France coach and players react to World Cup victory

Lawrence Kim
July 15, 2018

The contest between the two sides is not short of history, as France defeated Croatia 2-0 in the 1998 semi-final on route to lifting the World Cup. However, Croatia has shown it can score from losing positions, nearly at will, and gain greater control of a game as it unfolds.

But if this World Cup has taught us anything, it's that protracted spells of possession or territorial dominance don't necessarily count for much.

France are World Cup winners for the second time after beating Croatia 4-2 in a thrilling final which featured a series of firsts, including an own goal and a penalty awarded after a video review.

Pogba then scored the crucial third goal for France as he started a flowing move with a wonderful drilled pass, then finished off, at the second attempt, as he curled past Danijel Subasic.

In a tight-knit game it was Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti who made the difference, leaping above Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini to head home the victor.

Instead, it is a gifted French side with the second-youngest squad at the tournament, embodied by the lightning-quick Mbappe, who face a Croatian team inspired by Luka Modric, arguably the finest midfielder in the world at the moment.

France coach Didier Deschamps became only the third man to win the World Cup as a player and a coach.

The goalkeeper said the team were not being swept up by the wave of celebrations back home and were keeping their focus firmly on their shot of earning a second World Cup title after 1998 when they take on the Croatians in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

Zlatko Dalic's charges, meanwhile, have been severely tested in the knockout rounds, needing extra-time or penalties in all their knockout matches en route to the final. They needed penalties to beat Denmark and hosts Russian Federation before edging out England 2-1 with an extra-time victor from Mario Mandzukic.

Croatia fought hard for an hour but goals from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe gave France a three-goal cushion. There is a reason why no team has ever taken this path to the final before - there is only so many miles men can run before they collapse. They also reached the Euro final on home soil two years ago only to lose to Portugal.

There were as many wins as losses at the World Cup, unbelievable goals - with Belgium leading the way - and plenty of extra-time and penalty drama (thanks, Croatia). and cards, lots and lots of cards.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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