Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Croatians in Chicago take World Cup final loss in stride

France beats Croatia to win World Cup 2018 Ranveer Singh Arjun Kapoor Preity Zinta tweet congratulatory messages Fifa Name Referee For France-Croatia World Cup Final
Rosie Leonard | 16 July, 2018, 06:30

There was a bit of everything in this World Cup final.

France has won the World Cup for the second time, ending Croatia's dream of a first title with a 4-2 victory on Sunday in one of the most entertaining and action-packed finals for decades. And before the second half ended, there was controversy with the referee using video replays to award France a penalty which Antoine Griezmann converted.

France scored through Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe before a Hugo Lloris blunder helped Mandzukic make amends for his earlier transgression.

His kick was deflected off the head of Croatia's Mario Mandzukic in the 18th minute for an own goal to get France on the board.

Mbappé is the first teen to score during a World Cup final since 1958.

But on full-time, it was the French players joyously running laps of the pitch, tricolour in hand, after winning back the FIFA World Cup Trophy.

In the final analysis, Didier Deschamps' France team at this World Cup should be remembered as a mostly pragmatic side that was capable of some exquisite attacking moments but more often displayed a grit and solid organization that reflected their coach.

The decision was a turning point as Griezmann scored to put France into a lead they would never relinquish, as Les Bleus went on to win 4-2, and Dalic said he thought such a decision had no place in a game of such magnitude. He sent a pass to Griezmann, who then found Pogba at the top of the box.

In the 59th minute, Paul Pogba sent 19-year-old breakout star Kylian Mbappe on a run down the right side with a ideal pass from just before midfield.

Vatreni will be out for revenge from their final four defeat against Les Bleus back in 1998, with the then debutants denied a place in a maiden Final by Lilian Thuram's only worldwide goals. The French "golden generation" has brought home France's second World Cup trophy.

Both teams were unchanged from their semifinal wins, with Croatia having needed extra time (and penalties twice) through the knockout stages to reach the final.

Croatia, beaten by the French in the semi-finals in their first World Cup appearance in 1998, continued to press but their energy was sapped and France safely held out. "We played well but the penalty knocked the wind out of us and after that it was very hard". But the Croatian players are heroes in their home nation and will be remembered forever in the football history of their country.

"We are sad but we must be proud also for what we've done".

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