France, Croatia set to rehash rivalry in grand finale

It may pale in comparison to his final heroics against Croatia, but only two teenagers have scored two or more goals in a World Cup knockout stage game - Kylian Mbappe and that man again, Pele.

Mandzukic did manage to decrease Croatia's defect as he scored a goal in the 69th minute.

"Congratulations to France, who played extraordinary soccer, on winning the 2018 World Cup", Trump tweeted.

Croatia's cabinet held a session dressed in the soccer team's red-and-white chequered shirts and the most ardent fans scrambled to find flights and tickets to attend the final, 20 years after their team finished third at the 1998 World Cup in France.

France has beaten Croatia 4-2 in the final in Moscow, after benefiting from a penalty and an own goal to lead 2-1 at halftime.

France manager Didier Deschamps shows faith in the same starting line-up that saw them overcome Belgium 1-0 in St Petersburg on Tuesday night.

"I don't talk about referees but let me say this one thing: In a World Cup final, you do not give such a penalty", he said.

France has claimed the trophy against Croatia in the 2018 World Cup championship game.

"Kylian Mbappe is the guy that Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi are handing the crown over to", he said on BBC's coverage of the World Cup final. The Paris St Germain star had his back to goal when the ball came to him but he had the control and awareness to play in Giroud with a superb flick behind.

At an average age of 26 years and one month, France were the second-youngest squad to compete in Russian Federation after only Nigeria, and were led by a teenager in 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe, who was named Best Young Player of the tournament after scoring four goals.

"I hope they've got their cheque book out, saying "whatever it costs, we'll take you".

But the lingering doubt will always be whether they would have been able to see off the classy Croats without the benefit of two controversial decisions. "I learned a lot from that defeat", he said.

  • Rosalie Stanley