Football World Cup final: France crowned champions after thrilling win over Croatia

France have won the Football World Cup for a second time, after an enthralling final in Moscow.

The French topped Croatia 4-2 in the best World Cup final in recent memory.

Croatia bossed the opening quarter, as the French sat back and absorbed a ton of Croatian possession, but the deadlock was broken in the 19th minute against the run of play.

Antione Griezmann was fouled outside the box by Luka Modric to set up France's first set-piece.

The Atletico Madrid star floated in a delightful cross that Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic could only deflect past his own goal keeper for the opening goal - the first own goal in World Cup final history.

Winners bracket

Croatia came storming back less than 10-minutes later, when the outstanding midfielder Ivan Perisic smashed home a thunderous left-foot volley past French goal keeper Hugo Lloris to level the scores.

It was nothing less than what Croatia deserved up to that point.

The game turned controversially in the 35th minute, when France were awarded a penalty, courtesy of a video review.

An Antione Griezmann corner was met by Blaise Mutuidi at the near post, with his header deflecting off the hand of Perisic.

The referee initially waved off French protests, but on advice from the VAR (Video Assisted Referee), he took a second look.

After reviewing the footage, Nestor Pitana decided Perisic had illegally handled the ball and awarded a spot kick.

The decision was labelled "idiotic" by former Manchester United captain Roy Keane during BBC's halftime wrap.

Griezmann slotted from the penalty spot to give France the halftime lead.

Croatia came out all guns blazing in the second spell, with chances falling to defender Sime Vrsaljko and Ante Rebic, whose left-footed shot inside the box was brilliantly saved by Lloris.

France also had a chance moments later, when Kylian Mbappe's shot was deflected by Danijel Subasic in the Croatian goal.

The defining moment of the second-half came just before the hour mark, when Manchester United midfield maestro Paul Pogba crashed home a left-footed shot from outside the area to extend France's lead to two goals.

Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba Photo credit: Getty
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 15:   Luka Modric of Croatia looks dejected during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty

Teenage sensation Mbappe wrote himself into the history books a few minutes later, when his 20-yard effort found the back of the net to all-but wrap up the final for France.

The 19-year-old joined Brazilian legend Pele as a teenage goal-scorer in a World Cup final.

Croatia had a window of opportunity with 20 minutes remaining, after a howler from Lloris.

The Spurs stopper attempted to dribble past Mandzukic, but in a scene similar to Loris Karius' blunder in the Champions League final, he was intercepted by the Croatian, whose tackle deflected the ball into the back of the net.

Croatia pushed for another goal, but the French resisted with 10 men behind the ball, and could have extended their lead further with counter-attack opportunities to Mbappe and Pogba.

Croatian captain Luka Modric claimed the Golden Ball award for the tournament's best player, with England's Harry Kane taking home the Golden Boot as top scorer.

Mbappe scooped the man-of-the-match award for an outstanding performance.


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