France win their second FIFA World Cup title
Goals from Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe help secure victory
Mario Mandzukic scored at both ends, with Ivan Perisic also on the scoresheet
France have won the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ after defeating Croatia 4-2 in a thoroughly entertaining Final at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow in what 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 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.
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 15: Kylian Mbappe of France celebrates victory following the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 15: France players celebrate following their sides victory in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Team reporter analysis Adrien Gingold with France [Follow: Twitter]
Tonight, the Croatian team played better football, but France were more efficient, perhaps even more intelligent. Les Bleus’ strength is exactly this: no matter who they faced, they found the solution to beat their adversaries, one by one. Without being brilliant today, they scored four goals, which gives an idea about France's level, and their coach’s one. Today, with his smart tactical set-up, Didier Deschamps won the duel with Dalic.
Vjekoslav Paun with Croatia [Follow: Twitter]
Croatia's dreams are now over. They were enjoying plenty of possession but struggled to convert that into anything of concern for Hugo Lloris. France were the better team, they used all their chances tonight, without making too many costly mistakes. But the Croatian players are heroes in their home nation and will be remembered forever in the football history of their country.
Budweiser Man of the Match Antoine Griezmann showed immense calm under pressure to bury his first-half penalty, while also setting up France's opening goal as the No7 proved to be a constant threat to Croatia's backline.
The stat 60 years since someone as young as 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe scored in a World Cup Final: the then 17-year-old Pele for Brazil against Sweden in 1958. This was also the highest scoring final in regular time since Sweden 1958's finale.