France boss Didier Deschamps makes history with World Cup final victory over Croatia

France boss Didier Deschamps makes history with World Cup final victory over Croatia

France, on the other hand, are one of the genuine powerhouses of football and no strangers to the big occasion.

This was Les Blues’ third final in six World Cups, having landed the big one two decades ago in their own backyard in Paris.

The favourites also had redemption on their minds after Deschamps’s men lost the final of Euro 2016 on home soil to Portugal.

Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic only took charge of his team nine months ago, but found himself just 90 minutes from landing the big one.

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It will probably take him another nine months to work out how his side managed to lose, considering the underdogs dominated for long spells of a game that will live long in the memories of those privileged to watch it.

Both managers named unchanged sides following their semi-final wins, with France sensation Mbappe becoming the third youngest player to ever appear in a final.

But it was rival winger Ivan Perisic who stole the show at both ends in a thumping first half that saw the underdogs pin France back, but still go in trailing 2-1 at the break.

France broke the deadlock against the run of play on 19 minutes when Mario Mandzukic connected with Antoine Griezmann’s dubiously awarded free kick, only to send a glancing header into his own net.

The Juventus ace became the first player to score an own goal in a World Cup final.

But France’s lead lasted just 10 minutes as Croatia continued to batter their opponent’s goal.

REUTERS

Didier Deschamps was once described as nothing more than a ‘water carrier’ by Eric Cantona
The deserved equaliser came after the French defence failed three times to head clear a Luka Modric free kick, and when the loose ball fell to Perisic, he switched it onto his left foot and fired past Hugo Lloris with the aid of a slight deflection to make it 1-1.

The drama was just beginning though.

Five minutes later France were ahead again when referee Nestor Pitana used VAR to award a penalty for handball against Perisic.

In slow motion replays Perisic’s hand did seem to move towards the ball following Blaise Matuidi’s attempted flick on, but part of the problem was that Pitana didn’t see a TV replay at full speed before making his judgement.

Up stepped Griezmann to beat Danijel Subasic with ease from the spot and - phew - it had been the highest scoring first half in a final since 1974.

The mayhem continued, with Lloris denying Ante Rebic with a flying save and Subasic blocking Mbappe at the opposite end before four moronic pitch invaders in suits decided to join in.

The neutral hoped the match wouldn’t be decided by Pitanan’s dubious decision and the fact it wasn’t was down to some fantastic football from France that saw them settle his remarkable contest with two goals in six mad second-half minutes.

REUTERS

France are now one of the genuine powerhouses of football
Samuel Umtiti set Mbappe free with a sublime pass and when the teenage terror combined with Griezmann to set up Paul Pogba, he beat Subasic at the second attempt to make it 3-1.

Things went from bad to worse for Dalic’s men on 65 minutes when Mbappe drilled a low shot into the bottom corner to write his own piece of history and become only the second teenager after Pele to score in a final.

Believe it or not there was time for more drama when four minutes later Lloris’s glaring blunder gifted a goal at the right end for Mandzukic.

But it ended up being too little too late.

The French coronation was complete with Deschamps joining German great Franz Beckenbauer and Brazil legend Mario Zagallo in the World Cup record books.

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