Match Report of the Final: France – Croatia 4:2

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France are the world cup winners! After 20 years of waiting, France have yet again won the most important trophy in the world. Croatia have also made their biggest success in their history winning the silver.

It was the final that we all expected after a great tournament. Only one game ended with a goalless draw (France-Denmark) in this World Cup. We saw 6 goals in the big final!

Croatia started much better and was dominant throughout the first half. The trio Modric-Brozovic-Rakitic kept the ball and opened up spaces for their attackers. Actually, all the numbers in the first half were on Croatia’s side except the ones that matter – goals.

Croatia had the possession of the ball (61%-39%), had more shots (7-1), more free-kicks (9-6) and more corners (4-1). However, France were clinical. They scored two goals even though they only had one shot on goal.

France opened the score with a Mandzukic – own goal in the 18th minute. Griezmann sent a good ball in the box, the Juventus striker tried to clear it out, but he only changed the direction and scored in his own net.

Croatia weren’t desperate after the goal and immediately tried to equalize. After a few dangerous attacks, Perisic scored a great volley. Modric started the play via free-kick and after a few won headers, Vida passed the ball to Perisic to level the game.

Croatia dominated and even forced Kante to get his first World Cup yellow card. The Frenchman had to make fouls to stop the opposition.

Then, out of nothing France got their only corner in the first half. Griezmann again sent a dangerous ball and Perisic touched it with his hand. The Argentine referee Pitana didn’t award the French team with a penalty at first, but after reviewing it he did so. It just had to happen in the final too. This tournament was marked by VAR and penalties.

Griezmann approached the ball with great confidence and scored the second goal for his team. It was frustrating for the Croatian team because they were much better on the ball, had more chances and still they were trailing.

The second half started and it looked like that we would watch more of the same. Modric had a good game distributing balls over the pitch, but it was Rakitic who gave a great through ball to Rebic. Ante Rebic was pressured by Varane and still managed to shoot in a great way, but Hugo Lloris made a great save.

Kante was then replaced by N’Zonzi in the 55th minute because France needed a yellow-card free defensive midfielder. 4 minutes later the decisive goal came. Paul Pogba sent a jaw-dropping through ball to find Mbappe on the wing. Mbappe dribbled his opponent and found Griezmann in the box. The Atletico Madrid striker laid it off to Pogba who scored in his second try. Pogba deserved the goal after a great tournament.

The Croatian men were shocked because they didn’t deserve to be trailing by 2 goals in no way. In the 65th minute another historic moment happened. The second youngest goalscorer in a final (after Pele in 1958) scored. Kylian Mbappe scored a stunner from around 25 meters. This kid has enormous potential and we are all excited to see how much he will accomplish in the future.

It was a really crazy game as Croatia scored a bizarre goal just 4 minutes later. Hugo Lloris literally awarded a goal with a blunder that reminded football fans of Karius’s mistake in the Champions Leaue final. Mandzukic was the guy who didn’t give up, pressed the goalkeeper and got another goal in the final. He has now scored in the both Champions League finals he was a part of and the World Cup final.

After the goal, the game was all about France defending and counter attacking. Umtiti had the game of his life. He cleared the ball constantly and didn’t make even one mistake.

Tolisso and Fekir replaced Matuidi and Giroud to bring some freshness in the side. Giroud ended the World Cup without any goals or shots on target, but he was an indispensable part of the France team. He opened up spaces for Griezmann and Mbappe and constantly won aerial duels with the opposite defenders.

Marko Pjaca and Andrej Kramaric were also given a chance but they didn’t do anything significant. Kramaric did though send a great ball in the box which wasn’t used properly by Pjaca.

Antoine Griezmann deservedly won the Man of the Match award after a great display in both halves of the pitch again.

France’s 11:

Hugo Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, L. Hernandez; Kante (N’Zonzi), Pogba, Matuidi (Tolisso), Griezmann, Mbappe; Giroud (Fekir).

Croatia’s 11:

Subasic; Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Strinic (Pjaca); Brozovic, Modric, Rakitic; Perisic, Rebic (Kramaric), Mandzukic.

France deservedly won their second star on the badge. They have eliminated teams like Argentina, Uruguay, Belgium and Croatia on their way to the trophy. They were one of the favorites right from the start and they were the only ones that lived up to the expectations. Congratulations France!

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