Croatia fans eclipse low-key French in Moscow final build-up

Ruben Holloway
July 16, 2018

The only other teen to score in a World Cup final was Pele, who was 17 when Brazil beat Sweden 5-2 in 1958.

Croatia had started full of energy but fell behind when Mandzukic, who scored the extra-time victor against England in the semi-final, became the first man to score an own goal in a World Cup final when a Griezmann free kick skidded in off his head in the 18th minute.

In this composite image a comparison has been made between Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba of France and Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic of Croatia.

Croatia started full of energy but went behind in the 18th minute when a Griezmann free kick skidded in off the head of Mandzukic, who scored the extra-time victor against England in the semi-final.

France took the lead in the 18th when Croatia's tallest outfield player, 1.90-meter (6-foot-3) forward Mario Mandzukic, rose to meet Griezmann's free kick with the top of his head.

Pussy Riot, a Russian punk rock group that rose to global prominence with their daring outdoor performances critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2012, claimed responsibility for the second-half disruption on Twitter.

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After watching Croatia overcome deficits time and again this World Cup, France knew a 1-0 lead would not be safe in the championship match Sunday.

Energetic, disciplined and clinical, France won the World Cup on Sunday with a 4-2 victory over Croatia that, even in such a moment of achievement, still left the feeling there may be much more to come from Didier Deschamps' outstanding young team.

Pogba became the first English Premier League player to score in a World Cup final since his compatriot, Arsenal's Emmanuel Petit, scored France's third goal against Brazil in the 1998 Final.

One thousand France supporters packed inside seven bars in the False Creek area flooded Creekside Park after the game to celebrate a new generation of heroes who managed to clinch the cup 20 years since France's win on home soil.

The Les Bleus, who lifted their maiden global trophy in 1998, then knocked out Uruguay and Belgium in the quarter and semi-finals respectively to book a berth with Croatia.

There was the VAR decision by the Argentine referee Nestor Pitana for the penalty that might have gone away had he not been called over the review screen.

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The award, which can only be won by players born on or after January 1, is given to the outstanding young footballer at the finals.

"There weren't that many Croatians earlier in the tournament", said 30-year-old Miro Susa from Osijek, who was on a square adjacent to the Kremlin.

"I hope we'll be world champions and when you are world champions it's for four years and I think it will be good for French coach".

"This is not about me, it's about everyone around me and the players", Deschamps said having been carried shoulder-high by them during a post-match downpour. "We dominated and then the penalty was given".

"Whatever happens, we will be happy and proud because we deserved it", Dalic said. It was the 12th own goal of the tournament.

Croatia equalised through what was the goal of the match.

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