France decisively beat Croatia 4-2 today to win the World Cup in Moscow, a triumph 20 years in the making. The Croatian team battled hard and actually dominated play at times, but France managed to find the holes in the smaller country’s defense and never trailed.
Croatia captain Luka Modric won the Golden Ball, awarded to the best player at the tournament, and assured that his name will be in the debates to come over who is the planet’s best player.
The game had its strange plays. The first France goal appeared to be off a Croatian defender’s head. The second France goal was the first video-reviewed goal in World Cup history.
There was no disputing the next two, though. French stars Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappé scored clean, hard low shots as France put the Cup out of reach, easing to a 4-1 lead before a late Croatian goal on the French goalie’s mistake.
France last won the World Cup when it had home field advantage in 1998, and did so despite a steady rain throughout the game. For Croatia, the second-smallest country to make a World Cup finals, it was a noble loss, as the team battled through three consecutive extra-time games and two penalty shootouts, and was the dominant squad for a lot of the game, even though the scoreboard never reflected that.
French coach Didier Deschamps, a midfielder on the 1998 French champions, became the third man to win the World Cup as a player and head coach.
We’ll have ratings results in the morning on Monday. With Croatian games having been record breakers for Fox over this FIFA tournament, expect those ratings to be big …like France’s win.