Daily Maverick

In Pictures: France beat Croatia 4-2 to secure second World Cup title

France's coach Didier Deschamps (up) celebrates with his team after winning the FIFA World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia in Moscow, Russia, 15 July 2018. EPA-EFE/PETER POWELL

France's power on the counter-attack saw them take a 4-1 lead over Croatia in Sunday's World Cup final in Moscow.

Goals from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe, as well as a controversial VAR-awarded penalty, helped France beat Croatia 4-2 in an incredible World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday to lift the trophy for the second time in their history.

In a match that had a bit of everything, Mario Mandzukic scored the first ever own goal in a World Cup final to put France in front at the Luzhniki Stadium, only for Ivan Perisic to equalise.

The flags of the finalists are displayed on the pitch before the FIFA World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia in Moscow, Russia, 15 July 2018. EPA-EFE/ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH
A pitch invader is removed from the pitch during the FIFA World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia in Moscow, Russia, 15 July 2018. EPA-EFE/MAHMOUD KHALED
Antoine Griezmann of France reacts with Benjamin Pavard of France and Raphael Varane of France after a Croatian own goal during the FIFA World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia in Moscow, Russia, 15 July 2018. EPA-EFE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA
Ivan Perisic (R) of Croatia celebrates scoring the equalizer during the FIFA World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia in Moscow, Russia, 15 July 2018. EPA-EFE/PETER POWELL

 

Marcelo Brozovic of Croatia wears the hat of a pitch invader during the FIFA World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia in Moscow, Russia, 15 July 2018. EPA-EFE/PETER POWELL

However, Antoine Griezmann’s penalty put France back in front after Perisic’s handball was penalised with the aid of the video assistant referee, before Pogba and Mbappe both scored in the second half.

Paul Pogba of France celebrates scoring the 3-1 lead during the FIFA World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia in Moscow, Russia, 15 July 2018. EPA-EFE/PETER POWELL
Paul Pogba of France celebrates scoring the 3-1 lead during the FIFA World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia in Moscow, Russia, 15 July 2018. EPA-EFE/PETER POWELL

The first team to score four times in a final since Brazil in 1970, the French could even afford to see Mandzukic pull a goal back following a ridiculous goalkeeping mistake by Hugo Lloris.

France join Uruguay and Argentina in winning the World Cup for the second time, after their 1998 triumph over Brazil when Didier Deschamps — now the coach – was the captain.

The game will be remembered as the highest-scoring World Cup final since England’s win over West Germany in 1966, and for Mbappe becoming the youngest player to score in the final since Pele in 1958.

But while the celebrations begin on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris and across France, Croatia will wonder what might have been had the first-half penalty not been awarded just as they were in the ascendancy.

The smallest country to reach the final in the modern era will feel they were ultimately beaten by modern technology.

The questions before the match surrounded whether a tired Croatia side could pick themselves for this game after needing extra-time to beat England in the semi-finals.

Croatia played all the football early on, with Mbappe on the fringes of the game, but it was France who went in front in the 18th minute.

Griezmann won a soft free-kick wide on the right and his delivery into the area was flicked into his own net by the unfortunate Mandzukic.

Players of France talk to Argentinian referee Nestor Pitana (C) during the FIFA World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia in Moscow, Russia, 15 July 2018. EPA-EFE/FELIPE TRUEBA

It was harsh on Croatia, especially with Pogba possibly a fraction offside when the free-kick was played.

Zlatko Dalic looked rueful, but his team continued to assert themselves and were back level just before the half-hour, Domagoj Vida laying the ball off for Perisic, who shuffled the ball from right foot to left before drilling a superb shot past Hugo Lloris with the aid of a touch off Raphael Varane.

But Perisic was at the centre of the controversy that led to France’s second goal in the 38th minute.

His handball at a corner could hardly be described as deliberate, but Argentine referee Nestor Pitana reviewed the video by the side of the pitch and gave the penalty.

As a thunderstorm erupted in the sky over Moscow, Griezmann stroked home the penalty, his fourth goal of the competition and his third from a spot-kick.

It was also France’s first actual attempt on goal, but they picked off Croatia after the break.

Shortly after three pitch invaders briefly interrupted proceedings, the third French goal arrived in the 59th minute.

Kylian Mbappe of France celebrates scoring the 4-1 lead with teammate Paul Pogba (L) during the FIFA World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia in Moscow, Russia, 15 July 2018. EPA-EFE/PETER POWELL
Kylian Mbappe of France celebrates after scoring the 4-2 during the FIFA World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia in Moscow, Russia, 15 July 2018. EPA-EFE/ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH
Croatia’s coach Zlatko Dalic reacts during the FIFA World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia in Moscow, Russia, 15 July 2018. EPA-EFE/FELIPE TRUEBA
Ivan Strinic of Croatia reacts during the FIFA World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia in Moscow, Russia, 15 July 2018. EPA-EFE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA
Paul Pogba of France celebrates scoring the 3-1 lead during the FIFA World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia in Moscow, Russia, 15 July 2018. EPA-EFE/PETER POWELL

Pogba started the move with a drilled pass for Mbappe on the right. His cutback found Griezmann, and he laid the ball off for Pogba to score at the second attempt from 18 yards.

Mbappe then added his name to the scoresheet in the 65th minute when he collected a Lucas Hernandez pass and fired low past Subasic from 25 yards, capping what has been a fine tournament for the 19-year-old.

Mario Mandzukic of Croatia scores the second goal for his team against goalkeeper Hugo Lloris of France during the FIFA World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia in Moscow, Russia, 15 July 2018. EPA-EFE/ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH
France’s head coach Didier Deschamps (C-L) celebrates with the FIFA World Cup 2018 trophy after the FIFA World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia in Moscow, Russia, 15 July 2018. EPA-EFE/YURI KOCHETKOV

 

That should have been that, but Croatia were given something to cling to as Lloris absurdly tried to dribble away from Mandzukic on the edge of his six-yard box, and the striker stuck out a foot to divert the ball in.

But for Lloris the World Cup winner’s medal will help make up for the embarrassment of that moment. DM

SARS & Gartner – global advisory giant’s mysterious deal with Moyane’s friend follows a pattern of tender corruption
By Pauli Van Wyk
US president’s vow to drop countries that are ‘not our friends’ threatens US aid to SA
By Peter Fabricius
No, the ConCourt did not make any finding on ‘hit the boer’ song
By Pierre De Vos
Ramaphosa eyes solution to land question, hints at election before May
By Peter Fabricius
Leaked memo reveals Thabo Mbeki Foundation’s opposition to ANC approach to land
By Rebecca Davis
Cape Flats communities shut down in protest over lack of policing
By GroundUp
Magashule will fight to the bitter end, Zuma too
By Stephen Grootes
South Africans get first dibs on SAFCOIN, an exclusive African cryptocurrency
By SAFCOIN
Blindside
By Zapiro
As SABC board is set to present detailed turnaround plan to Parliament, Minister Mokonyane is not helping
By Marianne Thamm