FIFA World Cup, 2018, Russia, marks the beginning of a new era in football, and the final has undoubtedly secured its place as one of the best World Cup match ever, where even the looser has come out victorious.
The game was singularly remarkable, crazy and unconventional besides becoming one of the highest scoring World Cup finals after the game in 1966 where England defeated the then West Germany by 4-2.
A VAR storm, resulting in a penalty, a self-goal, horrendous goalkeeping—which allowed Croatia to score—by the man who eventually picked up the 14 inch, 18-carat gold, 11lb trophy, and a Pussy Riot invasion of the ground, a teen-ager scoring for the first time in a FIFA Cup final after the legend Pele, finally followed by a storm over Moscow that drenched all on the pitch, the game and its fans on Sunday night, had it all.
Furthermore, as the final whistle blew at Luzhniki stadium, Emanuel Macron, the French President threw his hand in air in front of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Croatian President Kolinda Kitrovic–this was the ultimate celebration for France’s World Cup victory that came after two decades. And even the Russian President did not stay out of the celebration of the game, he announced that the fans of the game holding an ‘Id of Fan’ will be granted free access into Russia throughout 2018.
On Sunday Kylian Mbappe and Didier Deshcahmp, both crossed a milestone. The 19-year- -old Mbappe became the first teenager to score in a World Cup final Since Pele and received a congratulation tweet from non-other than the King of Football Pele. On the other hand Didier Deshchamp won two World Cups for his country–first time in 1998, as a player and second time in Russia, as team manager of France National Football team.
He became the third man after Gemany’s Franz Beckenbauer and Brazil’s Mario Zagallo to achieve the astonishing feat.
Sunday afternoon Luzhniki was thrilled and excited, because they thought World Football will obviously get a new champion. Not only Luzhniki, almost the whole World thought the same. But France sealed their second World Cup triumph with 4-2 win over a brave Croatian side.
The former midfielder Deshchamp has always been loved and this triumph is a victory for his dogged, determined approach in overhauling the squad that lost the final of Euro 2016-with 14 new faces-but also reverting to a more disciplined and pragmatic approach which meant shackling some of their extraordinary attacking talents.
The coach has made Paul Pogba play for the team and was rewarded with a goal; actually the first ever scored in a World Cup Final by a Manchester United player and an influential performance, but he also has the brilliance of Kylian Mbappe who is a phenomenon.
Croatia though lost the match but came out victorious; they had possession of the ball for an hour and were led by Luka Modric, the Golden Ball winner, however, they were defeated by a better team in what was their first final.
Despite of having 62 to 38 ball procession percentile Croatia did not manage to score. In the last 11 days they had come through extra-time in three knock-out matches, twice going to penalties, which meant they had played the equivalent of an extra game and had 24 hours less to prepare. But they again showed remarkable reserves of resilience, energy and fighting spirit to pick them back up and off the canvas. They never ever gave up, and even in the fag-end of the match they did not lose hope.
They would have burned with a sense of injustice at half-time. They had out-played France, they had swarmed around N’Golo Kante, and dominated mid-field and yet they were 2-1 down having conceded just one shot on target. However, both of those goals were dipped in controversy.
In the end it was sheer perseverance, grit and organised effort that won the match for France and finished the football fiesta looking even better unit from the time the tournament began. We would all agree with Griezmann when he said, “It’s France we love, we have different origin but are all united. We are many players with different backgrounds, but we have the same goal, we wear the same jersey.”
No doubt that a big party is waiting the team once they return to their home town…
Now let’s have a look at the individual awards:
- Golden Ball: Luka Modric (Croatia)
- Silver Ball: Eden hazard (Belgium)
- Bronze Ball: Antonie Griezman (France)
- Golden Boot: Hary Kane (England), 6 goals from 7 matches
- Golden Gloves: Thibaut Kurtois (Belgium)
- Best young player of the tournament: Kylian Mbappe