For the first time since 1998, France has won the World Cup. The French took the pitch in Moscow against a surprising Croatia side, and despite the Croatian Cinderella story, France’s talent and patient approach to the game was able to win out. By the time the official blew his whistle at the end of the match, the French walked off the pitch with a 4-2 win and the second World Cup in the country’s history.
From the start, Croatia came out and did everything it could to pressure the French. Most of the match’s first 15 minutes or so occurred in France’s half of the pitch, as Croatia did everything it could to strike first. However, France’s defense — led by indomitable center backs Samuel Umtiti and Raphael Varane — was stout, and keeper Hugo Lloris was not tested in the match’s early going.
Eventually, France was able to get a spell of possession, and an opportunity arose for a free kick. The crafty Antoine Griezmann went down without much contact, but was able to win a free kick nonetheless. The Atletico Madrid talisman stood over the ball and fired a kick into the box, which scraped off of the head of Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic and went into the back of the net in the 18th minute for the first own goal to ever occur in a World Cup Final.