Moscow: France on Sunday won the FIFA 2018 World Cup for the second time by ending battling Croatia's dream of a first title with a 4-2 victory in one of the most entertaining and action-packed finals for decades.
France lifted the FIFA World Cup 20 years after Didier Deschamps lifted the trophy with the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Patrick Viera and Thierry Henry by his side, he did so again, this time with the rest of his coaching staff beside him.
The victory means that Didier Deschamps, captain of the 1998 side, becomes the third man to win the World Cup as player and coach after Brazil's Mario Zagallo and Germany's Franz Beckenbauer.
It was the highest-scoring final since England beat West Germany 4-2 after extra-time in 1966 and the highest in normal time since Brazil beat Sweden 5-2 60 years ago.The landmarks came thick and fast in the first half too.
Croatia had started full of energy but fell behind when Mandzukic, who scored the extra-time winner against England in the semi-final, became the first man to score an own goal in a World Cup final when a Griezmann free kick skidded in off his head in the 18th minute. It was the 12th own goal of the tournament.
That meant it was the fourth successive knockout game that Croatia had conceded first but Perisic, who got the equaliser against England, was on hand again to level the scores 10 minutes later, smashing in a low shot after Sime Vrsaljko had headed Luka Modric's free kick across the box.
But it was then Perisic's turn go from hero to zero when he flapped an arm at a corner and, after a VAR review, Argentine referee Nestor Pitana awarded the 28th penalty of the tournament, another record, which Griezmann stroked home in the 38th minute for his fourth goal of Russia 2018. That made it the highest-scoring first half since 1974, when West Germany led the Netherlands 2-1 - also the final score then.
The second half started with Croatia all over the French defence. Deschamps’ men weathered that storm and it was not too long before they extended their lead Paul Pogba, one of the seven Muslim footballers in the French squad, sent in a thunderous strike from the edge of the box and extended France’s lead to 3-1.
Minutes later, Kylian Mbappe scored a similar goal, from outside the box and that marked the third record of the day – Mbappe became the first teenager to score a goal in the World Cup final since the great Pele. Croatian shoulders slumped at that point but this match was not done yet.
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