France beats Croatia 4-2 to clinch 2nd FIFA World Cup title

BanglaPress Desk
July 15, 2018

Banglapress online: France clinched its second FIFA World Cup title after beating Croatia 4-2 in the finals on Sunday  in the highest-scoring final since 1966. Les Bleus led from the get-go courtesy of the first-half own-goal off the top of Mario Mandzukic’s head. Croatia rallied to equalize with a terrific left-foot strike by Ivan Perisic; however France took the lead right back when Perisic handled the ball in his own penalty area.
Argentine referee Nestor Pitana initially didn’t call the handball but awarded the spot kick after a video review – the first time in a World Cup final. Antoine Griezmann converted the penalty to put France back in front. The match was temporarily disrupted when four pitch invaders ran onto the field in the 52nd minute before being dragged away by security and police.
Punk rock group Pussy Riot quickly claimed responsibility for the pitch invasion via social media, saying it was a protest aimed at ending illegal arrests of protesters and to allow political competition in Russia.
Play resumed and France quickly took a 4-1 lead with goals from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe in the 59th and 65th minutes. Mbappe, at 19 years old, became only the second teenager to score in a World Cup final. He showed his electrifying speed before slotting a right-footed shot past Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic. He was born months after France won the World Cup in 1998.
Mandzukic pulled one back for the Croatians in the 69th after a mistake by French goalie Hugo Lloris. President Donald Trump tweeted his congratulations to the French National Team soon after the game ended.
“Congratulations to France, who played extraordinary soccer, on winning the 2018 World Cup. Additionally, congratulations to President Putin and Russia for putting on a truly great World Cup Tournament — one of the best ever!” he wrote.
In France, crowds packed the lawns stretching out beneath the Eiffel Tower, frenetically waving French flags as police struggled to keep them squeezed in place.
On the other side of the Seine River, more throngs poured onto streets around the Champs-Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe, where soldiers and military equipment paraded a day before on France’s national Bastille Day holiday. Croatia was playing in its first World Cup final.