France beat Croatia 4-2 to win the World Cup for the second time, with Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba bagging a goal each.
France led 2-1 at halftime after a Mario Mandzukic own goal and an Antoine Griezmann VAR penalty, with Ivan Perisic briefly bringing first-time finalists Croatia level.
Quickfire strikes by Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe midway through the second half put France on course for the title but Mandzukic was gifted a goal by French keeper Hugo Lloris to set up a nervous last 20 minutes.
France, however, withstood a spirited Croatia assault to lift the trophy for the second time, following their success on home soil 20 years ago, with Twitter erupting as soon as the final whistle blew.
Many congratulated France for a solid World Cup campaign in which they rarely put a foot wrong.
🇫🇷 2018 FIFA WORLD CUP WINNERS 🇫🇷
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) July 15, 2018
Congratulations to France for this breathtaking achievement! and what an amazing performance from Croatia ! — Fred Oumar KANOUTÉ (@FredericKanoute) July 15, 2018
The victory brought much joy to the nation, who have had to ensure more than their fair share of near misses, finishing as runners up in 2006 and losing to Portugal on home soil at Euro 2016. The elation was clearly written all overs the players' faces, but by no means was it limited to the 23 man squad.
Twitter had no sympathy for French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, whose bizarre blunder had Frenchmen reaching for their inhalers. I doubt he'll mind too much though, after captaining his side to football's premier trophy!
Paul Pogba emerged as one of the heroes of the night, with his goal effectively winning the match for France. The Frenchman has endured a torrid time at Manchester United, but World Cups are enough to silence even the harshest of critics. Just ask Lionel Messi.
After all the criticism this last year... there is one thing not in doubt about this man... and that’s his CHARACTER. Won the World Cup and played an important role! Congrats @paulpogba #Pogba #WorldCup #France #FRACRO pic.twitter.com/oEHBUa9DnD — Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) July 15, 2018
The football troll's perennial punching bag Olivier Giroud bowed out of the World Cup without scoring a single goal or registering a single shot on target, in spite of the fact that he started several of France's fixtures and had more than his fair share of chances. The Chelsea forward's profligacy was given no quarter by Twitter users, who mocked his profligacy in front of goal.
👏 🎉 Congratulations, if you're reading this, you've had as many shots on target at this #WorldCup as Olivier Giroud... Give yourself a pat on the back. #WorldCupFinal — The Sportsman (@TheSportsman) July 15, 2018
Football fans were quick to note Didier Deschamps' contribution to the squad, with the French manager making several changes to the side and implementing defensive tactics that helped France weather the Croatian attack. The Frenchman also became just the third person ever to win the tournament as both player and manager, behind Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer.
Felicitations to Didier Deschamps. He made some big decisions: leaving Benzema out of the equation, going with extreme youth and two untested backs, keeping confidence in Pogba and favoring cohesion over the stars. Now he (and France) have two of them. — Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) July 15, 2018
History for #FRA manager Didier Deschamps: He becomes the third to win the #WorldCup as both a player and manager https://t.co/j2E7cb2GH2 pic.twitter.com/CeGwnHvBRm — Planet Fútbol (@si_soccer) July 15, 2018
With a talented crop of young players and a World Cup to their name, France will hope to build off their success and establish dominance in international football. This young and ethnically team has gone a long way towards announcing themselves on the global stage, and their success will surely have positive implications on football, France and the world in general.
With inputs from Reuters
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Updated Date: Jul 16, 2018 15:31:15 IST