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France tops Croatia to win second World Cup title


Two years after suffering heartbreak on home soil in the European Championships, France wouldn’t leave the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia empty-handed.

France used two goals in each half to power past Croatia, 4-2, at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow to earn its second World Cup crown. Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe scored in addition to an own goal for Didier Deschamps’ side.

The first half presented us a cornucopia of events that perfectly encapsulated the events over the last month in Russia.

The 12th own goal of the tournament, came off a set piece of course, as Antoine Griezmann’s free kick glanced off the head of Mario Mandzukic in the 18th minute.

An exquisite piece of skill from Ivan Perisic 10 minutes later continued yet another World Cup trend, as Croatia battled back from a goal down. The ball bounced in and around the box before it landed at the boot of Perisic, who took his first touch at the top of the penalty area to set up a beautiful left-footed strike that escaped the reach of a diving Hugo Lloris.

Although own goals and set pieces have been thrust into the spotlight at the World Cup, nothing’s been more controversial than the usage of VAR, and that completed the Russian World Cup trifecta in the 38th minute. After it was ruled Perisic handled the ball off a corner kick, Griezmann stepped to the spot and handed Les Bleus a 2-1 advantage heading into halftime.

With Croatia pushing forward in search of a second equalizer, France slammed the door shut on another comeback in the 60th minute, when Paul Pogba blasted an attempt from the top of the box past Danijel Subasic. Pogba’s initial shot was blocked, but he got the ball right back and hammered home.

As if that wasn’t enough for France, Kylian Mbappe added on to the onslaught five minutes later, as the 19-year-old lashed a shot into the left side of the net.

However, the teenager’s strike wasn’t the last tally recorded in the contest, as an inexcusable blunder from Hugo Lloris kept Croatia’s comeback hopes alive. Lloris tried to work the ball around Mandzukic, but instead it made contact with the Croatian forward’s boot and the underdogs moved back within two goals.

Despite chasing the game after the second goal, Croatia wasn’t able to find a third or fourth to challenge the two-time World Cup champion further.


  1. Looking at the semi finalists just about everyone on the four rosters play in a top 5 league (Germany, Spain, England, France, Italy) and for the most part the guys who played regularly for the semi-finalists all start in their league. We need to get any reasonable talent out as soon as they turn 18 because coming up through MLS isn’t going to cut it for the foreseeable future.

    • we need a TEAM. pretending we’re going to follow some model the finalists put forth is the height of naivete seems to me. instead we need to play a competitive style that our players can execute, not one that gets style points from the pundits while collecting Ls in the win/loss column. Again, the absolute failure of JK to deliver on his promise on 2018 and instead deliver the team in the worst shape it’s been in since Sampson, has been a frickin’ bear. Arena’s inability to overcome that mess didn’t help, but the 5+ years of promises leading to nowhere before that set the USA back pretty good

  2. Happy about this day for two reasons: (1) France won (duh…); and (2) maybe we as USMNT fans can end the grieving process and move forward with a fresh cycle. I was at the Orlando v Toronto game last night, and people are still booing Jozy (who didn’t play but warmed up) and Bradley about not qualifying. I’m still pissed we weren’t in Russia, but it’s time to move on cuz the blaming is borderline pathetic now

    • USMNT, I wonder if they can get a reality check, could qualify with a group featuring 2 of the worst teams in the tournament, Panama, and Costa Rica…
      Future is bleak, Pulisic, the rest is garbage.
      MLS still living in the Garber-induced bubble, a third rate league with nothing to play for…everyone gets a participation cookie, yay!

      • I would agree that the rest of the Arena team is garbage but the young, upcoming players are good enough to take it to the WC champs and lead them for most of the game before getting tied. If we move forward with the youngsters, we will be fine next cycle. If we revert to a mix, were wasting time.
        The one thing that should be taken from the French is that it’s a young man’s game and we must move forward with a YOUNG team. Other teams are also surely seeing this

  3. I agree that it was not a foul to give Griezmann the free kick that led to the own goal.

    However, a handball doesn’t have to be intentional for a foul to be called. Why do so many fans have this fallacy in their heads (including this site’s namesake, apparently)? If the hand is judged to be in an unnatural position, and impedes/changes the path of the ball, a foul absolutely can and should be called. In this case, Perisic’s hand is away from the body and re-directs the ball away from in front of the goal to over-the-end-line. That’s a major change in direction. It was unfortunate, but fair.

    I realize no one likes to see a penalty (especially after VAR review) given in a Final, but life doesn’t always give us the romantic storylines we dream up in our heads.

    On the whole, France were outplayed (a theme of the DD Era), but as has happened so many times they created chances on pure skill and finished them. Croatia created a ton of half-chances, but rarely trouble Lloris, who was very charitable on Croatia’s second goal to say the least.

    Worst world champion since 1986? Eh, that’s a reach, this France team wasn’t always the prettiest, but they got things done. I’d argue the 2006 champ was up there, grinding their way to victory, barely getting by Australia in R16, then beating Ukraine and a young German side to reach the final…and we know what happened there.

  4. Foul for first goal, never a foul, Griesman goes down before a contact is made.

    Handball not intentional and decided the game.

    Croats outplayed the French, worst World champion since I’ve been watching the world cup in 1986.

    Otherwise, a great tournament, Belgium probably the best team in the world at the moment.

    • Your bias is showing. France is a worthy winner. While the first goal was a bad call by the ref, the penalty was 100% the correct call. Ultimately France was the better team. Croatia’s defense on set pieces was poor. They fought valiantly but didn’t have enough to beat the French.

    • what about the called handball, when France was in on goal? right after the phantom foul call for Greisman

      That was a big call, def. wasn’t a handball. Your analysis seems one sided to a side that you seem to want. If the first call decided the game, it didn’t in my opinion, then go ahead, but Croatia tied it up, had chances that they didn’t do anything with, France did with their opportunities, because they have soooo much firepower. France Champs.

    • The first two French goals were crap but the second two were good. Croatia was far more attractive to watch but that doesnt win games. In fact Peru and Uruguay played more attractive soccer but it got them nowhere. Somehow I hope bunker an counter does not become the new strategy teams adapt. Will end up being like watching Lacrosse


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