France beats Croatia as Pogba, Mbappe, Griezmann Shine

  • by John Kaketo
  • July 15, 2018

Antoine Griezmann celebrates

The French national team were crowned world champions on Sunday, after defeating an underdog Croatian team 4-2 in the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday.

It’s France’s second World Cup title and its first since it hosted the 1998 tournament 20 years ago.

Les Bleus manager Didier Deschamps was the captain in 1998 when his team shocked Brazil in Paris, and on Sunday he became the third to ever win the World Cup as a player and coach.

In a match that featured anything you could have ever imagined an own goal, a goalkeeper gaffe, pitch invaders and a teenager wunderkind finding the back of the net, France rolled to a convincing 4-1 lead and managed to hold on to earn its second star.

An own goal from Mario Mandzukic, a penalty-kick goal from Antoine Griezmann and goals from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe lifted one of the pre-tournament favorites to the title, capping off a magnificent run in the group stage.

Aside from beating Croatia, France also beat Belgium, Uruguay, and Argentina on its way to the title.

And it didn’t take too long for this one to get going. Despite Croatia playing better in the first half, a mistake gifted the lead to France. Mandzukic headed the ball into his own goal 18 minutes in on a set piece to make it 1-0.

But just 10 minutes later, the equalizer came off a lovely set piece that ended with Ivan Perisic’s rocket golazo.

Then it was all downhill from there. A handball on Perisic was called a penalty kick after the use of the video assistant referee, and Antoine Griezmann finished it in the 38th minute.

Star midfielder Paul Pogba made it 3-1 with a fine finish inside the box 59 minutes in.

Croatia, trailing every knockout stage match this Cup, had to do something to try and comeback but it couldn’t find the creativity in the final third. Instead, Mbappe ended it. The young Paris Saint-Germain star made it 4-1 with a stunning hit atop the box 65 minutes in.

Croatia was able to get one back from Mandzukic on an error by Hugo Lloris, but that was it.

And in the end, it was destiny for France and heartbreak for Croatia, who were playing for their first title. A wild World Cup concludes with a team everyone thought could win actually doing so, while Croatia’s miracle run falls painfully short.

There could only be one winner, and a deserved France team managed to step up with its most convincing showing of the tournament when it mattered most.