyond goalkeeper Danijel Subasic to give France an undeserving 1-0 lead.

Croatia buckled down and equalised eleven minutes later through Ivan Perisic.

Modric lobbed in a corner-kick from the right, and after some pinball inside the French box, Perisic got possession on the edge of the penalty area, took a touch to get rid of N'galo Kante and blasted a left-footed strike into the bottom corner.

The first-half continued to serve much action with Croatia getting on the front foot and France matching them on the counter attack attempting to get Kylian Mbappe and Griezmann in on the action.

Following a corner-kick in which Perisic cleared, the French players were loud in their quest to demand a penalty, in which referee Nestor headed towards the tunnel to consult VAR for the first time in a World Cup final.

After minutes of going through the footage, in which showed Perisic indeed touched the ball with his hand, the referee pointed to the penalty spot and Griezmann made no mistake to give his side a 2-1 advantage ahead of the half-time whistle.

In the 59th minute, the Luzhniki Stadium crowd were back on their feet in loud cheers as France went 3-1 up through Paul Pogba.

The Manchester United midfielder was teed up by Griezmann on the edge of the box and despite his first shot being blocked, his second effort, with his weaker left-foot, gave Subasic no chance.

Croatia looked crushed and France only deepened their wounds.

Mbappe, who was relatively quiet in the first-half, received a searching ball from Lucas Hernandez and the 19-year-old, with space in front on him, drilled a thumping effort into the bottom corner to become the first teenager, since Brazil's Pele, to score a goal in a World Cup final.

Croatia got a consolation goal courtesy of a Hugo Lloris mistake, as he attempted to dummy Mandzukic but  ends up gifting him a goal. The striker making amends for his own goal earlier in the game.
- Sports24
Tags: France,


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