Football News

WORLD CUP 2018 FINAL: France Vs Croatia, LIVE

Written By Narayan R | Mumbai | Published:

FULL TIME: France 4-2 Croatia
 

90': Five minutes added on!
 

87': Fekir has a go from far, but his effort is straight at Subasic.
 

81': Both the teams are making their final change. Fekir is coming on for Giroud. For Crotia, Strinic is replaced by Pjaca.
 

75': Croatia are pinging crosses in the box, but Varane and Umtiti are defending them very well.
 

73': Now France also make their second change. Matuidi is replaced by Tolisso. 
 

71': Croatia, buoyed by that goal, have brought in Kramaric for Rebic.
 

69': GOAL! A shocker by Lloris! The France skipper dallies on the ball, and tries to pass it to his teammate. Mandzukic gets a nick to it, and the ball goes inside the net.
 

65': GOAL! Kylian Mbappe seals the match! Hernandez does well on the left side and breaks forward. He cushions a pass towards Mbappe. The youngster takes on touch and smacks a ball past an hapless Subasic.
 

61': Last ditch defending by Croatia! Ball gets played into their area, and the defense fails to deal with it. The ball is crossed again, and Griezmann looks sure to meet it. But a vital interception in the final moment by a Croatian player.
 

59': GOAL! Pogba scores a screamer from the edge of the box to double France's lead.
 

55': First change by France. Kante, on a yellow card, is replaced by Nzonzi.
 

52': Brilliant save! Mbappe is freed through the right side by Pogba. The striker outpaces Vida and gets in the box, but his effort is well saved by Subasic.
 

50': Croatia win a corner on the right side. Modric takes it, but it's headed out. Vrsaljko attempts a audacious volley, but it's way wide.
 

48': Great save by Lloris, as he denies Rebic from scoring with a brilliant one-handed save.
 

47': Good play by France finds Griezmann in space outside the box. He tries to have a go, but his effort is straight at Subasic.
 

HALF TIME: France 2-1 Croatia
 

45' + 1: Rakitic takes the corner, and Vida rises the highest to meet it with a header. But he can't direct it towards the goal.
 

45': Three minutes added on! Croatia meanwhile get two corner in a couple of minutes.
 

43': Free kick for Croatia on the right side. Modric puts it in. The first header by Perisic is blocked. The rebound falls to Lovren, whos pile driver is blocked for a corner by Pogba.
 

40': Yellow card for Hernandez as the referee finds him guilty of pulling back Rebic.
 

38': GOAL! Griezmann steps up to take the penalty, and dispatches it. France take the lead again!
 

36': PENALTY! The referee, after much consultation, awards a spot-kick to France.
 

34': VAR CHECK! Griezmann takes the corner, and the ball hits the arm of Croatian player. The referee decides to take the help of VAR
 

33': Corner for France from absolutely nothing! Lloris pumps the ball in the attacking half, and Vida fails to deal with it.
 

31': Croatia have found their touch now, and playing some exciting football.
 

28': GOAL! The set-piece is put in the box, and Croatia keep it alive. Perisic gets the ball in the edge of the box, takes one touch and BOOM! His effort flies past Lloris.
 

27': First yellow card of the match goes to Kante, as he fouls Perisic!
 

24': Modric takes the set-piece, and it's punched out by Lloris. France fail to clear, and the ball is put in by Lovren. But Rakitic's volley is wayward.
 

23': Another free kick, this time on the left for Croatia. 
 

21': Now Croatia get a free kick of their own on the right side. Modric is over it, and puts a good ball in. Vida meets it with his head, but his effort is above.
 

19': GOAL! Griezmann takes the free kick, and unfortunately for Mandzukic, he heads the ball back in his own net!
  

17': Free kick in a dangerous position for France as Griezmann is fouled by Brozovic.
 

13': France haven't been able to get Pogba or Griezmann in the game till now. More often than not, the ball has been played through the wing.
 

10': Modric plays a lovely pass from the outside his foot to Strinic. He cuts the ball back on the edge of the box to Perisic. But the winger's low cross is poor and cleared.
 

8': First corner of the match for Croatia! Strinic loses the attention of Mbappe and goes into the box, but the French youngster does well and tackles the ball out for a corner.
 

7': Croatia are using their full backs, Strinic and Vrsaljko to attack through the wings. 
 

3': Perisic has an early chance to run at the defense. A poor throw in by Mbappe puts Pavard in all sorts of trouble. Perisic nicks the ball, and has a run at the centre backs. But Varane, with Umtiti's help, clear the ball out of danger.
 

2': France have the early possession as the two teams feel each other in the first few minutes.
 

KICK OFF!
 

The ceremonies are out of the way now. It's all about the next 90 minutes, or maybe 120, or maybe penalties after that!
 


What a midfield duo these two are! But can they overcome the combination of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic?
 


Croatian fans are showing their support to the team, and how!
 

 

Croatian fans at the presidential palace one hour before kick off.....surreal, amazing

A post shared by Anupam (@reach_anupam) on


What a player and manager Didier Deschamps has been!
 


Kylian Mbappe is surely a legend in the making.
 


The starting XI are out for both the teams. There are no major surprises in there.
 


The man who won the World Cup thrice has a special message for the finalists.
 


The stats are overwhelmingly in favor of France. But in a final, everything goes out of the window!
 


​​​​​​​Griezmann has scored three goals, Perisic has scored two. Will either be able to deliver on the biggest stage, in the biggest match?
 


Will this be the night that Antoine Griezmann itch his name as one of France's greatest ever?
 


This is it! France and Croatia take on each other in the final hurdle to determine who will lift the World Cup 2018 trophy. This has been the most unpredictable tournament in past many years. Hardly anyone would have predicted these two teams competing in the finale. France are aiming for their second World Cup triumph, and start as favorites. Croatia, on the other hand, have had their best ever World Cup. They have no pressure on themselves, and have nothing to lose.


After over a month of exciting and enthralling football action, World Cup 2018 will come to a close when France and Croatia take on each other in the final hurdle. Not many heading into the tournament would have predicted these two fighting it out on the last day.

France are one of the strongest teams in the world, and given the fact their current squad is called as their 'golden generation', it isn't much of a surprise to see them one step closer to the crown.

Croatia, on the other hand, are a very good side. But few would have predicted them to reach the semi-finals, let alone the final. There is little doubt about the quality they possess, especially in the midfield, where they have the 'Golden Ball' probable Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.

FRANCE

Defense

They have reached the final only for the third time in their history, and no one can say they haven't deserved it. The 1998 champions have been solid at the back, and have conceded a mere four goals in the tournament (three of them coming in the same game, against Argentina).

Hugo Lloris has been at his usual best in front of goal, and has produced some really good saves along the way. Though, he hasn't been tested much, and that's due to the back four in front of him.

In Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti, France have unearther a solid centre back partnership. Both the players are strong in the air, good with the ball, but more importantly, have pace. Take away the Argentina match, and the ever-present duo have let in a mere one goal in the tournament so far, which is incredible in it's own rights. And the two have also shown their attacking threat, chipping in with a goal each.

Not many were sure about France's full backs Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez. But the duo have proved their critics wrong. While Pavard has been a rock defensively, Hernandez has been a willing runner going forward. Though, it comes as a surprise that out of the two, it is Pavard who has scored a goal. His screamer against Argentina was one of the moments of the tournament, and that backed Didier Deschamps' decision to play him.

Midfield

Take away Croatia's midfield, and France would stake claim to have the best duo in this position. In Ngolo Kante, they have a player who will run all day long, and even after the final whistle. His tenacity and composure has brought calmness in the defense, and confidence in the attack. His displays may never create headlines, or be highlighted, but he has undoubtedly been one of the 'player of the tournament.'

If Kante is all about tenacity, then his midfield partner Paul Pogba is the complete opposite. With a giant like figure, Pogba is full of creativity. This may not have been one of his best tournaments till date, but he is capable of producing something extraordinary any moment.

France have tried and tested Blaise Matuidi and Corentin Tolisso as the third midfield option, someone who can play on the left side. Both the players have performed decently, but Matuidi edges his compatriot. The Juventus man has legs in him, which allows him to break forward when France have the ball, and help defensively when they are out of possession.

Attack

What can you say about France's attack. There is a tall striker, a creative attacking midfielder, and a pacey youngster. The mixture of Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe has done wonders.

While Giroud hasn't got the goals, his off the ball running, link up and hold up play has been important. His hardwork has meant the other two have enjoyed their time in the attacking half.

Griezmann started the tournament slowly. He was scoring goals, but struggling with his performances. But once the knockout round started, he has come to life. Against Argentina, his runs and movement were brilliant. Then in the quarter-finals against Uruguay, he tormented the opposition defense. With three goals and two assists in the tournament, he ranks high in terms of the most influential players.

His partner in crime has been Mbappe. Tasked with leading the attack at a tender age of 19, the Paris Saint-Germain man has grabbed onto the opportunity. Just like Griezmann, he was quiet in the group stage, but roared back to form with a sensational match-winning performance against Argentina. While there have been moments of his immaturity and selfishness, there is no denying he is the biggest threat to Croatia in the final.

CROATIA

Defense

You don't always need big names in your back line to be strong. And Croatia have proved exactly that. Their goalkeeper Danijel Subasic is hardly considered world class. But in World Cup 2018, his performances have been extraordinary. Two match winning displays against Denmark and Russia has earned him the 'legend' tag in his country.

The back four of Croatia have been dependable. Dejan Lovren and Domagoj Vida have been neat and clean, and have played to their strengths. If anything, they have performed well above their expectations.

Full backs Šime Vrsaljko and Ivan Strinić, just like the centre backs, have to be lauded for their performances. Both of them have been strong defensively, but have not shied away from going in the attacking half every now and then.

Midfield

'The Best'. This sums up the midfield duo of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic. In reality, both of them are attacking minded midfielders, and many predicted them to be overrun by opposition attacks. But that hasn't been the case one bit. Rakitic has dropped deep on several occasion to play as the anchor man. But when he goes upfield, Modric is always there to cover his space. The Real Madrid midfielder has arguably been the best player in the tournament, and she his side come victorious on Sunday, he will surely be ranked high amongst the Ballon d'Or candidates.

In few matches, Croatia have gone with a midfield three, playing Marcelo Brozović. His role has basically been to form a trio with Modric and Rakitic. But there is also the option of playing Mateo Kovacic, who is one talented midfield option.

Attack

'Tenacity, fight and will'. In Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebić, Croatia have three attacking options who will fight till the end of the day. They have creativity in them, but it is their hardwork which wins praises.

Perisic, on his day, can be a lethal winger. Playing on the left wing, he can either cut on his right foot to unleash a shot, or go down the wing using his pace. The other two, Mandzukic and Rebic, are sloggers, who will fight for the ball day long. Their ability in the air is also very useful.

There is always another option in Andrej Kramarić, who can give the other attackers run for their money.

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