Thursday, January 28, 2021

France 4-2 Croatia – World Cup | Final

France defeated Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup Final to claim their second ever title. A dramatic final saw 6 goals scored with France just having too much for the Croatian team. Croatia should be proud of getting to their first ever World Cup Final and put in a good effort in the final. Didier Deschamps became the third ever manager to have won the competition as both a player and a manager.

The French national team celebrates their World Cup win with manager Didier Deschamps
Source: Reuters

Incredible final sees France claim their second World Cup title

Croatia started the match on the front foot, taking control of the game early on. However, the team failed to score in their early moments of dominance. Antoine Griezmann won a controversial free kick on 18 minutes which produced the first goal of the game. The ball was crossed into the box from the free kick which saw Mario Mandžukić convert into his own net.

Their lead lasted only 10 minutes before Croatia brought the score level. Another free kick saw Ivan Perišić receive the ball on the edge of the box. His first touch expertly took the ball past N’Golo Kanté before striking the ball perfectly into the bottom corner. The first half was not done yet as history was made with the first ever VAR decision awarded in a World Cup Final. The referee had a long look at the monitor over whether Perišić had handled the ball in the area. After a lengthy check, the referee decided to award the penalty to France. Antoine Griezmann converted the penalty which meant that France went in 2-1 up at half time.

Antoine Griezmann converts a penalty to give France a 2-1 lead
Source: Reuters

France assert their dominance in the second half

The second half started as intensely as the first half finished. Both teams looked like they had the potential to score the next goal, with the next goal being the most important of the game. That goal ended up being scored by Paul Pogba. Pogba took advantage of some confusion by the Croatians after seeing his first shot blocked to place a driven shot into the bottom corner. France did not have to wait long for their next goal. After Pogba’s goal, France managed to find the net just 6 minutes later. Young player of the tournament Kylian Mbappé looked to finish Croatia off with a powerful strike into the bottom corner.

France then started to play more defensively to see out the rest of the game. This resulted in a potentially calamitous mistake by France keeper Hugo Lloris. The goalkeeper was caught in possession, which Croatian striker Mandžukić took advantage of. This gave Croatia hope of getting back into the match. However, France were too difficult to break down in the final part of the match and saw through their lead to claim their second World Cup.

Man of the Match

One player who particularly stood out was Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba. The French midfielder had an amazing tournament showing exactly why Manchester United paid so much for the player back in 2016. The player dominated the midfield and had a large presence in a number of the goals. One of his best moments in the match involved Pogba playing the ball out to Mbappé before then getting into the box in order to finish the entire move with a goal after the ball came back to him on the edge of the area.

Paul Pogba celebrates his goal against Croatia in the 2018 World Cup Final
Source: Reuters

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