France Completes Improbable Run to Championship

France won their second-ever World Cup on Sunday with a 4-2 win over Croatia. Despite Croatia’s unorthodox run to the finals, France’s star-studded lineup of Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe proved to be too much.

France and Croatia took very different paths to the World Cup Final. France started off the tournament by winning its qualifying group, placing them as a top-seeded team in the tournament. They won all its matches leading up to the final in regulation, defeating Argentina 4-3 in the round of 16 in a shootout in which the teams traded the lead three times. The French then defeated Uruguay 2-0 in the quarterfinals, before cementing their path to the finals with an solid 1-0 defensive effort against the talented Belgian team.

Croatia squeaked into the tournament as one of the last European teams to qualify. The team then breezed through its group before winning three straight extra-time matches. In Croatia’s first match against Denmark, they gave up a goal in the first minute of regulation, before answering back in just the fourth. Croatia went on to survive a historic goalkeeping duel to advance to the quarterfinals. They faced Russia in the quarterfinals, as both scored in extra-time to send it to a shootout, ending with Croatia taking the win. In the semifinals, they started down early again, but fought back with a goal in regulation and extra-time to punch their ticket to the finals.

In the final match of the tournament, France came out strong in the early minutes of the match, scoring in a 19th minute free kick. France’s Griezzmann’s attempt turned into an own goal for Mario Mandzukic. Croatia’s Ivan Perisic quickly answered with a goal of his own in the 28th minute.

France retook the lead in the 38th minute, as Griezmann converted a penalty kick to make it 2-1 right before halftime.

After the half, France started strong, scoring two and giving themselves a commanding 4-1 lead. French star Pogba scored the team’s third goal in the 59th minute, with a left-footed shot to the bottom left corner.

France’s fourth goal came from the 19 year-old phenom Mbappe, who became the first teenager to score a goal in the World Cup Final since Pele in 1958. Mbappe became only the fourth teenage ever to play in the World Cup Final.

— ESPN (@espn) July 15, 2018

England’s captain Harry Kane took home the Golden Boot award, the trophy for the best offensive performance in the World Cup.

An error from France’s Hugo Lloris would grant Mandzukic a goal for Croatia in the 68th minute, but France had all but won the match.

Share This