France lifted the World Cup for a second time in their history after running out 4-2 victors over Croatia in the final at the Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday.
- France 4 Croatia 2
- Mandzukic (18′) own-goal opens scoring
- Perisic (28′) fires Croatia back on level terms
- Griezmann (38′) penalty restores France’s lead
- Pogba (59′) and Mbappe (65′) hit stunners
- Mandzukic (69′) capitalises on Lloris error
The spectacle will be remembered for an own-goal, a VAR-awarded penalty and a comedy goal, as Didier Deschamps became the third man to win the trophy both as a player and manager.
Les Bleus went ahead through Mario Mandzukic’s own-goal on 18 minutes – the 12th of the tournament and first-ever in a final – before Ivan Perisic equalised 10 minutes later.
VAR was used in the final for the first time when Perisic was penalised for handball, and Antoine Griezmann restored the lead for Deschamps’ side from the spot.
Sweet strikes from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe extended their advantage, before a howler from Lloris gifted Mandzukic a goal four minutes later.
Croatia made the better start in Moscow and spent a large majority of the opening 15 minutes inside French territory without causing them any problems.
However, France took the lead from the first real chance of the match on 18 minutes when Griezmann’s free-kick from the right flicked off Mandzukic’s head into the top-left corner of the net.
The first-time finalists looked to respond from a set-piece of their own on the right three minutes later, but Domagoj Vida failed to keep his header down.
Ivan Rakitic then went for something special in the 24th minute as he connected with Mandzukic’s cross from the right, although his left-footed volley sailed high and wide of the right post.
The Blazers hit back just four minutes later, however, when Ivan Perisic shifted the ball to his left on the edge of the box and fired into the bottom-right corner of the goal from 16 yards out, after Les Bleus failed to clear their lines from a free-kick on the left.
VAR continued to make history when the referee pointed to the spot following a review of a 35th-minute corner from the right that struck Perisic on the arm at the near post. Griezmann sent Danijel Subasic the wrong way as he rolled the ball to the left of the keeper from 12 yards out to give the men in blue a half-time lead.
After Griezmann drew a routine save out of Subasic with a bouncing effort from 25 yards out two minutes into the second half, Hugo Lloris was forced to tip over Ante Rebic’s angled strike from 14 yards out moments later after Rakitic threaded him in on the left.
France threatened again on 52 minutes when Pogba released Mbappe down the right flank, but Subasic denied the forward from a tight angle on the right.
The Croatians had a mountain to climb after conceding two goals in the space of six minutes. Pogba extended his country’s lead at the second attempt with a left-footed shot that curled into the right corner of the net from 19 yards out after his initial effort had been blocked.
The second from Mbappe on 65 minutes was equally impressive, after Lucas Hernandez beat a couple of players on the left flank and squared the ball for the teen star, who drilled home to the left of a rooted Subasic from 20 yards out.
Lloris had a moment to forget five minutes later as he gave the Blazers a sniff of a fightback. The Tottenham keeper dallied on a back-pass and kicked the ball into Mandzukic, who saw the ball ricochet into the left corner of the net from inside the area.
Rakitic wasn’t far away from pulling another one back on 78 minutes when he lashed a first-time shot just wide of the right post from 19 yards out on the left, while at the other end substitute Nabil Fekir tested Subasic from distance on the right three minutes from time.
Rakitic fizzed a hopeful long-range strike high and wide of the right post in the final minute as time ran out for Croatia.