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A Mandzukic own-goal, a penalty from Griezmann and second half strikes from Pogba and Mbappé sealed France's second World Cup.

France celebrated in the rain as the heavens opened immediately after their win

GAME OVER! France win the World Cup!
A Mandzukic own-goal, a penalty from Griezmann and second half strikes from Pogba and Mbappé sealed France's second World Cup.
In the end, it was two teams with seemingly no fear of losing and with everything to gain at the Luzhniki.

We were treated to three goals in the first half alone. And we had six by the time it was over. That's more than the last three World Cup finals combined and as many as the last four. It is the first time since 1966 we saw as many goals in the final too.

France opened the scoring when Antoine Griezmann bought himself a free and clipped it towards goal. Mario Mandzukic headed it beyond his own keeper and we were off.
Paul Pogba celebrates with the trophy. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

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  Just 10 minutes later, Ivan Perisic sent a screamer - with the help of a deflection - beyond a sprawling Hugo Lloris as the intensity that both sides started with began to produce results. Zlatko Dalic said his side were still dreaming before the game and they weren't about to let an own goal derail their pursuit of glory. Their supposed destiny could not resist the force of a debatable VAR decision though.

On 38 minutes, we had the game's turning point and one that will be debated long after the champagne has stopped pouring. A corner came in from Griezmann and Ivan Perisic's hand caught the ball. The referee went to VAR and decided it was a penalty. Griezmann stepped up and slotted home to give France a lead they would not relinquish.

In the second half, Croatia started with more intention but France got their third when Paul Pogba scored his first goal of the tournament. He slotted him a left-footed effort when his right-footed chance was blocked back out to him.

fter an incredible summer of football and a World Cup final that will live on in the memory.
 

Kylian Mbappe made it four with a relatively tame effort from outside the box and at that stage, the tiredness was starting to show in Croatia's legs. The three stints of extra-time, sixty minutes in total, was causing mistakes, unfinished runs and lapses in concentration. France seemed to be getting sharper - all 11 of them except Hugo Lloris, that is.

Mario Mandzukic pulled one back when the keeper made a dog's dinner of a clearance, or non-clearance. He tried to go around the long-legged striker and the Croatian poked it home. Croatia were given hope and Lloris was begging the football god's to speed up the clock.


But France took the sting out of their challenge and wrapped up a convincing World Cup win after an unconvincing run. Regardless of aesthetics or style, Didier Deshcamps' side are the world champions a World Cup final that will live on in the memory.

How did France and Croatia get to the final?

France
France didn’t have the most explosive start to the tournament, scraping wins against Australia and Peru and registering a 0-0 draw with Denmark in their final group game. However, France burst into life with a dynamic and creative performance in their Last 16 tie with Argentina, seeing them come out top in a 4-3 thriller. Finally, they earned their way into the semis with a 2-0 victory over Uruguay in a (very scrappy) quarter-final.

Finally, they edged past European neighbours Belgium with a 1-0 victory in the semis, thanks to a second-half header from defender Samuel Umtiti.

Croatia
Croatia were always dubbed ‘the ones to watch’. Their liquid football during the group stage was a lesson in how the sport should be played. The Croats barely broke a sweat against Nigeria and Iceland, while their 3-0 dismantling of Argentina was so brutal it probably shouldn’t have aired before the 9pm watershed.

Their form hasn’t transferred to the knockout stages, however. A tepid performance against Denmark required penalties to get them through, with Croatia also requiring a shootout against Russia to see them through the quarters.

However, the side still found it in them to force a 2-1 victory over England at the semi-final stage.

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