The 2018 World Cup in Russia has finally drawn to a close in spectacular fashion with France being crowned World Champions after a 4-2 win over Croatia. Not only will France Replica Football Shirts be in demand after the French won their 2nd World Cup, but plenty of people will want to purchase a Croatia kit too!
Quick Recap of the 3rd Place Play off
Don’t want to focus too much on this match as hardly anyone seems that interested in this playoff match to see who will come 3rd and win the bronze medals. I personally take no interest in it, although I did watch it since I support England and it would have been nice to end strong.
However, Belgium were far superior in this match and after just 4 minutes Thomas Meunier opened the scoring after England were found wanting in defence. The match was dominated by Belgium throughout although England did show promise, mainly from set pieces.
A slight improvement in the 2nd half from England, but in truth, I could only see Belgium furthering their lead, and in the 82nd minute they did just that through the outstanding Eden Hazard. Hazard was found by Kevin De Bruyne and easily slotted passed Pickford to wrap up a comfortable 2-0 victory and claim bronze medals, not to mention Belgiums best ever World Cup finish.
Well done to both Belgium and England who had great World Cup campaigns!
France v Croatia – World Cup Final!
Croatia, who were in their 1st ever World Cup Final against France playing in their 3rd World Cup Final was an intriguing affair. Most expected France to win this comfortably and although the scoreline suggests this happened, the match told a very different story.
From the get go, Croatia were on the front foot and looked like the team who would strike first. If they had then I feel this match may have turned out completely different.
However, France on a rare attack were awarded an extremely soft free kick, which I personally did not feel was justified. From Griezmann’s delivery, the unfortunatel Mandzukic flicked the ball past his own keeper, subasic to give France an ill deserved lead 1-0.
Credit due to Croatia though who showed steely determination in fighting back just 10 minutes later when Perisic latched on to a ball on the edge of the box and evaded Kante, before hammering the shot past Lloris who had no chance.
What followed 10 minutes later in the 38th minute was yet another contentious decision. This time it was from a France corner and the ball struck Perisic’s hand, though clearly he knew nothing about it and it was one of those unfortunate situations. Originally, it looked like the referee had awarded a corner, but he then ended up looking at replays via VAR and awarding a penalty to France which seemed extremely harsh on Croatia. Griezmann took the penalty and made no mistake.
To be going in at half time 2-1 down having had 2 potentially poor decisions go against Croatia from which France scored both times, and having outplayed France was a sure indicator that it just wasn’t their day.
2nd Half – France Run Riot!
Even at Half Time, the pundits on BBC 1, Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Jurgen Klinnsman were all saying how they expected Croatia to come out and strike back. I did too and the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half was a Croatia onslaught, but France were more organised than in the First Hal, and there appeared to be no way through for Croatia.
Plus there was the threat of France on the counter attack with the likes of Mbappe, Pogba and Griezmann seemingly in the mood for no prisoners. Indeed, in the 59th minute, Pogba found Mbappe with one of the passes of the tournament, who in turn found Griezmann. The ball was then played towards Pogb who had 2 strikes of the cherry, successfully converting the 2nd attempt with a wonderful guided shot passed Subasic who seemed to be unsighted.
This goal rocked Croatia back and suddenly France had that extra yard in them that seemed to be lacking in the match up to that point. Just 6 minutes later, France all but sealed it with a wonderful strike from 25 yards out by Mbappe, who at just 19 years old becomes one of the youngest players to ever score in a World Cup Final. For a 19-year old, it is unbelievable how mature Mbappe is, and there is no reason why he can’t go on to become one of the best players in the world.
Croatia did strike back a consolation from a crazy Lloris howler similar to Karius’s blunder in the Champions League Final. Only, rather than throw it to the opposition player like Karius did, Lloris tried some trickery with his feet and got it all wrong laying it into the path of Mandzukic on his 6 yard line who gratefully excepted the gift. Credit to Mandzukic for chasing Lloris down which was endemic of Croatia’s never say die attitude, and now the arrears were reduced to 4-2.
Unfortunately for Croatia, there was to be no miracle comeback beyond that and France to their credit had been much better in the 2nd half attacking with purpose when on the counter attack and defending much more resolutely than in the 1st half.
Congratulations to France for winning their 2nd World Cup and to Deschamps the manager who won the famous trophy as a player and now as a manager – a wonderful achievement and something only achieved by Mario Zagallo with Brazil and Franz Beckenbauer with Germany. France also become only the 6th team to have won the famous trophy more than once. Brazil leads the way with 5, followed by Germany and Italy with 4, then Uruguay and Argentina with 2. The other winners include England and Spain who have both won it once. This was World Cup number 21!