Curtains came down on the 2018 World Cup in Russia on Sunday with France lifting the trophy after overcoming Croatia’s bold challenge.
The Didier Deschamps’ side beat fellow Europeans 4-2 in the thriller played at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.
This is the second time France have won the coveted trophy. They won it on home soil back in 1998 with Deschamps as one of the players.
France drew first blood in the 18th minute courtesy of an own goal from Mario Mandzukic. But a determined Croatia equalized 10 minutes later through Ivan Perisic.
For a moment, Croatia gained momentum and forced France to defend a couple of times.
However, 10 minutes later, Antoinne Griezmann restored France’s lead when he converted a penalty after Perisic was judged to have handled the ball inside the box. The referee gave the penalty after using VAR.
France’s Paul Pogba got his name on the score sheet on the hour mark with Kylian Mbappe adding on to their tally five minutes later.
At this moment, it looked all set for a France win but Mandzukic gave them a scare in the 69th minute, scoring Croatia’s second.
But the final match was not without drama.
Croatia will complain bitterly that Griezmann went down theatrically for the free-kick that led to Mandzukic’s own goal, and they will also feel Perisic’s handball was not clear-cut enough for VAR to make that decisive intervention just before half-time.
In the end, France were crowned champion with the ceremony attended by presidents Vladimir Putin (Russia), Emmanuel Macron (France) and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović (Croatia).
Other awards were as follows:
Golden Boot – Harry Kane (England)
Best player – Luka Modric (Croatia)
FIFA Young Player Award – Kylian Mbappe (France)
Golden Glove Award – Thibaut Courtois (Belgium)