France cruises past Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

France cruised to its first World Cup title in 20 years and its second soccer crown overall, dominating Croatia 4-2 in Sunday’s championship game in Moscow.

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The French, winning the Cup for the first time since 1998, scored first and then outran the Croatian squad, the smallest country to play in a World Cup final since 1950, when Uruguay defeated Brazil 2-1 in Rio de Janeiro.

France opened the scoring in the 18th minute thanks to an own goal by Croatia. On a set piece after a free kick, Frances Antoine Griezmann kicked the ball toward the goal. The ball glanced off Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic and past goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.

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Croatia tied the match 10 minutes later when Ivan Perisic rocketed a left-footed shot past Hugo Lloris.

France was awarded a penalty kick when Perisic handled the ball in the box. After a video review, referee Nestor Pitana in favor of the kick.

Griezmann buried his shot past Subasic to give France a 2-1 lead, which it took into the half.

>> Photos: 2018 World Cup final -- France vs. Croatia

France increased its lead to 3-1 in the second half, with Paul Pogba controlling his own rebound of a blocked shot and converting a left-footed shot in the 59th minute.

Six minutes later, Kylian Mbappe became the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since Brazil’s Pele did it in 1958. That gave the French a commanding 4-1 lead.

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Croatia cut the deficit to 4-2 in the 69th minute when Mandzukic sent a shot past Lloris.

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