News Matches

France v Croatia Live Commentary, 15/7/18

4 - 2
M. Mandžukić (18 og)
A. Griezmann (38 pen)
P. Pogba (59)
K. Mbappé (65)
I. Perišić (28)
M. Mandžukić (69)
Stadion Luzhniki


Thanks for joining our commentary this afternoon and throughout the tournament. Goodbye.
Croatia put forward a fine performance in the final, matching their efforts from throughout the tournament. They did not have the quality of Les Bleus in the final third and that proved to be their downfall. Zlatko Dalic's men battled to the very end and can be proud of their efforts to record their best display at a World Cup, although it ultimately ended in disappointment.
Hugo Lloris may have sent hearts racing when he allowed Mandzukic to bring Croatia within two goals in the second half. However, when under pressure, Les Bleus talented backline came to the fore to hold them at bay. They were able to see out the result with relative ease in the closing stages to win the competition for the first time since 1998.
France win the World Cup for the second time in their history. Didier Deschamps becomes only the third man to win the tournament as a player and a manager. His side put on a clinic in the second half to take the game away from Croatia. If Les Bleus were fortunate to take the lead through a Mario Mandzukic own goal and a penalty from Antoine Griezmann in the first half. Their two goals in the second period were deserved as Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe fired home from distance, which proved to be decisive in securing the crown.
90' + 5' Lloris takes a claim from Perisic's cross into the box. That should be it.
90' + 3' CHANCE! Pogba latches on to a loose ball in the box, but he misses the connection with his strike. He could have had a second goal in the final.
Š. Vrsaljko
Yellow Card
90' + 2' Vrsaljko goes into the book for his challenge on Griezmann.
90' + 2' Vrsaljko takes out Griezmann on the charge and the resulting free-kick will give Les Bleus further time to take off the clock.
90' + 1' Croatia give the ball away and it falls to Mbappe, who releases the run of Pogba. He tries to go for the strike, but he loses possession in the box.
90' There will be five minutes of added time. France are almost there.
89' OVER! Croatia work the ball down the left flank and Kramaric rolls the ball back to Rakitic. He goes for the strike, but he sends it harmlessly over the bar.
87' Fekir goes for goal from distance, only to fire his effort straight at Subasic. He opted not to take the ball into corner and waste time, which could be interesting should Croatia get a goal back.
85' Vrsaljko and Pjaca combine down the right flank, but there's just one intricate pass too many from the former, which stops the attack.
83' Rakitic is prevented from taking a free-kick quickly as the referee brings back play after Perisic was released down the left flank.
82' Pjaca almost breaks behind the France backline to latch on to Modric's ball over the top, but he cannot control it and it heads out for a goal-kick.
N. Fekir
O. Giroud
81' Fekir replaces Giroud to put another body into the France midfield.
M. Pjaca
I. Strinić
81' Strinic makes way for Pjaca as Dalic throws another attacker into the mix.
80' Croatia recycle possession on the edge of the box, but the wall of blue shirts hold firm to keep them at bay. It's going to be a tense finish at the Luzhniki Stadium.
79' The unnecessary mistake from Lloris has put his team under pressure in the closing stages. The control Les Bleus once had in the second half is gone. They'll have to be resilient at the back to see this one out.
77' WIDE! Modric lifts a cross to the back post for Mandzukic. Umtiti directs it away, but only as far as Kramaric. He works the ball back towards Rakitic on the edge. The Barcelona midfielder pulls the trigger on a strike that just drifts inches past the post.
75' WIDE! Croatia send crosses into the box that are well cleared by Umtiti and Varane. Vrsaljko takes possession and his eyes light up from distance, only to pull his effort well wide of the post.
74' France remain in command, despite Lloris' howler. However, this World Cup has been anything but predictable.
C. Tolisso
B. Matuidi
73' More fresh legs for France as Tolisso enters the action to replace Matuidi.
A. Kramarić
A. Rebić
71' Rebic is withdrawn for Kramaric as Dalic sends fresh reinforcements on to the pitch.
M. Mandžukić
69' GOALLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!! WHAT IS LLORIS DOING??? MANDZUKIC SCORES!! 4-2!!!! The crazy theme of the game continues as Lloris attempts to play out from the back on his own goalline. He takes too long to pass the ball to Umtiti and allows Mandzukic to make the closing interception, steering the ball into the net. Lloris has given Croatia hope here. He will be hopeful that does not cost his side.
67' France just need to see this game out here. They're in complete command and will be in the hunt for further goals.
L. Hernández
65' Hernandez raids down the left and slides a pass to Mbappe before the forward does the rest.
K. Mbappé
65' GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!! MBAPPE PUTS FRANCE ON THE BRINK!!! 4-1!!!! Mbappe surely puts the game out of Croatia's reach. He takes Hernandez's offload from the left flank and controls it in the middle of the park. From 25 yards he lets fly with a low strike that Vida fails to block and it moves past Subasic before the keeper can get down. France are on their way to lifting the World Cup.
63' Croatia have to regain their composure here. France have made the decisive breakthrough in the second half and can now afford to sit back and break on the counter.
61' France open up Croatia at the back once again and only a late intervention from Brozovic stops a strike from Griezmann from working its way towards the top corner.
P. Pogba
59' GOALLLLLLLLLL!!!! POGBA BLASTS HOME!!!! FRANCE 3-1!!!! Pogba has a World Cup moment as he hands France a two-goal cushion in the final. Mbappe's break down the right flank stretched the Croatia defence. A low ball into the box was worked back towards Pogba via a deflection. His effort was blocked by Vida, but it rebounded back towards the Manchester United midfielder. With his second drive on his left foot, he found the top corner. The France bench erupts. They're closing in now.
57' Croatia are putting France under immense pressure at the back. Les Bleus are holding firm and have the pace of Mbappe to ease the strain on the counter.
S. Nzonzi
N. Kanté
55' N'Zonzi comes on to the field to replace Kante, who has been strangely off the pace in the contest. He was on a booking and that may have also entered into Deschamps' decision to remove the midfielder from the action.
54' Perisic angles a cross to the back post looking for the run of Mandzukic in the middle. Lloris misses the ball, but it travels out for a goal-kick.
53' SAVE! Mbappe has his first surge of the half as he breaks past the challenge of Vida. He goes for the low strike from a tight angle, only to fire his effort into the legs of Subasic.
52' For the first time in the tournament there's a stoppage due to a pitch invasion. The four people are quickly removed by the stewards, allowing the action to resume.
50' Varane loses out to Mandzukic on the left flank, although the forward cannot compelte the offload to Rebic in behind him.
49' Varane has to make a vital intervention to prevent Perisic breaking behind just getting there ahead of the winger before Lloris sprints off his line to complete the clearance. Croatia have come out firing in the second half.
48' SAVE! Rebic latches on to Modric's offload in the box and he goes for the strike from the left inside channel. Rebic's effort travels towards the top corner, only to be denied by a sharp save from Lloris. The France captain had to make that stop.
47' Giroud works the ball into the feet of Griezmann on the edge of the box, but his strike is straight at Subasic.
46' Vrsaljko raids down the right flank in the early stages, but his low cross is gathered ahead of Perisic by Lloris.
46' We're back underway at the Luzhniki Stadium. The only team to win a World Cup final having been trailing at half-time was Uruguay against Argentina, in the first ever showpiece in 1930.
Croatia have been the better side from open play, but have been caught out at the back by two set-pieces. The debate will rage whether Perisic's handball should have been a penalty. However, it's irrelevant now as France are 45 minutes away from lifting the trophy for a second time. Zlatko Dalic's men will have confidence that they can respond, but the second half will be a true test of their character and quality under the biggest pressure.
France hold a 2-1 lead at half-time in the World Cup final over Croatia, despite being far from their best. Les Bleus' two goals have come from set-pieces as Mario Mandzukic became the first player to score an own goal in the World Cup final. Ivan Perisic brought Croatia level with a crisp strike on his left foot. However, he was then the villian as Griezmann's corner struck his hand and after a VAR review, the referee pointed to the spot. Griezmann duly converted to put France back in front at the break.
45' + 3' Vrsaljko swings a dangerous delivery into the box from the right flank. Perisic makes a late run, like his effort against England. On this occasion he cannot make contact with an outstretched leg as the ball drifts across the face of goal.
45' + 2' Mandzukic attempts to chest the ball on for Rebic's run following a cross-field pass from Strinic. However, the two players are not on the same page, allowing Lloris to collect.
45' There will be three minutes of added time.
45' WIDE! Rakitic swings the ball into the box and Vida rises to head at goal, but he fails to direct his effort on target.
44' Croatia pressure the France defence and it results in Umtiti being forced off the pitch as he collides with Mandzukic. He appears to be ok to continue, although Dalic's men have a corner to threaten from.
43' BLOCK! Pogba has to make a vital block in the box to deny Lovren on the half-volley after France failed to clear a cross into the box. The Liverpool defender's effort appeared to be on target, making the block imperative for Pogba.
42' This is the first World Cup final to see as many as three goals before half-time since 1974 (West Germany 2-1 Netherlands).
L. Hernández
Yellow Card
41' Hernandez slides in hard on Rebic down the right flank and goes into the book.
40' Mbappe raids down the right flank and sends a dangerous low cross towards the near post. Vida misses his attempt clearance, but Brozovic is on hand to mop up the danger.
A. Griezmann
Penalty Goal
38' GOALLLLLLLLLLL!!!! GRIEZMANN CONVERTS!!! 2-1!!! The forward holds his nerve from 12 yards as he slots his effort into the bottom corner with ease, sending Subasic the wrong way. Griezmann had a while to compose himself and he had no issue finding the net, allowing his side to regain the lead.
36' PENALTY TO FRANCE!! VAR OVERTURN!! Perisic's arm was not in a natural position as the ball struck his hand. The referee has taken his time to make the decision and he points to the spot.
35' VAR! The ball appears to strike Perisic on the arm after Matuidi's miscued header. The referee has been advised to have a second look at the incident.
34' CHANCE! Griezmann puts the ball on the spot towards the near post and Matuidi rises to head goal. However, he misses the ball before it travels wide for a goal-kick.
33' France win a corner on the right flank and Griezmann will deliver the ball into the box on his left foot.
31' Perisic has now been involved in 11 goals at major tournaments (seven goals, four assists), more than any other Croatian player.
30' It's a deserved equaliser for Croatia, who have been by far the better side in the match. Their resilience has come to the fore once again.
D. Vida
28' Vida works the ball towards Perisic, who picks his spot to bring his team level.
I. Perišić
28' GOALLLLLLLLLL!!!! PERISIC BLASTS CROATIA LEVEL!!!! 1-1!!! A super strike from Perisic levels the World Cup final. France failed to clear the danger from the resulting free-kick as Mandzukic then Vida knocked the ball towards the winger. He took time and space to pick his spot on his left foot before drilling his effort past Lloris. A special effort from Perisic. Game on.
N. Kanté
Yellow Card
27' Kante is booked for his foul on Perisic.
27' Perisic charges at the France backline and his surge forces a mistake from Kante, who trips the Croatia winger 35 yards from goal.
25' Mandzukic is the first player to score an own goal in a World Cup final.
24' Referee Nestor Pitana draws the ire of France as he plays advantage for a foul then allows Croatia to play on in the final third. Rakitic collects an offload and blasts a left-footed volley over the bar. Les Bleus would have been furious if that had nestled into the back of the net.
23' Mbappe almost breaks away down the right flank as he collects Pogba's offload. Vida reads the danger and gets across to make the sliding challenge. A vital tackle from the Croatia defender.
21' OVER! Modric whips his delivery towards the near post where Vida rises highest to head towards goal, only to glance his effort well over the bar.
20' Modric is tripped on the right flank by Kante and he wins a free-kick.
20' The goal comes against the run of play and not for the first time in the knockout phase Croatia will have to come from behind.
19' The team scoring first have won eight of the last nine World Cup finals, with the exception being France in 2006.
M. Mandžukić
Own Goal
18' GOALLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!! MANDZUKIC HEADS THE BALL INTO HIS OWN NET!!! FRANCE 1-0!!! A nightmare for Mandzukic as he guides the ball into the top corner from Griezmann's free-kick, handing France the lead. Griezmann's delivery was on the money as he curled his cross towards the back post. Croatia had a deep defensive line and Mandzukic's attempted header glanced the top of his head before flying past Subasic into the net.
18' Griezmann goes down under the challenge of Brozovic and it hands France a free-kick in a dangerous position.
18' Mbappe has his first charge of the game in the right inside channel, but his low cross is cleared away by Vida in the six-yard box.
17' Giroud battles with three Croatia players in the final third, and although he loses the ball initially, he works back to retake possession. Excellent graft from the Chelsea forward.
15' Perisic raids into acres of space down the left and he has options in the box. However, he fails to pick out Mandzukic as Umtiti does brilliantly to get back to make the closing challenge.
13' France need to take stock and figure a plan to get their key men into the game. Griezmann and Mbappe have barely touched the ball in the early stages of the contest.
11' Perisic drifts in behind Pavard in the left inside channel as he attempts to control Strinic's lofted pass. He gets a boot on the ball, although not enough to take possession.
11' Croatia have come out firing this afternoon, and are working the ball well in the France half.
10' Modric plays Strinic into space down the left and he works the ball back towards Perisic. However, the winger miscues his offload into the feet of Mandzukic, allowing France to clear.
9' France clear the first cross into the box from the corner. Croatia take their time before recycling possession for a second attempt. Vrsaljko's cross is dangerous towards Perisic, but Pavard does well to head clear ahead of the winger at the back post.
8' Rakitic releases Strinic into the box and he almost has room to fire a low ball across the face of goal. It's Mbappe of all people to get back to make the challenge, diverting the ball out for a corner.
8' Strinic makes a run at Pogba down the left flank and the midfielder has to send the ball into touch.
7' Croatia have made a bright start to the game and are applying pressure to Les Bleus. However, France have been rock solid at the back for the last two matches.
5' Rebic releases Vrsaljko down the right flank and he sends a cross towards Mandzukic in the middle, only to be denied by a strong header away by Umtiti.
4' Perisic makes an interception on the left flank and he surges at the France backline. Varane holds him at bay in the left inside channel before Umtiti hammers the ball into touch.
3' Modric's attempts to provide pressure on the France backline result in another free-kick to Les Bleus this time for a foul on Hernandez.
2' Modric catches Umtiti late as he tries to close down the France defender on the edge of the box.
1' We're underway in the World Cup final.
Here come the two teams at the Luzhniki Stadium.
Philipp Lahm has brought the World Cup trophy out into the middle. Lloris or Modric will be lifting that trophy come the end of proceedings today. Who will it be?
Two of France and Croatia’s five meetings have been at major tournaments. France won 2-1 against Croatia in the semi-final of the 1998 World Cup – with Didier Deschamps playing the full match – while their meeting at Euro 2004 ended in a 2-2 draw in the group stage.
France and Croatia have faced five times previously, with France winning three of those games (in 1998, 1999 and 2000) and the other two games ending as draws (2004 and 2011).
Croatia are also unchanged from their win over England. There were a number of standout performances in the contest, notably from Modric, Mandzukic and Perisic. However, Rebic and Vrsaljko were equally impressive, while Lovren had his moments at the back along with the key stop from Subasic. Dalic's men have played above expectations throughout the tournament and will need to raise the level of their game this afternoon. Penny for the thoughts of Nikola Kalinic, who was sent home after refusing to play as a substitute in the Nigeria match.
France are unchanged from the side that beat Belgium in the last four of the competition. The back four has been one of the surprising elements of France's success. Varane and Umtiti's pedigree was well noted before the tournament and both players have been a rock, especially in the last two matches. However, the peformances of Hernandez and Pavard has been brilliant thus far. Energy has come in abudnance in the midfield, while the forward line has had grit and craft from Giroud and Griezmann. However, the superstar has been Mbappe. The 19-year-old could send out a statement for the years to come with a dominant display to win his team a World Cup.
Croatia subs: Dominik Livakovic, Vedran Corluka, Mateo Kovacic, Andrej Kramaric, Lovre Kalinic, Tin Jedvaj, Filip Bradaric, Duje Caleta-Car, Milan Badelj, Marko Pjaca, Josip Pivaric.
CROATIA (4-2-3-1): Danijel Subasic; Sime Vrsaljko, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic; Ivan Rakitic, Marcelo Brozovic; Ante Rebic, Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic; Mario Mandzukic.
France subs: Prensel Kimpembe, Thomas Lemar, Ousmane Dembele, Corentin Tolisso, Steven N'Zonzi, Steve Mandanda, Adil Rami, Nabil Fekir, Djibril Sidibe, Florian Thauvin, Benjamin Mendy, Alphonse Areola.
FRANCE (4-2-3-1): Hugo Lloris; Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez; N'Golo Kante, Paul Pogba; Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Blaise Matuidi; Olivier Giroud.
Let's take a look at the two teams this afternoon, starting with France.
England rocked Dalic's men as Kieran Trippier put the Three Lions in front in the fifth minute. Danijel Subasic's save to deny Harry Kane paved the way for his side to fight back in the second half through Ivan Perisic. When it looked as though Croatia were heading to the spot for a third time on the bounce Mandzukic came to the fore to decide the contest. Croatia now have a chance at history by winning one final game to lift the World Cup.
Then came the onslaught of the knockout stage. An early goal from Mathias Jorgensen would have sent pulses racing before Mario Mandzukic equalised three minutes later. The match went to penalties after Luka Modric missed a spot-kick in extra-time that would have sealed the game. However, his blushes were spared as Ivan Rakitic sent Croatia through to the quarter-finals. Russia proved to be just as stubborn as Denmark as Denis Cheryshev put the host nation ahead. Andrej Kramaric equalised, but extra-time once again beckoned. Domagoj Vida put Croatia in front, only for Mario Fernandes to equalise. Penalties were again needed to decide the contest and Rakitic was there to seal a last-four berth.
Croatia's World Cup began with a routine win over Nigeria before they put on arguably the performance of the tournament to date with a dismantling of Argentina in a 3-0. The result secured their place in the knockout stage, but they ended their group campaign on a high note with another win over Iceland.
Mbappe took centre stage in the round of 16 against Argentina. Les Bleus were put on the back foot in the second half as a Gabriel Mercado goal put Argentina ahead. However, Benjamin Pavard's equaliser paved the way for Mbappe to take the game away from Lionel Messi and his side to secure a quarter-final berth. Their contest against Uruguay was controlled as goals from Raphael Varane and Griezmann sent through. There was little between Belgium and Deschamps' men in the last four. Les Bleus were forced to absorb pressure before Samuel Umtiti's header proved to be the decisive factor to secure their place in the final for a third time.
France's run to the final began in their opener against Australia. They were underwhelming for the majority of the match, needing a penalty from Antoine Griezmann and a late strike from Paul Pogba to see them past the Socceroos. A Kylian Mbappe strike secured their place in the knockout stage before they played arguably the worst match of the tournament against Denmark in a goalless draw.
Given that Croatia claimed their independence in 1991, the rise of their football team has been meteoric. They finished in third place in 1998 when they were defeated by France in the semi-finals as two goals from Lillian Thuram put the host nation through. However, Davor Suker and company beat the Netherlands to at least end their tournament on a high note. The run of Dalic's men has been historic for Croatia and they will be desperate to end it with their first world title.
Didier Deschamps could become the third man to win the World Cup as a player and a manager following in the footsteps of Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer. Deschamps was the captain of France's triumphant team on home soil in 1998 as he and his team-mates overcame Brazil with relative ease in the final. He will be praying for a similar outcome in Russia.
After a month of action, the World Cup comes down to a contest between France and Croatia. Les Bleus will be looking to secure the crown for the second time in their history, having previously lifted the trophy in 1998. Zlatko Dalic's men will be aiming to make history by winning the World Cup for the first time in the history of their nation.
Hello and welcome to this live text commentary of the World Cup final between France and Croatia in Russia.