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World Cup: France beats Croatia for second title


Presnel Kimpembe of France (L) and Lucas Hernandez of France react after winning the FIFA World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia on Sunday in Moscow. Photo by Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA-EFE

By Alex Butler, UPI

France beat Croatia 4-2 in the 2018 World Cup final, claiming its second title all time at the tournament on Sunday in Moscow.

[post_ads]"I don't even know where I am," France star Antoine Greizmann told Fox Sports. "I am very happy. It was a very difficult match. Croatia definitely gave us a run for our money. We came in kind of timidly but then we kind of grew into the game. In the end, we made the difference."

"I'm just very happy. We can't wait to lift this cup and bring it back home."

England's Harry Kane won the Golden Boot at the 2018 World Cup. Croatia's Luka Modric won the Golden Ball and France's Kylian Mbappe claimed the Silver Ball.

Croatian semifinal star Mario Mandzukic scored the first goal of Sunday's finale, but it came for the wrong team. France's Griezmann was taking a free kick on the play. The Atletico Madrid star bent the kick into the box, where it found the Croatian striker, who deflected it past goalie Danijel Subasic in the 18th minute.

Ivan Perisic tied the game for Croatia in the 28th minute. Luka Modric sent a free kick to the right side of the box on the play. The ball bounced around the box until it found the boot of defender Domagoj Vida, who brought the ball down for Perisic. The midfielder faked to his right, before pushing the ball left. He then blasted a left-footed shot into the far post netting, beating a diving Hugo Lloris for the equalizer.

Griezmann was also involved in France's second score of the game, albeit more directly. That chance came after a handball in the box from Perisic, resulting in a penalty kick. Griezmann stepped up to the ball and blasted it into the left side of the net for a 2-1 advantage going into halftime.

Paul Pogba gave France some insurance in the 59th minute. The Manchester United star received a pass from Griezmann during that sequence. He blasted an 18 yard shot that was blocked by the Croatian defense. He then gathered the rebound and sent in a left-footed laser, beating Subasic into the near post netting in the 59th minute for a 3-1 advantage.
Mbappe put the game away with another score for France in the 65th minute. The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder received a pass from Lucas Hernandez before ripping in another near post score past Subasic.

Mandzukic made up for his own goal by capitalizing on a France mistake in the 69th minute. Hugo Lloris was attempting to clear the ball on that play. He moved a pass back to his right, before moving it back to his left, directly in the path of Mandzukic.

Mandzukic then tapped the ball toward the far post to cut the deficit in half. But Lloris would not concede another goal down the stretch, helping France bring the trophy home once more.

"It's so beautiful and wonderful for the players," France coach Didier Deschamps said. "They are a young generation and a world champion team. It wasn't a huge match today, but we did give it a lot of our mental qualities. We did score four goals so we deserved it. I am so happy for them. For this specific group, we have come a long way. It hasn't always been simple.
With hard work and their ability to listen ... we've had a few bumps in the road, but that's what was needed and now they are on top of the world for the next four years."

Croatia's second place finish in the 2018 World Cup is the best in the country's history at the tournament.

England's Kane led the tournament with six goals in six games. Belgium's Romelu Lukaku, Russia's Denis Cheryshev, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, Griezmann and Mbappe finished in second place with four goals each.

The next World Cup begins on Nov. 21, 2022 in Qatar. The 2026 World Cup will take place in the United States, Canada and Mexico.


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U.S. Daily News | Sports: World Cup: France beats Croatia for second title
World Cup: France beats Croatia for second title
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