France are the kings of the 2018 Fifa World Cup!
Didier Deschamps’ team conquered the football world for the second time in history when they swept a gallant Croatia 4-2 in the final at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday evening.
The Croatians were everybody’s favourite underdogs, with many fans hoping that they could continue their fairytale run in Russia all the way to the Jules Rimet Trophy.
But the effect of having been taken to extra time on three occasions finally took its toll as despite an equaliser from Ivan Perisic that made it 1-1, they couldn’t handle the powerful French attack.
The dynamic trio of Kylian Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba were just too quick and skilful on the night, and all three got on to the score-sheet too.
After a cagey opening spell, the French broke the game open when Griezmann’s free kick in the 18th minute was headed into his own net by Mario Mandzukic.
Perisic, though, took just 10 minutes to level matters with a sensational strike, and it was game on at that point.
Then arguably the decisive moment of the match – again 10 minutes later – saw France awarded a controversial penalty as Perisic was penalised for a handball after a VAR review.
It didn’t look intentional as the ball hit Perisic’s hand, but as we have seen previously at this tournament, any touch between hand and ball has resulted in a penalty.
Griezmann stepped up to convert, and at 2-1 up at halftime, France were not going to be stopped.
Atletico Madrid forward Griezmann was involved in the third goal as well, laying off a silky pass to Pogba, whose first shot with the right foot was blocked, but he lashed the rebound home with his left past a stranded Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.
Mbappé, who was a constant threat down the right flank, completed a memorable tournament in fitting style as he skidded a shot from outside the box for the fourth French strike in the 69th minute.
And not even a late blunder by Hugo Lloris, who tried to dribble past Mandzukic, only to see the Croatian striker put his foot out to score, could deny France a second World Cup title.
Deschamps has now won the tournament as a player and coach after Les Bleus clinched the 1998 edition on home soil.@ashfakmohamed