France Wins 2018 World Cup With 4-2 Victory Over Croatia

By Fitzgerald Cecilio
on Jul 16, 2018 08:13 AM EDT
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France captured its second World Cup title in 20 years via a 4-2 triumph over Croatia in Sunday's final at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

The win gave the French national team its first crown since winning the 1998 edition of the World Cup on its home turf. France manager Didier Deschamps, the captain of the 1998 squad, became the third man in World Cup history to win the title as player and coach.

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Mario Mandzukic tallied an own goal, Antoine Griezmann scored on a penalty kick while Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe both scored in the second half for Les Bleus. The 19-year-old Mbappe made history by becoming the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since Pele in 1958.

Mbappe's goal also gave him a total of four goals in seven games as France and Croatia played to highest scoring final in regular time since the 1958 World Cup, where Brazil defeated Sweden, 5-2.

"It is really beautiful. It is marvelous. We did not play a great match, but we showed a strong mental quality," Deschamps says after the win.

The win sparked celebration among millions of fans all over France. In Paris, there was huge celebration from the 90,000 fans who watched on huge TV screens near the Eiffel tower. At Champs Elysees, a huge crowd gathered even before the final whistle sounded. Around 250,000 people were expected to arrive at Champs Elysees and the Place de la Concorde to celebrate.

France Clinches First World Title Since 1998

Les Bleus grabbed an early lead after Griezmann's free kick was headed into his own net by Mandzukic in the 19th minute. Ivan Perisic tied the game nine minutes later with a goal near the penalty area.

France regained the upperhand in the 38th minute after a VAR review determined that Perisic committed a handball. The infraction led to a penalty kick by Griezmann, who made it 2-1.

In the second half, Pogba made it a 3-1 game with a goal in the 59th minute before Mbappe gave Les Bleus a three-goal advantage with a score in the 65th minute. Mandzukic capitalized on an error by Hugo Lloris to cut the lead to 4-2 in the 69th minute, but the French were never threatened from there.

Croatian star Luka Modric said his team has nothing to be ashamed of following its loss to France. According to Modric, Croatia should be proud that it reached the World Cup finals against tough opposition.

"We were so close to winning the World Cup itself," says Modric, who won the Golden Ball award as the tournament's best player. "And we will certainly think about it for a long time. But we can be proud."

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