MOSCOW (Reuters) – France won the World Cup for the second time in spectacular style on Sunday as a 4-2 victory in one of the most entertaining and action-packed finals for decades ended battling outsiders Croatia’s dreams of a first title.
After an early own goal by Mario Mandzukic, France’s big guns delivered on the biggest stage of all as Antoine Griezmann – with a penalty awarded after a VAR review – Paul Pogba and teenage tyro Kylian Mbappe all hit the target.
Ivan Perisic and Mandzukic replied for Croatia, who ended beaten but unbowed after making much of the running in their first appearance in the final.
It was the highest-scoring decider since England beat West Germany 4-2 after extra-time in 1966 and the highest in normal time since Brazil defeated Sweden 5-2 60 years ago.
There were as many goals in 90-action-packed Moscow minutes as in the last four finals combined, and three of those went to extra time.
The game featured the first final own goal and the first VAR-decided spot-kick — one that Croatia were furious about and that was arguably the turning point of the game.
But the only statistic France will really care about is that the result makes them world champions for the second time following their triumph on home soil in 1998.
Having lost the 2006 final on penalties to Italy, it also meant there was no repeat of two years ago when they were beaten in the European Championship final by Portugal in Paris.