France won the Fifa World Cup 2018 for only the second time after overcoming Croatia’s bold challenge in a thrilling final in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. Didier Deschamps’ side pulled the trigger in an inspiring 2nd half as Croatia’s steam ran out.
A 4-2 result saw France come out as worthy winners. It was a feeling of relief and comfort for the French brigade. 20 years on, France overpowered Croatia to win 2nd World Cup.
France’s victory meant that coach Deschamps, who captained them 20 years ago, became just the third man to win the world’s most coveted tournament both as a player and coach.
The domination by France spoke for itself as they became the second team in a FIFA World Cup final to score four goals. Brazil was the first side in 1970. Croatia must have felt their luck deserted them on two occasions, but ultimately France ran out winners to erase the memories of the loss to Portugal in the Euro 2016 final in Paris.
The finale had everything in store for the fans. From goals, a pitch invasion, and a controversial intervention from the video assistant referee (VAR) which had a bearing on the match and finally some spectacular goals that ruled the night.
Pogba excels to fend off criticisms
Pogba was the star of the night and bossed the midfield with his intelligence and precision. Much to the delight of the fans, Pogba wrapped his left foot around the ball on the edge of the box to guide the ball into the back of the net.
The 25-year-old, who played a crucial role against Belgium in the semis, was magnificent on Sunday too, as his goal helped the French side gain momentum. Pogba won many hearts and was seen dancing post the victory.
But the major moment came when the player stayed true to his nature, as he did a dab with the trophy.
The midfielder was seen celebrating on the pitch wearing his medal, clutching the famous trophy, and dropping the dab, much to the delight of the fans. Pogba deserves every moment of the celebrations. He will be delighted with the shift he put in for his side throughout the tournament.
Pogba has been in the limelight since quite some time now, and headlines ran throughout the 2017-18 season, notably for his off-pitch antics, as he endured an inconsistent second half of the campaign.
From hairstyles, fashion choices and his celebrity lifestyle, Pogba was criticised heavily by the media and pundits alike. But the Frenchman put everything to rest.
Mbappe, Griezmann the stars for France
If France excelled throughout the tournament and then the final as well, credit must be rightly given to two of their profound stars – Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griemann.
The duo was terrific in their quest to make sure they chip in and contribute in the pivotal moments. Both the players netted one goal each in the finale to register 8 strikes between them in the tournament.
Firstly, it was Griezmann’s free-kick that deflected in off Mario Mandzukic’s head. The versatile forward then scored a penalty to see France go 2-1 ahead in the first half. Once again the Atletico Madrid forward was at sync with everything and sent Subasic the wrong way. It was a well-taken penalty that let France get a cushion.
Mbappe then came forward and scored from a long-range strike to cap off proceedings that proved the defining passage of this final. Mbappe became the 2nd youngest player in the history of the tournament to score a goal in the final at 19 years and 207 days.
Brazilian legend Pele still holds the record when he scored at 17 years and 249 days in 1958 World Cup.
Perisic, the raw giant stood out for Croatia
In one moment, Ivan Perisic shifted the ball sharply inside with his right boot, he left N’golo Kante glued to the spot, darted to his left and drove it towards goal, skipping off Raphael Varane’s thigh and into the bottom corner.
It was one of the greatest World Cup final goals. Moments later he turned it back the other, giving away the penalty that put France back ahead just before the break. Perisic fought like a warrior showing his attributes both physically and in aerial duels. But it wasn’t the night for him and the Croatian team.
Even when the game ran away from his exhausted team, Perisic put a lot of effort more into it than anyone else. Perisic led this Croatia side on the pitch that boasted qualities of their spirit, discipline and commitment. His body needed a rest at times, but the player never hid anywhere.
He continued to perform even when he had nothing left to give. It was a display that summed up all of Croatia’s best qualities. And his decline, as the game got away from him, encapsulated why the game went the way it did.
After having played three games that went to extra-time, Croatia looked tired and by 2nd half exhausted. Their tired legs often couldn’t keep up to the pace needed to stop France. Perisic was their enforcer and the side’s top scorer. He showed why he is one of their indispensable men.