FIFA World Cup 2018 finals | Live score and stats: France beats Croatia 4-2 to be FIFA World Cup 2018 champions

France's Paul Pogba celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the FIFA World Cup 2018 finals against Croatia in Moscow on July 15, 2018.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

After a month-long fight to the finish, two teams stand tall and will lock horns to call themselves the world champion for the next four years. It has been a World Cup of spectacular goals, of set piece mastery and surprises aplenty, like no tournament before.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović are a part of the FIFA award ceremony

Mbappe is the silver ball winner

Luka Modric is the Golden Ball winner

Greizmann is the Man of the Match of the final

Golden Glove to Belgium's Thibaut Courtois

FIFA Fair Play Trophy to Spain

FIFA Young Player Award Mbappe

French fans go delirious

Millions of French soccer fans were delirious with joy on Sunday as France beat Croatia 4-2 to win soccer's World Cup in a pulsating final in Moscow that sparked ecstatic scenes from Paris to Marseille and beyond.

In Paris, where 90,000 people gathered next to the Eiffel tower to watch the match on vast TV screens, there were choruses of the Marseillaise, honking horns and hundreds of thousands of red, white and blue French flags fluttering in the breeze.

The boom of fireworks and firecrackers filled the air and car drivers honked their horns incessantly to celebrate France's second world title after their triumph on home soil in 1998.

A deafening chorus of “We are the champions, We are the champions” rang out from the Sacre Coeur in the north of the city to the Sorbonne on the Left Bank.

Even before the final whistle, crowds streamed on to the Champs Elysees, the elegant, tree-lined boulevard that runs up to the Arc de Triomphe, the traditional gathering place for celebration, including the Bastille Day parade 24 hours earlier.

Important comments

 

NATIONAL COACH DIDIER DESCHAMPS: “It is really beautiful. It is marvellous. We did not play a great match but we showed a strong mental quality. “We also scored four goals. We merit it. I am very happy for this team. We are coming from very far and it has not always been easy, but thanks to hard work, they are here and are on top of the world for the next four years.”

ANTOINE GRIEZMANN, SCORER OF A PENALTY: “I don't know where I am, it is great... Very happy. It was a difficult match. Croatia play a great game. We started timidly. We knew it was a World Cup Final. We got into the game and on counter attacks, we made the difference. Very happy. We look forward to lifting the cup and taking it to France.”

Deschamps' record

This is the second time that French coach Didier Deschamps will be getting to hold the coveted World Cup trophy. In 1998, he had kissed the cup as a player, and now he will do the same as the man who led the second youngest team in the tournament to a fantastic victory.

Raining goals

It's raining goals in Luzhniki!! Minutes after Mbappe scores, Mandžukić avenges his own goal by putting the ball in the back of the net. The scoreline now read 4-2.

Mario Mandzukic has become just the 5th player to score in both World Cup and European Cup/Champions League finals, after Ferenc Puskas, Zoltan Czibor, Gerd Muller & Zinedine Zidane.

Mbappe extends France lead

Mbappe scores France's third goal and becomes the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since Pele in 1958.

The 19-year-old is now two goals away levelling with England's Harry Kane as the top contender for the 2018 Golden Boot.

Pogba scores

Pogba scores a magnificient long-shot. Mbappe passes the ball to Pogba, whose first attempt is deflected by Vida, but the repeat effort gets past Subasic, handing France a two-goal cushion.

First pitch invasion

Meanwhile, for the first time in the tournament, we have four visitors on the pitch who seem to have shrugged off the security. They race down the pitch, and are chased by the stewards who escort them out, allowing the action to resume.

 

Penalty for France

Meanwhile, the referee consults VAR for a long time for a possible penalty review for handball. Greizmann set to take the review as the VAR clears it. Interestingly, France has never lost when Greizmann has scored. Unsurprisingly, he scores. According to statistician site Opta Joe, this is the first World Cup final to see as many as three goals before half-time since 1974 (West Germany 2-1 Netherlands).

France's Antoine Griezmann scores the second goal for his team through a penalty during the FIFA World Cup 2018 finals against Croatia in Moscow on July 15, 2018.

France's Antoine Griezmann scores the second goal for his team through a penalty during the FIFA World Cup 2018 finals against Croatia in Moscow on July 15, 2018.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

 

The decision to reward the penalty is certainly going to be a controversial one. Referee missed the handball earlier and while Perisic's hand did touch the ball, FIFA's rules clearly stipulate that the referee can change his decision for a clear and obvious mistake. That the referee had to double check the VAR screen indicates otherwise.

Perisic equalises

Ivan Perisic evens it after a quick yellow card for Kante in the 27'. The French defender tripped Varane after in an effort to try and contain Perisic's run. Perisic dinked the ball past the French defense before kicking it in to the middle of the net. The 29-year-old Perisic has, as of now, been involved in more goals than any other Croatian player at a major tournament. He has played a role in 11 goals (7 goals and 4 assists)

First own goal

The first ever own goal in a World Cup final by Croatia's Mandzukic. An 18' free kick awarded after Griezmann goes down under a challenge of Brozovic from a dangerous spot. This is not the first time that Croatia will be coming up from behind to try and win a game in this World Cup. It was the 12th own goal of the World Cup, an all-time record. It was the first goal in regulation in a World Cup final since 2006 the 2010 and 2014 finals were both extra time 1-0 results

Croatia corner

In the 8th minute, Croatia got a corner kick which was well fended off by the French defenders. Luka Modric took the corner kick. Both the teams are looking for openings but Croatia hold the advantage over France. Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic has taken the kickoff for his team in the World Cup final against France.

Closing ceremony

The closing ceremony of the FIFA World Cup, ahead of the final kickoff, was a starry affair with the noted Russian soprano and Vienna State Opera soloist Aida Garifullina starting the revelries with a rendition of ‘Moscow Never Sleeps’, alongside DJ Smash.

The ceremony paid tribute to all the 11 host cities and the 32 participating nations, while flash mobs danced in the tribunes getting the 81000 attendees — fans and dignitaries alike — involved.

French football fans in Puducherry kick off on a celebration mode to watch the World Cup final match between France and Croatia in front of French Consulate in Puducherry on Sunday.

French football fans in Puducherry kick off on a celebration mode to watch the World Cup final match between France and Croatia in front of French Consulate in Puducherry on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: T. Singaravelou

 

Nicky Jam, Will Smith and Era Estrefi also belted out the popular number, ‘Live it up’ — the official World Cup anthem, and then 2002 World Cup winner Ronaldinho engaged in some lighthearted banter with Zabivaka, Russia 2018’s mascot and playing the drum, even as Aida was sending the stadium into a tizzy, singing 'Kalinka'. 

In the end it was time for the actual business, as Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm and Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova brought the coveted Cup – 36cm in height, weighing 6.175 kg – to the ground, taken out from the safely of its specially designed travel case. From then on the 22 men took over, giving their heart and soul in the biggest game of their life.

 

Top leaders at the finals

President Emmanuel Macron of France has been joined by one of his predecessors, Nicolas Sarkozy, as guests of FIFA to see their national team play Croatia in the World Cup final.

The president of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, is also among 10 heads of state and national leaders at Luzhniki Stadium.

Artists perform during the closing ceremony prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 14, 2018.

Artists perform during the closing ceremony prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 14, 2018.   | Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox

 

They have joined Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the presidents of Belarus, Moldova, Gabon and Sudan.

Some western European governments stayed away from the World Cup amid the fallout from the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in England in March.

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is also here. Qatar hosts the next World Cup in 2022 and the emir attended a handover ceremony at the Kremlin with Putin and FIFA President Gianni Infantino earlier Sunday.

New signage

There was new signage inside Luzhniki Stadium for the championship between Croatia and France.

For the previous six matches, the front of the second and third decks had bright blue backgrounds with “2018 FIFA WORLD CUP RUSSIA” in white in English and Russian, alternating with red backgrounds with “MOSCOW” and “(hashtag)world cup” in white.

 

For the final, there were gold backgrounds with “FINAL2018” in navy blue, alternating with navy blue backgrounds with “MOSCOW,” “FIFA WORLD CUP” in English and Russian and “(hashtag)world cup” on navy backdrops with gold lettering.

 

Warm up before the big game

France and Croatia are on the field at Luzhniki Stadium to warm up for World Cup final with under an hour to go before kickoff.

France’s goalkeeper Hugo Lloris emerged first to cheers from supporters along with his team’s two reserve keepers. French fans waved the tricolor as the rest of the team came out, with defender Lucas Hernandez waving to the stands.

 

Croatian fans gave captain Luka Modric and his teammates a similar greeting minutes later.

France is aiming to win its second World Cup and first since 1998, while Croatia has never before gone past the semifinal stage.

Both teams remain unchanged

France and Croatia go into Sunday's World Cup final in Moscow with the same starting line-ups as in their semifinal wins over Belgium and England respectively.

Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann support Olivier Giroud in attack in France's 4-2-3-1 formation, while Ivan Perisic and Ivan Strinic, who had been pre-match injury doubts, have been passed fit for Croatia.

Perisic was the star of Croatia's 2-1 extra-time victory over England at the same Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday, scoring his country's equaliser and then setting up the winner for Mario Mandzukic.

Croatia are in their first ever final, while France are aiming to win the trophy for the second time, after beating Brazil 3-0 in the final as hosts in 1998.

France beat Belgium 1-0 in the semifinal with a Samuel Umtiti goal in the second half.

Croatian President presents T-shirt to Putin

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic gave Russian President Vladimir Putin a Croatian soccer shirt with the name “Putin” printed on the back on Sunday, hours before Croatia play France in the World Cup final in Moscow.

Croatia has been caught up in soccer fever after the Balkan nation of 4.2 million people swept aside more fancied opponents to reach its first ever World Cup final, which Russia is hosting this year.

Grabar-Kitarovic has, herself, entered into the spirit of the occasion, travelling to Russia to watch matches and dressing in the colours of the national flag. Croatia knocked Russia's team out of the competition in the quarterfinals.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin (second right back to a camera), and FIFA president Gianni Infantino (right back to a camera), attend the gala-concert dedicated to the closing of FIFA World Cup 2018 at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow on July 14, 2018.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (second right back to a camera), and FIFA president Gianni Infantino (right back to a camera), attend the gala-concert dedicated to the closing of FIFA World Cup 2018 at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow on July 14, 2018.   | Photo Credit: AP

 

While France travelled to the final with pragmatic football, securing wins without much sweat, Croatia’s path was all hard work with the team playing three gruelling 120 minutes (two finished on penalties) of knockout football.

 

(With inputs from Agencies)

 

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 9:08:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/fifa-world-cup-2018-finals-live-score-and-stats-france-vs-croatia/article24425954.ece

Next Story