The world cup football 2018 has come to an end and France has turned out victorious. They beat

Croatia by 4 goals to 2 in the final on 15th July at Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia.

France took the lead via own goal from Mario Mandzukic in 18th minute but Ivan Perisic equalized in 28th minute with a stunning goal. France took the

lead for the 2nd time after Griezmann scored in a controversial penalty in
38th minute. Pogba made it 3- 1 in 59th minute and Kylin Mbappe scored in 65th minute to make it 4-1 for France. Dramatically, Mandzukic scored for Croatia in the 69th minute after a sloppy play from French keeper Hugo Lloris and showed the intent of fighting till the end. Croatia played attacking football throughout the game but could not score and France won.

France beat Australia and Peru before playing a goalless draw with Denmark in the group stage. France then overcame Argentina in a seven-goal thriller in

the last 16 before beating Uruguay and Belgium in the quarter and semifinal respectively to make it to the final.

The final was called the ‘favorites’ versus the ‘underdogs’. France was one of the tournament favorites but nobody had thought Croatia would make it to the final. The stories of triumph and defeat in this world cup are breathtaking.

The tournament favorites like Germany, Spain, Argentina, Brazil returned home early. The defending champion Germany could not make it out of the group stage. Argentina and Spain were knocked out in the pre-quarter finals by France and

44 Versatile | JULY 2018

Russia respectively. The 4-3 thriller between France and Argentina was epic. Brazil made it to the quarterfinals but Belgium knocked them out.

This world cup turned out to be
the rise of the underdogs. Belgium, England, Croatia and the host Russia emerged as new power in the football world. Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard impressed everybody.
If Croatia would have won it then it would have been a Cinderella story.
The captain Luka Modric led the side
to the final. Though Croatia lost the final, Modric was declared the player of the tournament and was awarded the Golden Ball. Modric plays for popular Spanish club Real Madrid, but most of the people were unaware of his tragic story. He had been a refugee in his childhood. People wished Croatia to win this world cup for Modric.

When the camera focused on Modric after the final whistle, the tears of defeat in his eyes brought tears of sadness in the eyes of billions of viewers in the stadium as well as those watching the game via television. Even the president of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who has became famous for her simplicity, looks and her huge love for


the game and her team, was in tears when she hugged Modric in the presentation ceremony after the game.

But this world cup will be remembered for the success of Frenchman Kylian Mbappe. At nineteen years of age, he became the second teenager to score in world cup final. Before him, the greatest player the football world has ever seen, Pele had scored
2 goals in the final of 1958 world cup against Sweden. The Black Pearl was only 17 years old then. Mbappe scored the fourth goal for France against Croatia making it his fourth of the tournament as well. He became the Best Young Player of the Tournament.

This is the second time France has won the world cup. When
they won 1998 world cup in France, Mbappe was not even born. Another interesting fact is that the current French Manager Didier Deschamps was the one who captained France to win 1998 World Cup.

Winners France will be taking home $38 million and runner up Croatia $28 million. Similarly 3rd and 4th Belgium and England will get $24 million and $22 million respectively. The next world cup will be held in 2022 at Qatar from 21st November to 17th December.