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France beat Croatia to win World Cup 2018

France seal second World Cup triumph with a convincing 4-2 win over Croatia in a thrilling final.

France

France won the 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.

France led 2-1 at halftime on Sunday after a Mario Mandzukic own-goal and an Antoine Griezmann VAR penalty, with Ivan Perisic briefly bringing first-time finalists Croatia level.

Quickfire strikes by Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe midway through the second half put France on course for the title but Mandzukic was gifted a goal by French keeper Hugo Lloris to set up a nervous last 20 minutes.

France, however, withstood a spirited Croatia assault to lift the trophy for the second time, following their success on home soil 20 years ago, and ensure there was no repeat of two years ago when they were beaten in the European Championship final by Portugal in Paris.

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.

France-Croatia

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. 

Own-goal

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.

Perisic, who got the equaliser against England, was on hand again to level the scores 10 minutes later, smashing in a low shot.

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, the referee awarded the 28th penalty of the tournament, another record, which Griezmann stroked home in the 38th minute for his fourth goal of Russia 2018.

France went 3-1 up on the hour as Mbappe and Griezmann combined to set up Pogba on the edge of the box.

Six minutes later, Lucas Hernandez tore down the left to set up Mbappe who drilled a low shot beyond keeper Danijel Subasic for the 19-year-old's fourth goal of the tournament.

An awful blunder by Lloris revived Croatia, as the French keeper tried to dribble around Mandzukic only for the striker to tap the ball straight into an unguarded net.

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 for the victory. 

France overwhelmed Croatia 4-2 in a thrilling World Cup final at Moscow's Luzhniki stadium to lift the trophy for the second time in 20 years.

The French, playing their third World Cup final, were made to sweat initially and were lucky to go ahead when Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic headed an Antoine Griezmann free kick into his own net in the 18th minute, the first own goal in a World Cup final.

Ivan Perisic levelled with a powerful shot 10 minutes later but the Croatia midfielder was then penalised for handball following a VAR review and Griezmann stepped up to convert the 38th-minute penalty and put France 2-1 up.

Croatia fought hard for an hour but goals from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe gave France a three-goal cushion.

Mandzukic pounced on a mistake by France keeper Hugo Lloris to cut the deficit in the 69th minute, making it the highest-scoring final over 90 minutes in 60 years, but Croatia could not find the net again in their first World Cup final.


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