France Defeats Croatia in FIFA World Cup Final
In the final match of what has been somewhat universally acknowledged as the greatest World Cup we’ve ever seen, France defeated Croatia 4-2 to take home the hardware. The fireworks were abounding in the highest scoring regulation finish to a World Cup Final since 1958.
It was a tale of two halves. France struck first on a set piece that turned into an own goal by Croatia’s Mario Mandžukić in the 18th minute, but Croatia was able to quickly answer on a beauty from Ivan Perišić in the 28th. France would finish off the half with a penalty goal, awarded off of a handball, scored by Antoine Griezmann in minute 38, giving the French a 2-1 halftime lead in a match that felt relatively close.
That feeling of a close game changed rapidly coming out of the half. Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappé scored in the 59th and 65th minutes respectively to give France a commanding 4-1 lead, and essentially finishing the game 25 minutes before it was over. Croatia would get one more goal in the 69th minute off of a mistake by the French goalie, giving Mario Mandžukic an open shot at net that he was able to take advantage of, but it was already over by that point. France was able to maintain control of the ball and finish what they started.
The final whistle blew after five minutes of stoppage time, ending an incredible tournament that we have all been lucky to witness. Very few saw France taking this one prior to the tournament, especially with the talent abounding on teams like Brazil, Belgium, Germany, and Spain, but this World Cup proved that anything can happen in this beautiful game.
The Golden Boot, the award given to the highest goal scorer of the tournament, was given to Harry Kane of England, who finished the World Cup with six goals.