France has reached the pinnacle of football winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. This is the nation’s second World Cup title after defeating Croatia in a goal-filled match at the Luhzniki Stadium in Moscow.
The stats speak for itself, but the 4-2 scoreline certainly says otherwise. This is how unpredictable the game can be. Despite Croatia having time on the ball for the most part in the opening stages, it was Les Bleus who advanced. France took the lead when an unfortunate defensive effort by semifinal hero Mario Mandzukic nodded the ball into his own net.
Everything settled when Ivan Perisic equalized with a stunning effort from the edge of the penalty area. However, his goal was soon nullified when a French cross hit the hands of a Croatian defender, with a penalty awarded succeeding a suspenseful VAR review.
Had this match ended 2-1 with the two French goals coming from Croatia’s errors, the story would’ve been entirely different for both teams. But, after the interval, France widened the gap to two goals through Paul Pogba. FIFA Young Player awardee Kylian Mbappe stretched the Croatia defense, Griezmann set up the shot for Pogba, who then netted his second shot home after the first one took a deflection.
Kylian Mbappe’s relentless running took a toll on Croatia’s defensive third, and it was only fitting that the PSG forward immortalizes his name on the scoresheet, hitting a low ball from the edge of the penalty area that left Danijel Subasic flat-footed.
Mandzukic then scored to Croatia’s advantage, benefiting from a casual Hugo Lloris to cut down the deficit. At the end of the game though, it wasn’t enough to kick-off another Croatia comeback, and Les Bleus secured their second World Cup title, including coach Didier Deschamps.
The Croatia national football team and their coach will leave Russia with their heads held up high. Team captain Luka Modric also returns from the World Cup with a reward for his significant efforts in this campaign, having collected the tournament’s adidas Golden Ball award.
“I’m proud of that,” the Real Madrid midfielder said. “I would also like to thank all my team-mates, because without their help I would certainly not have received this award.
“We were so close to winning the World Cup itself,” he added. “And we will certainly think about it for a long time. But we can be proud.
“When you see this support of the fans after the match, it definitely makes you happier. We know we did something big here. But when you come so close, it is not easy to take.”
“We fought heroically, we did everything to win, but we were unlucky,” he said. “We were the better team most of the match but unfortunately some unlucky and clumsy goals cost us dearly and gave France the advantage.”
Luka Modric has more than just reason to be proud of his team, while Zlatko Dalic was quick to praise his frontrunner. The star midfielder is now part of a club that has iconic members like Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona, and Zinedine Zidane.
Of course, the same could be said of the entire Croatia team, and they can expect a heroes’ welcome on their way back.
“We can be proud of this tournament,” Luka Modric said. “We played very well. Truly, this was a great tournament for Croatia.”