World Cup Review: World Cup Final; France are champions of the world!

A wild World Cup came to an end with France lifting the Cup! The French add a second title to their names defeating Croatia 4-2. The final had everything, own goals, VAR, and two teams hungry for the Championship. Our Final Russia 2018 World Cup Review takes a look back at the final!

19-year-old Kylian Mbappé Holds the World Cup trophy after France won its second ever World Cup

France: 4 Croatia: 2

As the final kicked off, France looked to take the front foot, while Croatia were committed to stay organized. This meant France dictated the possession, but sacrificed their shape to create attacks. This left them open for a Croatian counter attack. Luckily for France, when Croatia did counter they found no success. The game continued like this until the opening goal.

Antoine Griezmann won a free kick about 25 yards out for France in the 17th minute. Griezmann played the free kick into the box; the ball was flicked on by Croatia’s Mario Mandžukić into his own net to give France the 1-0 lead early on. After the goal, Croatia’s attack came alive.

Some nice build up play in the 27th minute led to a corner. A ball was played into the box, and corralled by Croatia. The ball was played to Ivan Perišić at the top of the box. Perišić side-stepped a defender and riffled a shot into the net to tie the game inside the first 30 minutes!

As the game progressed with a tied score. France continued to push the envelope. France won a corner in the 34th minute. The ball was sent into the box, and grazed the arm of a Croatian player. After much deliberation from the referees and many complaints from the french players, the head referee went to check VAR for a handball in the box.

The replayed showed that the defender was jumping in the box to try to play the ball. After a deflection from a French player, the ball fell to the Croatian defenders arm. After a long look at the monitor, the referee decided to point to the spot to give France the penalty. Antoine Griezmann stepped up and easily slotted the penalty home. The French lead, given by a questionable call, was carried into halftime.

As the second half kicked off, France picked up where they left off. They pushed their numbers forward to push for another goal. Their continued pressure did just that. In the 59th minute France found the ball in the box. Griezmann surrounded by the defenders, dropped the ball back to Paul Pogba for a first time shot. His shot was blocked, but Pogba was first to the second ball. He ripped a second shot that was out of reach of Danijel Subašić! France now held a 3-1 lead. Their youthful prowess made them hungry for even more.

Just six minutes after taking a two goal lead. France mustered another attack. The ball found its way to the foot of Kylian Mbappé outside of the box. He put his laces through the ball hitting a grass-cutter past a diving Subašić. France took a 4-1 lead, and all but finished off Croatia, or so they thought!

Just three minutes after Mbappé’s goal. France tried to out-possess Croatia to run out the clock. A back pass to French keeper Hugo Lloris turned disastrous for France. Lloris was pressured by Croatia’s Mario Mandžukić, and the keepers first touch let him down. The touch was heavy and the ball was right at Mandžukić’s foot. The Croatian striker tapped the ball past France’s keeper into the net. The 4-2 scoreline woke Croatia up, but in the end didn’t do enough to rattle France.

The last 20 minutes Croatia tried to create attacks by breaking their shape and throwing numbers forward. In doing so, the Croatian players showed their fatigue. Having played three straight games at 120 minutes took its toll on Croatia in the last 20 of the World Cup Final.

The final whistle sounded and France were crowned Champions of the World!


Tournament Awards:

With the end of the 2018 tournament, it was time for the tournament’s awards to be given out! Of them, four are the most coveted. They are: best young player, best player, top goalkeeper, and top scorer! Here’s a look at who took home the awards!

Best Young Player:

Kylian Mbappe took home the top young player title at Russia 2018. His pace and attacking skill make him so fun to watch.He joins Pele as the only teenager to score in the World Cup final! The 19-year-old, now World Champion will be a star player for years to come.

Golden Ball:

Luka Modric took home the top player title at Russia 2018. His play helped structure and ground Croatia on their run to the World Cup final. The masterful playmaker deserved the honor; it’ll be a nice consolation prize after coming up short on securing the World Cup title.

Golden Glove:

Thibaut Courtois took home the top keeper title at Russia 2018. The Belgian superstar was the best goalie in all of the tournament. His amazing saves helped keep Belgium in contention in many games. This personal accolade will go nice with the bronze medal he won with Belgium finishing in third place.

Golden Boot:

England’s Harry Kane took home the top scorer title at Russia 2018. The English striker was lethal from the penalty spot and put away chances from set pieces! The Tottenham striker only scored one goal from the run of play, an effort that hit the back of his heel and went in the net. However, that doesn’t matter, Kane still was the top scorer that helped England on their way to fourth place in the tournament!

The Best World Cup Ever?

Many are calling this World Cup the best ever. From the upsets, to the amount of goals scored, this World Cup had it all! Every game was contiguously competitive drawing in even casual sports fans.

Underdogs like England and Croatia made deep runs into the tournament, while established star-studded nations like Germany and Spain struggled. France, the eventual champions, were tied for the second youngest team to compete in the World Cup. Their youth and hunger pushed them to the championship.

The competitive nature of all the games and the unpredictability made this World Cup special! In four years we’ll get another, Qatar 2022. It’ll have a lot to live up to, but it’s something to look forward to!

In Four Years, Qatar 2022!

As the 2018 World Cup came to an end, some major news broke about the next tournament. FIFA released the official Qatar 2022 dates. The next men’s World Cup will be held in the fall/winter months of November and December.

The change from a summer World Cup to a winter one is precautionary as Qatari summer’s are too hot for playing. However, this will force many leagues around the World to either change their schedules or have a month break for the World Cup. We’ll see what leagues decide to do, either way it’ll be very interesting here in the USA. Imagine early morning World Cup matches followed by College Football or NFL action; talk about a sports lovers dream!

Thanks for Following along!

Writing 18 articles reviewing every match of the 2018 World Cup has been a ball for me. I just wanted to say thank you to anyone who read my World Cup Reviews. Whether you have read my work covering the Union, and wanted to see my take on the biggest soccer tournament in the World, or if this was your first time reading my work, thank you!

I’ll be covering all things soccer on Philly Sports Network, so if you liked my World Cup Reviews come back to see what me and our other two soccer writers Jeff and Matt write. We’ll be covering Major League Soccer, and the Philadelphia Union; as well United Soccer league, and Bethlehem Steel. We will also cover international soccer from time to time. Mostly covering the US Men’s Women’s and Youth national teams, but we will also do European updates throughout the upcoming European seasons! So if you’re going through some World Cup Withdraw, we have you covered with all things soccer!

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Peace out Union fans!

Mandatory Credit: Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports