French Hoist World Cup for Second Time Courtesy of Croatia Mishaps

The decider in the 2018 FIFA World Cup final between France and Croatia was one that would appeal to those who like to see big numbers up on the scoreboard.

For casual fans of football, it was not the hoped-for final of France versus England, but Croatia provided the underdog story that everyone loves.

The 4 – 2 final score gave France its second World Cup championship after the one they secured when they hosted the tournament in 1998. This win was notable for the fact that French manager Didier Deschamps was the captain of the team when France won in 1998.

At the end, even though they played well at the outset and responded with collective cool to equalise after a corner by France glanced off the head of Mario Mandzukic for an own goal within minutes of that unfortunate circumstance, Croatia appeared to have expended every last gram of energy en route to the final. With all the extra time and so on, Croatia essentially played an entire extra game.

Mandzukic can hardly be faulted; it was just one of those things that happen in football.

Along with the ignominy of scoring an own goal, Mandzukic added distinction later when he scored a goal off a howler by the French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to become the first player in World Cup history to score for both teams.

The major controversy that spoiled an otherwise superbly played game was when a VAR review of a hand ball earned France a kick from the spot. The review showed that the ball did hit the hand of Perisic, but it was not initially called and it was a glancing ball that was not affected by touching the player’s hand.

Russian security will be called to account when the pitch was invaded at the start of the second half. Russian female punk band Pussy Riot claimed responsibility for the event.