Allez Les Bleus! France Crowned 2018 World Champions
France have won the World Cup in a six goal thriller against Croatia.
What you need to know
- France 4 - Croatia 2
- 18' Goal (Own Goal) -- Mario Mandžukić (FRA)
- 27' Yellow Card -- N'Golo Kante (FRA)
- 28' Goal -- Ivan Perišić (CRO)
- 38' Goal (Penalty) -- Antoine Griezmann (FRA)
- 41' Yellow Card -- Lucas Hernandez (FRA)
- 59' Goal -- Paul Pogba (FRA)
- 65' Goal -- Kylian Mbappe (FRA)
- 69' Mario Mandžukić -- (CRO)
It was the final the world had been waiting for -- after 63 games France and Croatia took to their places at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
But in what was a dream game for France, it was the stuff of nightmares for Croatia, ending 4-2.
The Croatians started strong against a nervy-looking France outfit, dominating possession in the opening minutes.
Playing to their strength in the midfield, Croatia created applied early pressure as they created chance-after-chance, but couldn't find a finish.
Despite not seeing much of the ball, France drew the first blood by a heartbreaking own goal in the 18th minute.
A scything tackle by Marcelo Brozović on Antoine Greizmann handed the French a free kick. Griezmann landed the kick on Mario Mandžukić's head, only for the Croatian to put it in his own goal.
A revitalised France team finally had some decent time in attack, as both teams did not pull punches when it came to defending.
In the 28th minute Croatia levelled the scores from a Luka Modrić set piece. Modrić put the free kick out wide only for France to bumble their way through defending it, before it landed at the feet of Perišić who thundered it into the net.
With the equaliser Croatia was given a boost and continued to dominate possession with their magic midfield.
But the 38th minute saw France continue their run of good fortune with VAR (they were awarded the first-ever penalty with VAR at a World Cup against Australia) after a corner kick was deflected on to the hand of Ivan Perišić.
Griezmann was the man to take the spot kick, and coolly slotted it into the bottom of the net and France was back in front.
Although they were the better team in the first half, Croatia hit the sheds behind the board.
Croatia started the second half strong, almost equalising with a fire bolt of a shot from Ante Rebić that was blocked by the fingertips of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
The French weren't having much time in possession, but when they did they looked dangerous -- Kylian Mbappe and Griezmann both showing off their speed with ominous breaks down the wing.
An unwanted interruption in the 51st minute saw multiple pitch invaders on field to the boos and whistles of the crowd.
Croatian hearts were shattered in the 59th minute when a ping-ponged ball in their penalty box landed at the feet of Paul Pogba, who let fly with a half volley that put the French two goals ahead.
Teenage wonderkid Mbappe put another nail in the coffin just six minutes later when he pulled the trigger from 25 yards out and sent the ball into the back of the net for France's fourth of the night.
In a comical error, Lloris thought himself an outfield player in the 69th minute, trying to play the ball from the back only for Mandžukić to intercept and calmly steered the ball around the keeper, giving hope to a flagging Croatian side.
In a testament to their fighting spirit during the entire tournament, Croatia, led by captain Modrić, continued to apply pressure in the closing minutes but couldn't find an opening.
France may have just had 39 per cent of possession, but their pace in counter-attack was just too good for Croatia.
After just five minutes of added time, France took out their second World Cup.
Modrić took home the Golden Ball after a scintillating campaign. The midfield maestro scored one goal and had six assists to his name.
Mbappe was named Young Player after taking the world by storm at just 19 years of age.
Despite a disappointing end to England’s campaign, captain Harry Kane took out the Golden Boot with six goals.
And Belgium’s keeper Thibaut Courtois won the Golden Glove after his display helped steer the Belgians to a best-ever third place.