Sport

Les Blues are World Champions

France have defeated Croatia 4-2 in 2018 FIFA World Cup final
at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday evening to become the
world champions again for the second time in their history.

Antoine Griezmann whipped in the ball Mario Mandzukic nudged it past
his own goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.
But the Blazer responded for the fourth consecutive knock-out game in
Russia through Ivan Perisic as he thrashed home a left-footed strike
from the edge of the area to equalise.
Perisic then went from hero to villain, handling in the area to cost his side a penalty after the aid of VAR. Griezmann duly stepped up and
rolled it home to gift Les Bleus the lead again.

The end-to-end nature of the game continued in the second half and
Paul Pogba punished Croatia with a delightful third, curled into the left
corner.
Kylian Mbappe fired home from distance, which proved to be decisive in securing the crown but Hugo Lloris howler for Juventus striker Mandzukic to pull one back.
France win the competition for the first time since 1998.

Setting the Scene
Both teams were unchanged, but the vigour in which Zlatko Dalic’s side
attacked those in blue was very surprising considering their previous
three games, including the semi-final win over England, were taken to
extra time.

First Half
The Blazers harried Les Blues in possession and gave them very little
time on the ball, winning it back in a number of promising positions but
failing to turn those into clear chances.

Indeed, it was France that took the lead with their first meaningful
attack of the game when Griezmann won a free-kick and subsequently
clipped a cross into the box which Mandzukic – the extra-time hero in
the semi-final against England just four days ago – could only glance
into his own net.

Croatia’s response to falling behind was good and Domagoj Vida put
one header over the crossbar before Ivan Rakitic fired an ambitious
first-time volley well off target.

Just 10 minutes later Vida found Perisic on the edge of the box and he
smacked it into the bottom corner via the smallest of deflections of off
Raphael Varane.

The biggest talking point of the first half arrived 10 minutes later,
though, as France regained their lead in controversial fashion, with VAR
used in a World Cup final for the first time ever.

Griezmann was forced to wait a long time before eventually taking the
spot kick, but he kept his cool and send Subasic the wrong way to
restore France’s lead.

Croatia again responded well to falling behind, with Ante
Rebic squandering a good chance when he mis-hit a shot after being
found inside the area, sending the ball bobbling tamely into the arms of
the keeper.

Second Half
The Blazers made a bright start to the second half too and it took a
sharp fingertip save from Lloris to deny Rebic’s goalbound effort just
three minutes after the restart.
Mbappe provided a useful outlet for France during their time on the
back foot, and he burst past Vida to create a chance for himself in the
52 minute, only for Subasic to come out quickly and thwart the
youngster.

Pogba and Mbappe then lit up the arena like some of the lightning
streaks nearby. Manchester United midfielder started and finished the
move for the third goal.
Mbappe then appeared to play a game of ‘anything you can do, I can
do better’ as his strike from further out also beat Danijel Subasic in the
Croatia goal.

Croatia looked in danger of being humiliated. Instead, it was France
keeper Hugo Lloris with a moment to forget, taking so long to clear a back pass he only succeeded in allowing Mandzukic to tackle the ball into the net.
France have now added football’s greatest prize to the one Zinedine
Zidane and co claimed 20 years ago.

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