Posted by News Express | 15 July 2018 | 1,256 times
France are the new champions of world football. They claimed the most important prize in the game after beating giant killers Croatia 4-2 to win the FIFA World Cup for the second time in 20 years ago. The first was on home soil in 1998.
Croatia dominated the game from the beginning but it was the French who did the scoring – helped largely by careless errors by the Croats.
This time, French President Emmanuel Macron was on hand at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium to take the trophy back to Paris, where a football fever has gripped the residents.
The match, France’s third World Cup final and Croatia’s first, was a thoroughly entertaining final, in what, as FIFA reported was a fitting end to an outstanding tournament.
Despite Croatia having the majority of possession in the opening stages, France took the lead in somewhat fortuitous circumstances. Antoine Griezmann’s lofted free kick from the French right was nodded into his own net by Mario Mandzukic.
Ivan Perisic levelled with a calm effort from the edge of the penalty area, but he would turn from hero to villain. A cross from the French right-hand side was handled by the Croatia No4, with a penalty awarded after a VAR review.
After the interval, France increased their lead through Paul Pogba, whose performances in the tournament deserved a goal in its finale. After Kylian Mbappe stretched the Croatian defence, Griezmann teed up Pogba, who finished after seeing his initial effort blocked.
After his tireless running tired the Croatian defence, it was only fitting that Mbappe himself got on the scoresheet, hitting a sweetly-struck effort from the edge of the penalty area with which Danijel Subasic stood no chance.
Mandzukic then scored in the same net, but this time to Croatia’s advantage, capitalising on some carelessness by France keeper Hugo Lloris to reduce the deficit.
In the end, the big No17’s strike was not enough to spark yet another miraculous Croatian comeback, and Les Bleus emulate their heroes of 1998 – including coach Didier Deschamps – in securing their second World Cup title.
Meanwhile, four people briefly interrupted the match when they ran onto the pitch.
They included at least one woman, while the men appeared to be wearing uniforms of security personnel.
Referee Nestor Pitana briefly halted the match between France and Croatia while stadium security staff chased down and then carried off the individuals.
•Additional reports by NAN and Channels TV.
•Photo shows France’s players celebrating after midfielder Paul Pogba scored the 3-1 goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15, 2018. Odd ANDERSEN/AFP
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