Croatia face France on Sunday in an attempt to win their first World Cup while Didier Deschamps’ side are aiming to land their second title two decades on from their triumph on home soil.
France are clear favourites to triumph in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium and will be spurred on by the bitter disappointment of losing the Euro 2016 final to Portugal in Paris.
It is a final few people anticipated when football’s global showpiece kicked off four weeks ago.
July 15, 2018
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90+6′ The referee blows the final whistle and France are the world champions.
81′ Dejan Lovren crosses the ball into a danger area of France but Samuel Umtiti relieves the pressure with a clearance.
Olivier Giroud and Ivan Strinic are leaving the field to be replaced by Nabil Fekir and Marko Pjaca in a tactical substitution.
72′ Mario Mandzukic commits a foul by elbowing Samuel Umtiti. The referee pauses the game because there is a player lying on the pitch.
Blaise Matuidi leaves the field to be replaced by Corentin Tolisso in a tactical substitution.
69′ G O O O A A A L
Olivier Giroud passes the ball in the box but it’s intercepted by an opponent player. Hugo Lloris could cost his team a goal after a defensive blunder.
Mario Mandzukic delivers it into France’s net to increase Croatia’s hopes.
65′ G O O O A A A L
A shot by Ante Rebic is blocked but Kylian Mbappe beats the Croatian keeper from outside the box!
It’s France 4-1 Croatia with 40% – 60% ball possession respectively.
59′ G O O O A A A L
Antoine Griezmann passes the ball to a teammate and a shot by Paul Pogba is blocked.
Pogba finally scores from outside the box to extend France’s lead. Ball possession is France 39% – 61% Croatia.
48′ Luka Modric swings in the corner from the right while Dejan Lovren from Croatia heads the ball to a teammate.
Ante Rebic from Croatia had a bad first touch and fails to benefit from the cross.
46′ Second half is ongoing.
45+4′ It’s over! The referee blows for half time. Ball possession is France 40% – 60% Croatia.
45+3′ Croatia’s Sime Vrsaljko crosses the ball but his teammate arrives a little late and can’t benefit from it. Ivan Strinic from Croatia goes a bit too far and pulls down Kylian Mbappe.
38′ G O O O A A A L
Antoine Griezmann from France puts it away from the penalty spot! Scoreline is now France 2-1 Croatia with ball possession of 40% and 60% respectively.
34′ The referee has stopped the game and is going to watch a video review for a situation. After reviewing the situation the referee decides to award a penalty for France.
29′ G O O O O A A A L
Domagoj Vida of Croatia passes the ball to Luka Modric who crosses the ball into the box from the free kick.
Sime Vrsaljko from Croatia heads the ball to Ivan Perisic who makes a brilliant delivery to level the scoreline for Croatia
27′ The referee signals a free kick as N’Golo Kante from France trips Ivan Perisic as he sees no other way than stopping the counter and receives a yellow card.
Antoine Griezmann crosses the ball into the box from the free kick but Mario Mandzukic sends the ball into his own net!
17′ Kylian Mbappe from France passes the ball in the box, but it’s intercepted by an opponent player.
The referee signals a free kick as Marcelo Brozovic from Croatia trips Antoine Griezmann.
8′ Ivan Strinic from Croatia directs a ball squarely in the box, but it’s intercepted by a French player.
Croatia Captain Luka Modric from swings in the corner from the left while Olivier Giroud relieves the pressure on France with a clearance.
3′ Ivan Perisic takes the ball forward to make something happen for Croatia but Samuel Umtiti from France clears the danger with a good tackle.
1′ Referee blows the kick-off whistle, the match is underway.
France and Croatia go into the World Cup final with the same starting line-ups as in their semi-final wins over Belgium and England respectively.
Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann support Olivier Giroud in the attack in France’s 4-2-3-1 formation, while Ivan Perisic and Ivan Strinic, who had been pre-match injury doubts, have been passed fit for Croatia.
Perisic was the star of Croatia’s 2-1 extra-time victory over England at the same Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday, scoring his country’s equaliser and then setting up the winner for Mario Mandzukic.
On the other hand, France beat Belgium 1-0 in the semi-final with a Samuel Umtiti goal in the second half.
Starting line-ups for the World Cup final between France and Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday (1500 GMT kick-off):
Hugo Lloris (capt); Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez; Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante; Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Blaise Matuidi; Olivier Giroud
Coach: Didier Deschamps (FRA)
Danijel Subasic; Sime Vrsaljko, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic; Luka Modric (capt), Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Rakitic; Ante Rebic, Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Perisic
Coach: Zlatko Dalic (CRO)
Referee: Nestor Pitana (ARG)
Croatia have brought joy to their Balkan nation of just four million people by defying the odds to progress to the final while reigning champions Germany, then Argentina and Brazil all fell by the wayside in Russia.
They have been inspired by mercurial midfielder Luka Modric while coach Zlatko Dalic, who only took over last year with the squad in chaos, has coaxed remarkable performances from his team.
Deschamps, who captained France when they lifted the World Cup in 1998, would become only the third man to win the trophy as both a player and a manager after Franz Beckenbauer and Mario Zagallo.
His France side, spearheaded by 19-year-old forward Kylian Mbappe and the more seasoned Antoine Griezmann, are the favourites.
Paul Pogba has finally become a leader in midfield for France and N’Golo Kante has excelled in doing the tireless work that allows his teammates to shine, while Samuel Umtiti and Raphael Varane are the nuclei of a solid defence.
Les Bleus laboured through their group, beating Australia and Peru by the odd goal and drawing with Denmark in the only goalless game of the tournament.
Then they hit form, sweeping aside Argentina in a match which announced to the world that Mbappe is set to be an international superstar as he scored twice and outshone Lionel Messi.
But apart from that 4-3 win, France have played like a Deschamps side, with the emphasis on defence.