France won the World Cup for the second time by ending hard-battling Croatia’s dream of a first title with a 4-2 victory in an entertaining and action-packed final.
France led 2-1 at halftime on Sunday after a Mario Mandzukic own-goal and an Antoine Griezmann VAR-penalty, although Ivan Perisic briefly brought first-time finalists Croatia level.
Quickfire strikes by Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe midway through the second half put France on course for the title, but Mandzukic was gifted a goal by French keeper Hugo Lloris to set up a nervous final 20 minutes.
France, however, withstood a spirited Croatia assault to lift the trophy for the second time – the first on foreign turf, following their success on home soil 20 years ago – and ensured that there was no repeat of two years ago when they were beaten in the European Championship final by Portugal in Paris.
The victory means that Didier Deschamps, captain of the 1998 side, becomes the third man to win the World Cup as player and coach after Brazil’s Mario Zagallo and Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer.
Watch: France celebrates winning World Cup 2018
“As a football fan, this is the sort of thing you dream of at the beginning of a World Cup,” said Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler, reporting from Paris.
“For most of these fans, the win is sweeter than they had imagined. The crowd absolutely erupted as soon as the final whistle sounded, all 80,000 of those packed in the fan zone.”
It was the highest-scoring final since England beat West Germany 4-2 after extra-time in 1966 and the highest in normal time since Brazil’s 5-2 victory over Sweden 60 years ago.
Source: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES