20 years ago France and Croatia met at the semi-final of the France ’98 World Cup where Lilian Thuram’s brace cancelled out Davor Suker’s 46th minute goal to hand the French National team a 2-1 win and a final berth on home soil. France went on win the World Cup that year, it was their first title.
After the France ’98 success the best the French team had done was bag a runner-up medal when Germany hosted the 2006 edition. Croatia however have not had it too good at the World Cup since their ’98 feat. They did not get past the group stage in 2002 (South Korea/Japan), 2006 (Germany) and did not qualify in 2010 (South Africa). They also dropped out in the 1st round in 2014 (Brazil). This present Croatian team have gone a step further from the heroics of the class of 1998 by making it to the final with a spirited and dogged display, scaling through each knock out round after extra time.
I was going with France for this one though I would have loved that it was England in the final with them and not Croatia. Croatia seemed to be the better side but if there’s anything football has taught me, beautiful football does not win you trophies, you can ask Arsenal fans. A Mario Mandzukic own goal in the 18th minute gave France the lead then Ivan Perisic leveled scores for Croatia 10 minutes later. Perisic went from hero to zero after he handled the ball in the Croatian box to hand France a penalty. Antoine Griezmann took the spot kick to make scores 2-1. A controversial call it seemed to a number of people but to me it was a handball.
France went into the break with a 2-1 lead.
Paul Pogba extended France’s lead in the 59th minute before Kylian Mbappe added to the goals to make scores 4-1. Mandzukic’s goal in the 69th minute gave Croatia a glimmer of hope but hope was all they could get as the French held on to win 4-2 and eventually win their second World Cup and their first on foreign soil. England are not a good side but they would not have conceded 4 goals in this final. I console myself.
France join Brazil (5), Italy (4), Germany (4), Uruguay (2) and Argentina (2) on the list of multiple World Cup Winners.
I didn’t think Luka Modric was player of the tournament but Kylian Mbappe definitely was the best young player of the tourney and you cannot give someone who scored less goals than Harry Kane the golden boot, at least something finally went HOME. Thibaut Courtois was given the golden gloves for keeping 3 clean sheets, well he kept a clean sheet against Panama but England concedes a goal against Panama and they are regarded horrible.
France’s coach Didier Deschamps joins Mario Zagallo of Brazil and Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer on the list of the players and coaches to have won the World Cup. He was the captain when France won it 20 years ago on home soil.
I am not even going to talk about UMBRELLA drama.
To something that gives me joy personally, a MANCHESTER UNITED player scored in a World Cup final and also lifted the trophy before those Arsenal fans come and chant Fabregas gave the assist that led to Iniesta’s winning goal for Spain in 2010.
Congrats Paul Pogba a.k.a Uncle P a.k.a Agent P.
All the 4 teams I supported had something to cheer about. Nigeria won the fashionista prize, Neymar Junior went viral with his antics which is safe to say Brazil benefited from it, Harry Kane won the Golden boot and the boot would obviously reside in England and France were deserved World Champions.
Au revoir to the World Cup as we await the next one and the first ever winter World Cup tournament which takes place in Qatar in 2022. It would hold between 21st of November, 2022 till December 18, 2022.
Thanks for your time guys, have a fab week ahead. BLESS!!!
Feature Image: Edvinng