France won the World Cup for the second time by ending battling Croatia’s dream of the first title with a 4-2 victory on Sunday in on of the most entertaining and action-packed finals for decades. France led 2-1 at halftime after a Mario Mandzukic own goal and Antoine Griezmann VAR penalty, with Ivan Perisic briefly bringing first-time finalists Croatia level.
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Quickfire strikes by Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe midway through the second half put France on course for the title but Mandzukic was gifted a goal by French keeper Hugo Lloris to set up a nervous last 20 minutes. France, however, withstood a spirited Croatia assault to lift the trophy for the second time, following their success on home soil 20 years ago, and ensure there was no repeat of two years ago when they were beaten in the European Championship final by Portugal in Paris. France took the lead in the 18th when Croatia’s tallest outfield player, 1.90-meter (6-foot-3) forward Mario Mandzukic, rose to meet Griezmann’s free-kick with the top of his head. He inadvertently sent it past his own goalkeeper. Perisic and Mandzukic both scored for Croatia, first to equalize in the 28th minute and later as a consolation goal in the 69th, embarrassing Lloris with a flicked shot as the France goalkeeper tried to dribble the ball out of his goalmouth. France coach Didier Deschamps became only the third man to win the World Cup as a player and a coach. Mario Zagallo of Brazil and Franz Beckenbauer of Germany are the others.
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