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.
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.
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.
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.
Croatia cut the deficit to 4-2 in the 69th minute when Mandzukic sent a shot past Lloris.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.