France outclassed Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup final at Moscow’s ‘electrifying’ Luzhniki stadium on Sunday to lift the trophy for the second time in 20 years. ’Les Bleus’ — Blues in French — last won the World Cup trophy in 1998, when they had a golden generation of trailblazers in their squad with the likes of legendary players Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry leading the team.Also Read - Injuries and Covid-19 Limit Carlo Ancelotti's Options Ahead of Cadiz Clash
The French were off to a slow start at the initial stages of the first half and had a stint of luck going for them on which they capitalized to develop a new found confidence. The luck came in the form of an own goal – Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic headed in an Antoine Griezmann free-kick into his own net in the 18th minute, the first-ever own goal in a World Cup final. Also Read - Hit by Covid-19, La Liga's Key Games at Risk This Weekend
The euphoria for France didn’t last too long for as Croatia found the equalizer from Ivan Perisic’s wonder goal to make it 1-1 just 10 minutes later. However, it was Perisic again at the center of events, this time at the other end and one he would like to forget – He handled the ball while defending a set-piece and France were awarded a penalty after the Argentine referee consulted the Video Assistant Referee (VAR). The penalty was calmly converted by Antoine Griezmann at the 38th minute as he slotted it home to the bottom left corner. Also Read - Real Madrid's Luka Modric, Marcelo Test COVID-19 Positive
After leading the match for the second time in the big final, there was no looking back for France, Croatia fought hard for an hour but were worn down after playing extra time in three consecutive matches ahead of the finals. France extended their lead to 4-1 with goals from Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba and Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe within 65 minutes of the game.
Mario Mandzukic won a goal back for Croatia at the 69th minute after a horrendous mistake by France keeper Hugo Lloris, making the match the highest-scoring final over 90 minutes in 60 years, but that was that for Croatia as they failed to find another goal.
It was jubilation for France and 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe, who had the world at his feet after scoring four goals in the tournament and also becoming the youngest player since Brazilian legend Pele to score at the World Cup finals. He also won the ‘Best Young Player of The Tournament’ award at the post-match ceremony.
Croatia’s Luka Modric found it difficult to pull off a smile when he went to receive the ‘Best Player of The Tournament’ award, just like Lionel Messi did four years ago – after all that’s not the award they were there for.
Regardless of the outcome in the final game, it has been a brilliant campaign for Croatia, who were regarded as the ‘underdogs’ of the tournament. Their determination and ‘never give up’ attitude inspired football fans all across the world but it is France who capitalised after a commendable performance with their supremely talented players and an impressive squad-depth.