France win the 2018 World Cup tournament in a 4-2 victory against Croatia
France are the 2018 World Champions after a 4-2 victory over Croatia in Moscow.
Croatia started the game well but Les Blues took the lead after a free kick was flicked into his own net by Mario Mandzukic. Ivan Perisic leveled the game up when he fired his strike past Hugo Lloris from the edge of the area.
France did however go into the break ahead after a contentious decision, a VAR review led to a penalty being awarded to France after the ball struck Mandzukic's hand in the Croatian area, Antoine Griezmann scored the penalty to make it 2-1.
The second half was more open at first and France took advantage of that. Paul Pogba extended the French lead as Kylian Mbappe raced away down the right-hand side and his pass was laid back to Pogba. The Manchester United man saw his first shot blocked, but he bent his second effort into the corner of the net.
Mbappe wanted his own World Cup Final goal however and his shot from the edge of the area found the bottom corner and left Danijel Subasic stranded.
Croatia did pull a goal back after a Hugo Lloris howler, as he tried to take the ball around Mario Mandzukic, but the striker tackled him and the ball rolled into the net.
It was too little too late though and France held on to win 4-2 and become World Cup Champions for the second time!
World Champions 2018
France are the champions of World Football for the second time, and they did it in style, defeating Croatia 4-2 to win the tournament. France were many people's favourites to win the tournament before it started, but they had to live up to the expectation. Their performances were lacking at times but overall you have to say that the best side in the tournament won the title. The best thing about this side for the French is that they are young so they can go on to compete in other major tournaments for years to come.
It was not surprising to see the French President was present at the game, but some of his reactions definitely surprised a few people. Macron was animated throughout the game and his reactions to goals for and against his side did not go unnoticed. When are we used to world leaders staying calm and not getting carried away? It was nice to see Macron show his emotions as a Frenchman.
There are plenty of people in the world of football who already knew the name of the French teenager Kylian Mbappe, but you can bet that plenty more people know the name now. The PSG man has had an excellent tournament and has been rewarded with the Young Player of the Tournament trophy. Surely nobody will disagree with that decision and there will be some who think he is unlucky not to win Player of the Tournament. Mbappe scored four goals and his pace and direct play clearly causes problems for defenders. It's not difficult to see the young Frenchman winning plenty more individual awards in the coming years, including the Ballon D'or.
Hugo Lloris' Howler
Once France went 4-1 ahead, you felt that all they had to do was stay solid, stay professional, and see the game out. But Hugo Lloris obviously wanted a bit more drama. The French captain received a back pass and rather than put his foot through it or pass it to a teammate, he rewarded Mario Mandzukic's persistence in chasing the ball and gave him a goal! The keeper tried to take the ball around the onrushing striker who simply tackled him, knocking the ball into the net simultaneously. Ultimately it did not matter but if the score had been closer that error could have made all the difference.
Once again the Video Assistant Referee has divided opinion on a decision. When the ball struck Ivan Perisic's arm in the area there was no debate that the ball had hit the Croatian's arm, but was it a penalty? The referee originally saw nothing but he then was advised to check the replay and changed his mind awarding the penalty. VAR was introduced in order to remove 'clear and obvious errors' but can this decision be clearly and obviously wrong if it divides opinion in the way it has?
Did Griezmann dive?
France scored the opening goal after Mario Mandzukic headed a French free kick into his own net, there was nothing debatable about the goal itself, but should it have been a free kick in the first place? Griezmann went down under very little contact if any contact at all and you have to say it didn't look like a foul. If it was the wrong decision then the goal came directly from that decision and although the game ended 4-2 the opening goal is always so very important, could a different decision have changed the outcome of the game?
What a World Cup!
As World Cups go, 2018 wasn't bad, was it? Plenty of goals, plenty of great games and some shocks along the way as well. It's fair to say that the World Cup has not disappointed at all and the final only emphasised that, a great game to round off an excellent tournament which will be remembered for years to come!