2018 FIFA World Cup: 3 major takeaways from the Final
The 2018 FIFA World Cup final played at the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow was a thriller encounter between two best teams at the World Cup so far. It was an enthralling match which kept the spectators at the edge of their seats and proved to be a fitting climax for a World Cup full of surprises.
Croatia dominated possession in the entire game, won the midfield battle against France but were unable to penetrate the strong French defense consisting of Umtiti and Varane effectively. Rakitic, Modric, and Perisic looked threatening and their pace, dribbling skills and passing abilities kept this match alive for Croatia.
France, on the other hand, defended well and played counter-attacking football by using Giroud to shield the ball from the Croatian defense and Mbappe and Griezmann to run behind them.
France came out strong in the second-half and were determined to seal the 2nd World Cup victory after 1998. In spite of not keeping as much of the ball as Croatia, extremely pinpoint accurate finishing of Pogba and Mbappe gave France a comfortable lead of 4-1.
A goal-keeping howler from Hugo Lloris in the 69th minute allowed Mandzukic to score and give some hope and encouragement for Croatia to achieve the impossible of beating France in those circumstances. In the end, the task of overcoming France proved to be too much for Croatia and hence were beaten 4-2 in the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Croatia should be proud of their performance which has earned them respect from all over the World. Having won the silver medal, Luka Modric was also awarded the prestigious Golden Ball award.
France, on the other hand, should celebrate this monumental victory. Let us look at the 3 major takeaways from the final:
#3 VAR played its part in the first half
The final between Croatia and France started at a high tempo. Croatia dominated the opening proceedings of the game, were adventurous in attack and kept possession efficiently. France, on the other hand, defended deep and looked to counter-attack with the tormenting pace of Mbappe and Griezmann. France opened the scoring in the 18th minute when a wonderful free-kick from Griezmann was headed into his own net by Mandzukic.
Croatia equalized in the 28th minute with a superb left-foot shot by Perisic from a corner. With the game heading for a draw in the first-half, a French corner hit the hand of Perisic, which at first wasn't given by the referee. He checked the VAR and came to the conclusion that Perisic had handled the ball deliberately and hence the referee overturned his decision and awarded a penalty to France.
Griezmann hit the penalty with perfection and gave a 2-1 lead to France at half-time.