France Beats Croatia to Win World Cup
Pogba, Mbappe shine in dramatic end to tournament for the ages.
There was a French twist surrounding the ending of one of the most dramatic World Cup tournaments in recent memory.
France defeated Croatia 4-2 in a final which opened with a controversial officiating decision that led to the first French goal. The Mario Mandzukic own goal stemmed from a free kick off rewarded to Antoine Griezmann on a blatant dive.
But France’s offensive power, not the refs, proved the difference in the game.
Appropriately, the final two goals were scored by the team’s biggest stars, including a second chance rocket by Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba. And at 19, Mbappé became the first teenager since Pele in 1958 to score in a World Cup final.
Croatia’s Luka Modric won the ultimate consolation prize: The Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.
It’s the second World Cup championship for France, which last won in 1998, back when current coach Didier Deschamps was the captain on the pitch.
“In the final analysis, Didier Deschamps’ France team at this World Cup should be remembered as a mostly pragmatic side that was capable of some exquisite attacking moments but more often displayed a grit and solid organization that reflected their coach,” wrote Sports Illustrated‘s Grant Wahl. “France is the second-youngest team at this World Cup, and you hope that in the future Deschamps (or whoever coaches France) will give his players a bit more freedom to do what they’re capable of.”
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