World Cup 2018 final: France 4-2 Croatia Live Update

FRANCE WIN WORLD CUP 2018!!!
Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeeeep! It’s all over – France have beaten Croatia 4-2 to win their second World Cup, two decades after their only previous success in the competition.

France v Croatia – 2018 FIFA World Cup™ FINAL – HIGHLIGHTS

90+3 min: Sime Vrsalko is booked for a desperate foul on Antoine Griezmann. From the free-kick, the ball’s played in to the penalty area, where Paul Pogba takes his eye off it and mis-kicks completely when scoring looked easier.

90+2 min: Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba attack down the right flank on the break. Paul Pogba tries to be too elaborate and squanders possession.

90 min: Brozovic concedes a free-kick and kicks the ball away in frustration. He avoids a yellow card, not that he’ll care particularly.

88 min: Kramaric and Vida combine down the left flank in a move that ends with Ivan Rakitic on the ball, shooting from distance only to send his effort high and wide.

87 min: France win a free-kick and taske it v-e-r-y, v-e-r-y, s-l-o-w-l-y, as you’d expect. Time is running out for Croatia, whose commendable resilience looks set to go unrewarded.

85 min: Pjaca skips and shimmies down the right flank, foxing Lucas Hernandez with a couple of stepovers. He tries to pick out Sime Vrsalko, but the Croatia right-back isn’t on the same wavelength as his team-mate and a promising move breaks down.

83 min: Free-kick for Croatia, wide on the left. Ivan Rakitic swings the ball into the penalty area, where Hugo Lloris plucks it from the sky.

82 min: Croatia substitution: Ivan Strinic off, Marko Pjaca. France substitution: Olivier Giroud off, Nabil Fekir on.

80 min: What with all the excitement in this half, I haven’t got around to mentioning the pitch invasion that took place at the beginning of the second half. Luckily, our man Shaun Walker in Moscow has all the skinny.

“The Russian protest performance group Pussy Riot have claimed responsibility for a pitch invasion early in the second half at the game. ‘Right now, there are four members of Pussy Riot on the pitch,’ the group wrote on its Facebook page. It said the pitch invasion had been a protest with demands including:

1. Free political prisoners

2. Do not put people in jail for social media “likes”

3. Stop illegal detentions at political rallies

4. Allow political competition in Russia

5. Do not fabricate criminal cases and detain people for no reason

Pussy Riot gained notoriety for a protest inside Moscow’s biggest cathedral in 2012, for which three participants were arrested and jailed for varying lengths of time. Since then, the three women who were put on trial have separated, with two of them – Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina – still appearing separately using the Pussy Riot name. It was unclear whether either of them were involved on Sunday.

On Twitter, the group’s account said it would post photographs and video very soon. “Hi everyone from the pitch at Luzhniki, it’s cool here,” the tweet read.

78 min: Close for Croatia, as a wonderful move ends with a low, diagonal Ivan Rakitic shot being deflected narrowly wide of the far upright by Steven Nzonzi. Referee Nestor Pitana awards a goal-kick, having failed to spot the nick off the French substitute.

75 min: Croatia substitution: Andre Kramaric on for Ante Rebic. France substitution: Corentin Tolisso on for Blaise Matuidi.

69 min: Apparently oblivious to the fact that Mario Mandzukic is bearing down on him, Hugo Lloris attempts to field a backpass from Olivier Giroud. He takes one touch, then another before opting to pass the ball back to Giroud. Super Mario intercepts and slots the ball into the empty net from about four yards out. The Croatia striker is quick to retrieve the ball from the net and place it back on the spot for kick-off as the camera focusses on the ashen-faced France goalkeeper. Somewhere on Merseyside, Loris Karius is offering up a silent prayer of thanks.

GOAL! France 4-2 Croatia (Mandzukic 69)
Croatia pull one back after Mario Mandzukic capitalises on some shocking goalkeeping from Hugo Lloris to give his team a sporting chance.

67 min: For all Croatia’s pluck, this World Cup final is turning into a procession for France, whose coronation as World Champions now looks a formality. Kylian Mbappe takes possession of the ball 25 yards from goal, gives a little shimmy and sends a low drive fizzing past both Domagoj Vida and then Danijel Subasic into the bottom left-hand corner.

GOAL! France 4-1 Croatia (Mbappe 65)
France go 4-1 up, with Kylian Mbappe becoming the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since a young Brazilian lad by the name of Pele a very long time ago.

63 min: France went close to putting the game completely beyond Croatia not long after scoring their third. Olivier Giroud tried a rather ambitious overhead kick that was heading towards Antoine Griezmann, completely unmarked at the far post. It took a crucial interception by Marcelo Brozovic to prevent France from going 4-1 

61 min: That was a great goal by Pogba, albeit a tiny bit fortuitous. He charged upfield and laid the ball off to Mbappe. He played the return pass to Pogba a couple of yards outside the penalty area and his shot towards the bottom right -hand corner was blocked. He gets a second bite of the cherry and with Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic wrongfooted, steers the ball into the bottom left-hand corner with his weaker left foot. Who is this fine player and is he in any way related to the facsimile of himself we saw playing for Manchester United more often than not last season?

GOAL! France 3-1 Croatia (Pogba 59)
Paul Pogba increases France’s lead, in a move he started and finished. His first shot from the edge of the area is blocked, but the ball breaks kindly for him and he scores at the second attempt with his left foot.

58 min: Perisic takes on and beats Benjamin Pavard down the left flank, but overcooks his cross. It’s too high for Mario Mandzukic, who is loitering with intent in his usual spot at the far post.

55 min: France substitution: N’Golo Kante off, Steven Nzonzi on. The diminutive Chelsea midfielder is on a yellow card and has not had one of his better games, having been targeted by Croatia’s players and put under huge pressure any time the ball comes his way. He makes way for Arsenal target Steven Nzonzi.

54 min: Mandzukic clatters Lloris as the pair contest a high ball and there’s a break in play as the France goalkeeper receives treatment.

52 min: Paul Pogba releases Kylian Mbappe with a ball down the inside left. He gets around Vida, outmuscling the left-back and unleashes a shot. LSubasic is out quick to smother his shot from a narrow angle. Should he have squared the ball for Olivier Giroud instead? The French striker will almost certainly think so.

50 min: Croatia begin the second half as they began the first, in a state of total dominance. They win another corner, but nothing comes of it. France do appear to be rocking against a team that never knows when it’s beaten.

49 min: Hugo Lloris is forced out of his area to clear, sweeper-keeper style, after Raphael Varane dashes back to take the ball off Ivan Perisic’s toe.

48 min: Ante Rebic is put through on goal by a wonderful pass from Ivan Rakitic. His surface-to-air diagonal effort from about 15 yards is tipped over the bar by Hugo Lloris. Nothing comes from the ensuing corner.

Second half: France 2-1 Croatia
46 min: The second half begins, with Croatia a goal behind in the World Cup final. My inbox has been inundated with correspondence from readers, many of whom don’t appear to know the rules of VAR or the laws of football. It all makes for good debate, albeit the kind this technology was supposed to end.

That France penalty: The consensus in the BBC studio seems to be that Croatia were very hard done by and having seen another couple of replays, I’m very much inclined to agree. Perisic had an impaired view and it seemed very, very harsh of referee Nestor Pitana to decide, on the back of repeated viewings, that the handball was deliberate. Oh VAR, you were doing so well up to this point in the World Cup and now you’ve let us down in the fina

Half-time: France 2-1 Croatia
France lead: The interval is upon us and France lead courtesy of an Mario Mandzukic own goal that came from a free-kick that probably shouldn’t have been awarded and a penalty that almost certainly should not have been awarded. Ivan Perisic, who has been outstanding for Croatia, has scored the goal of the game to keep his team in contention. So much for VAR putting an end to game-changing controversy.

43 min: Lucas Hernandez is booked for a late challenge on Ante Rebic and not long afterwards, Ivan Perisic has a shot blocked by Paul Pogba, who puts the ball out for a corner.

40 min: So, VAR has made the first big World Cup final call in history and I’m not 100% convinced it was correct. The ball was crossed from the right and Matuidi, who was being marked by Perisic, got his head to it. Before he did so, Perisic had dropped his arm and made contact with the ball. The referee didn’t see him do so, but had his attention drawn to it by France’s players and his VAR officials. Was the handball deliberate? Quite possibly. Was it a thse kind of “clear and obvious error” by the referee that VAR was brought in to over-rule? Not for me, Clive.

40 min: Mario Mandzukic is too slow to react after Ante Rebic fails to connect with a wonderful Ivan Perisic cross from the left into the penalty area.

GOAL! France 2-1 Croatia (Griezmann 38)
Antoine Griezmann nonchalantly rolls the ball past Danijel Subasic into the bottom left-hand corner and France re-take the lead. It’s the Woirld Cup final and it’s 2-1 to the French.

37 min: Ivan Perisic is penalised for handball and if that was a “clear and obvious error” by the referee, it certainly didn’t look like one to me. Antoine Griezmann waits to take the penalty as Subasic delays proceedings by refusing to get on his goal-line.

PENALTY TO FRANCE!!!
36 min: The ref studies his monitor at great length – then awards the penalty!

33 min: France win a corner, which Griezmann curls into the penalty area. Blaise Matuidi tries to get on the end of it, but doesn’t make decent contact with his head. France’s players claim Ivan Perisic, who was marking Matuidi, handled the ball and it’s going to VAR!!! Referee Nestor Pitana is going pitch-side for a look at his monitor.

30 min: Ivan Perisic has been outsatanding for Croatia in this match and gets the equaliser his team deserves. He drew the foul about 40 yards from the French goal and the ensuing free-kick was very well worked. Modric floated the ball to the far post, where Sime Vrsalko headed it across the penalty area. It dropped for Perisic right on the edge of the box and he bided his time, taking a touch and making space for a shot before unleashing an unstoppable, low, diagonal drive into the bottom right-hand corner with his left foot.

GOAL! France 1-1 Croatia (Perisic 29)

https://twitter.com/FOXSoccer/status/1018518588502634496
It’s level in Moscow! Ivan Perisic blasts the ball past Hugo Lloris with an unbelievable left-footed strike.

28 min: N’Golo Kante gets the first yellow card of this final, for a sly swipe on Perisic, who was advancing towards the France penalty area.

26 min: Croatia wingers Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic switched sides some time ago, to no obvious or positive effect for Croatia.

25 min: With just over a quarter of the game gone, Croatia’s players and supporters must be cursing their luck. They have been completely dominant but somehow find themselves a goal down.

23 min: Domagoj Vida puts a stop to the first Killian Mbappe gallop of note as Blaise Matuidi tries to put the lightning fast teenager through on goal as France counter-attack. That’s a brilliant tackle from the left-back.

GOAL! France 1-0 Croatia (Mandzukic 18og)
France take the lead courtesy of their first shot on goal.

17 min: Antoine Griezmann gets what might well have been his first touch of the game and wins a free-kick on the back of a fairly innocuous challenge by Marcelo Brozovic. It’s about 30 yards from goal, well right of centre.

16 min: Ivan Perisic goes down holding his face following an off-the-ball incident involving him and Lucas Hernandez. Replays show he shipped a completely accidental blow to the face as he tried to spin in behind the defender to make a run on goal. He’s fine to continue and play resumes.

15 min: Ivan Perisic is put into space down the left flank and gallops towards the byline. He’s unable to get a cross into the penalty area towards Modric, as Umtiti gets back to intercept.

13 min: France get the ball out of their own half, only to see it sent back with interest courtesy of a powerful Dejan Lovren header. The French don’t look at the races here at all – Croatia are bossing them completely, but have yet to create a chance of note.

11 min: Ivan Perisic chases a beautifully weighted pass over the top from Ivan Rakitic, but the ball’s shepherded out of play by Umtiti before the Croatian forward can bring it down.

10 min: It’s all Croatia, with France struggling to get out of their own half. “Croatia just look sharper all around the pitch,” says BBC co-commentator Martin Keown. “They all know their roles and responsibilities.”

8 min: A crucial Mbappe block on Ivan Strinic results in a corner for Croatia when France looked under intense pressure. The Croatian midfielder nutmegged Pavard to play in Strinic, who was bearing down on the near post from a tight angle. Mbappe did well to get back to block his cross and nothing comes of the corner.

7 min: Thinking about it, N’Golo Kante is about 18 inches tall – how can his boot be high?

6 min: France enjoy some time on the ball in their own half, yet to get a foothold in this game in the face of tireless Croatia pressing. They concede a throw-in halfway inside the Croatia half and Croatia win a free-kick for a high N’Golo Kante boot on Luka Modric.

3 min: Benjamin Pavard is caught napping on the ball, allowing Ivan Perisic to get forward. He takes on Raphael Varane and tries to beat him with a few step-overs, but the French defender isn’t having any of it.

2 min: The ball’s pinged around the middle third of the field by players from both sides, with Ivan Rakitic and Kylian Mbappe among those to get early touches.

The World Cup final is GO!!!

1 min: Croatia kick off, their players wearing red and white check shirts, white shorts and white socks. The players of France wear navy blue shirts, shorts and socks.

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