By Paul Giblin MOSCOW (Xinhua) --
Kylian Mbappe was decisive in the second
half as France banished the ghosts of their defeat in the 2016
European Championship final to beat Croatia 4-2 to win the 2018
World Cup in Moscow on Sunday and claim the trophy for the
second time in their history.
The 19-year-old made
the difference in the second half of an entertaining final as
his pace allowed him to score one goal and set up another for
Paul Pogba as France to took a 4-1 lead against a Croatian side
which never gave up and can be hugely proud of their World Cup.
Croatia kicked off
looking to force the French deep, with Luka Modric again in an
advanced role and Ivan Strinic finding space on the left.
chance came when Mbappe found space in the 17th
minute and the move ended with Griezmann fouled outside of the
Croatian area. Griezmann took the free kick, which flicked off
the leaping Mandzukic to leave Danijel Subasic helpless and give
France the lead.
It was the first own
goal ever scored in a World Cup final.
Croatia levelled in
the 28th minute, thanks to Ivan Perisic’s powerful
left foot shot after France failed to clear a Modric free kick.
Pitana then used the VAR system to award France a penalty in the
37th minute after Perisic handled Griezmann’s corner
and Griezmann stepped forward to send Subasic the wrong way from
struggling to defend high balls and Domagoj Vida flicked wide
for Croatia in injury time, while Mandzukic was inches away from
a touch as a thunderstorm erupted over the Luzhniki Stadium.
Croatia came out
strongly again at the start of the second half, with Rebic
forcing Hugo Lloris to tip over and Varane at full stretch to
deny Perisic, before Lloris had to punch bravely away from
At the other end
Vida did well to deny Mbappe in full stride, before the match
was momentarily halted by a pitch invasion, after which Steven
Nzonzi replaced Ngolo Kante in the French midfield.
Mbappe then helped
decide the game in a six minute spell of play, starting the move
which saw Pogba put France 3-1 up in the 59th minute.
The teenager again found space and picked out Griezmann who in
turn fed the ball to the tall midfielder and although Pogba’s
first shot was blocked, the ball fell kindly for him to stroke
it past the unsighted Subasic.
Six minutes later it
was 4-1: Lucas Hernandez started a move which ended with Mbappe
netting his fourth goal of the tournament with a shot from
outside of the area.
That looked as if it
would seal France’s win, but Lloris made a dreadful error when
his clearance bounced into the net off Mandzukic to give Croatia
hope, but with Samuel Umtiti excellent in the French defense
there was no way back.