France have won the World Cup for the first time since 1998 and for the second time ever. The Equipe Tricolore ran out 4-2 winners against Croatia in Moscow’s Lushniki Stadium thanks to a Mario Mandzukic own goal followed by goals from Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappé. Croatia made it 1-1 through Ivan Perisic and scored what proved to me no more than a consolation goal in the 69th minute courtesy of Mandzukic.
Croatia came out of the blocks aggressively, disrupting France’s build up play. Didier Deschamps’ men found the breakthrough early on however, after their first real attack led to a free kick, which Griezmann sent sailing toward the far corner and could only be flicked into the back of the net by Mandzukic.
Croatia were unfazed by the goal and soon got their reward for a strong start. A lovely turn at the edge of the box, followed by a ferocious shot into the far corner from Ivan Perisic levelled the score. Shortly before the half-time break, France took the lead again, this time from the penalty spot after a VAR review deemed the Croatian scorer to have handballed it. Griezmann converted calmly.
The Croatians pushed for another quick response, but Ante Rebic and Dejan Lovren’s efforts both went begging, and so the teams went in at half time with France 2-1 in front. The second half continued in a similar fashion, with Loris playing a more important role in preventing a Croatian comeback.
France now committed to the counter-attack and were almost successful through Mbappé (52’), but Subasic saved well. Seven minutes later, however, France added to their lead when Pogba curled the ball home with his left-foot from just outside the box. Mbappé then made it 4-1 five minutes later with a rocket of a shot.
Nevertheless, Croatia refused to give up and got one back with a bit of help from France’s goalkeeper. Lloris tried to dribble past Mandzukic just in front of his own goal, but the savvy forward got his foot in to poke the ball into the net.