France are World Cup champions for the second time in their history after they defeated Croatia 4-2 in a wild final at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
The French side went ahead when Mario Mandzukic has headed the ball in his own net, the only major chance France had in the game at that point. Ivan Perisic equalized for the Croats after twisting at the edge of the box to lash his volley past Hugo Llrois.
More drama ensued as the referee pointed to the spot as, after watching the VAR replay, he deemed that Perisic had intentionally handled the ball but it looked harsh on the Croatian. Antoine Griezmann converted his third penalty of the tournament to hand his side the lead once again.
Goals by Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe looked to have sealed the win but Llrois gifted Croatia a lifeline. Mandžukić out-smarted the goalkeeper and read his poor technique to try and pass the ball around him by sticking his leg out and Croatia were back in it.
Croatia huffed and puffed but couldn’t find more as France repeat their success 20 years ago by lifting the World Cup once again.
Here are our player ratings from an eventful World Cup final:
Hugo Lloris - 5
It looked like cockiness overcame him later on after he to flick the ball past Mandzukic but he got it all wrong. It gave Croatia belief and was not what France wanted from their captain. On the plus side, he did make a fantasticc fingertip save after a shot from Ante Rebic.
Benjamin Pavard - 6
Perisic got behind him early in the game so Pavard made sure to sit a bit tighter in the second-half and defend from the back.
Raphael Varane - 8
Typical strong performance from the Real Madrid centre-back. Clearing headers, superb interceptions when it looked like Croatia were going to capitalize. He made one mistake that had Mandcukic through but he caught up to the striker to make up for it.
Samuel Umtiti - 6
Mandzukic fared the better from their battles. A bad collision stunned him for the rest of the game, but he soldiered on like the warrior he is.
Lucas Hernandez - 6
His dribble down the by-line to feed in Mbappe for the fourth goal was the icing on the cake for France. Lost a few battles with Rebic bu was solid overall.
N'Golo Kante - 5
Couldn’t keep up his physical play after to his early booking. Had to back away from Modric, which was too much for Deschamps who substituted him early in the second half.
Paul Pogba - 7.5
Solid game by Pogba. When Kante couldn’t press and defend, Pogba stepped-up like he has done that throughout the tournament. Started the move that led to his goal and his finish was exceptional.
Kylian Mbappe - 7.5
Kept quiet by Vida in the first-half but came into the game in the second using his pace more to attack the defence. Stupendous strike right in the corner of the net.
Antoine Griezmann - 8
Was key to three of the four goals scored. His dangerous free-kick was headed in as an own-goal. The second, he stroked his penalty away and he juggled the ball at the edge of the box and gave it back to Pogba who scored from the second time of asking to put France 3-1 up. Used his pace to help out his team when they were sitting deeper and deeper. Looked like a dive to win the free-kick with the first goal, though.
Blaise Matuidi - 6
Some timely interceptions but ultimately couldn’t handle Modric twisting and turning.
Olivier Giroud - 6
Dropped deep – the role he plays so well at – as Lovren struggled to cover the space to either go with him or stay.
(SUB) Steven Nzonzi - 6
Deflected the ball away from a Rakitic shot and helped France solidify the midfield.
(SUB) Corentin Tolisso - 5
Couldn’t handle the pace of the game after coming on. Floundering at trying to handle Vrsaljko.
(SUB) Nebil Fekir - 5
Winning a free-kick late on so that France could catch their breath and waste some valuable time.
Danijel Subasix - 4
Looked as he was still carrying the injury he suffered in the quarter-final. Moving very gingerly and I don’t think he should’ve been playing. It felt he was never going to attempt at diving for the ball, no matter how sweet the strikes were.
Sime Vrsaljko - 6
Got forward at every opportunity and whipped some crosses in. Wasted possession often by shooting well wide of the target.
Dejan Lovren - 6
Didn’t put his stamp on the game but was hardly at fault for any of the goals.
Domagoj Vida - 8
Excellent. Kept making challenges and last-ditch tackles. Should be snapped up by a top club this summer. Had two headers towards goal. Set-up the first goal, knocking it back to Perisic.
Ivan Strinic - 6
Got down the left side from the first whistle. It did give Vida more work to do when the ball went the other way. Looked void of any energy in the closing stages.
Ivan Rakitic - 7
His shooting wasn’t the best. Played a delightful through-ball for Rebic that came close to a Croatia goal.
Marcelo Brozovic - 7
Dropped back from the centre-circle to keep a watchful eye on Giroud. Once Mbappe had more of the ball, Brozovic doubled-up to help out his left-back.
Ante Rebic - 6.5
Made some professional fouls that would’ve been cautioned if later in the game. Stronger than Hernandez and it showed in his body-checks.
Luka Modrićc - 8
Dominant in midfield. Controlled the whole game by pinpointing his passes into space, reaching the target every-time. Fantastic performance topped off by winning the Golden Ball as the best player of the tournament. Well deserved.
Ivan Perisic - 7
Couldn’t settle down in the first 25 minutes. Loose passes at critical times, with his touch letting him down too. Comes up with the goods with a crafty flick before crashing the ball past Llrois, aided by a deflection.
Mario Mandzukic - 6.5
Croatia played the pressing game and Mandzukic lead that from the front. It paid off when he made punished Lloris for his clumsy move. However, he will go down in history as the first player to ever score an own goal in a World Cup final.
(SUB) Andrej Kramaric - 5
Had a few chances but couldn’t make the breakthrough.
(SUB) Marko Pjaca - 5
Had a good opportunity to cross but failed when trying to bring the ball down.
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