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FIFA World Cup 2018 final match between France and Croatia was like a Bollywood masala film
When Shahrukh Khan's 'Om Shanti Om' was released, my friend, an ardent SRK fan, asked me to see the film knowing very well that I never watch SRK movies.

"Why should I watch, particularly when I don't like the actor?" I countered."This film is a treat to watch. It has everything. It has reincarnation, ghost, double role for both the lead actor and actress, suspense, music and what not," my friend tried again, "It is an all-in-one film and what is the harm in seeing it?"

I gave up and watched the film with my friend for whom it was the third time. Needless to mention the film was good and entertaining although I did not watch any SRK movie after that.

This prelude is perfectly fitting with the final match of FIFA 2018 which France won 4-2 beating Croatia. Like the film 'Om Shanti Om', the match had everything one could wish for such as a goal by penalty, own goal, comedy or gifted goal, brilliant goal, excellent save, chances missed, jubilations and heart break creating the edge-of-the-seat moments more often. Not a single minute during the final was boring.

Croatia dominated the first half with 60 per cent possession and an excellent goal, but trailed from France by 1-2 because of own goal and a goal from penalty shot.

Own goal

Griezman, who was fouled, took a free kick in the 18th minute. The ball was travelling when Mandzukic's head came in the way and deflected the ball into the net watched by hapless Croatian goalkeeper Subasic. This was the first ever own goal in a World Cup final.

Excellent goal by Perisic

It all started when French defender Kante fouled Perisic, who was breaking away after a good pass, and thus getting the first yellow card of the match. Rakitic first faked the free kick for Modric to actually take it and pass to the right wing. Vida collected the cross inside the penalty box and passed to Perisic who brilliantly gave the finishing touch in the 28th minute to level the score 1-1.

Penalty goal

France counter attack coupled with a rare mistake by Croatia defender Vida resulted in a corner kick for France. In the penalty box, Perisic was found guilty of handball via VAR (Video Assistant Referee). The whole world saw the handball. Many including the commentators thought it was not intentional and thus penalty was not correct. But the Argentine Referee's interpretation was what mattered. He awarded the penalty to France after watching video and Griezman scored in the 38th minute. France have never lost the match in which Griezman has scored.

After the break, it was expected that Croatia would come back strongly. But two superb goals by Pogba and Mbappe sealed their fate. France gifted a goal back to Croatia when French captain and goalkeeper Lloris made a comedy of errors, but then the writing was on the wall for Croatia. As time passed, a Croatian defeat loomed large and eventually it happened.

Pogba's goal

In the 59th minute, Pogba gave a long through ball to Mbappe in the right wing who brilliantly passed it to Griezman inside the penalty box. Instead of taking the shot, Griezman passed it to Pogba whose strong right-footer rebounded from a defender, but then his left-footer taken outside the box found the net. It was 3-1 for France.

Mbappe's Pele moment

In the 65th minute, Hernandez gave a brilliant pass to Mbappe who took a stunning shot from 30 meters to find the target. Mbappe is the third teenager to start in a World Cup final after Brazilian legend Pele and Italian legend Guiseppe Bergomi and only the second teenager to score in a World Cup final match after Pele's exploits in 1958 final against Sweden. A new star was born to light the football field.

The comedy goal

French captain and goal keeper Hugo Lloris would like to forget this incident. He received a back pass and was trying to dodge Mandzukic, but in vain. He should have taken the shot right away. But when he tried to dribble past Mandzukic, the latter found the golden touch on the ball which found the net with Lloris fuming with angst. This 69th minute gifted goal by France was the last of six goals scored in the match.

Chances and saves

In any football match, there will be chances and there will be misses and saves. The final was no exception. Both sides had chances to score more and their goalkeepers also saved a lot of goals. In this department both teams were evenly poised.

In the 11th minute a beautiful pass by Rakitic was spoiled by Perisic. In the 45th minute, Rakitic gave a perfect cross only to find Vida miscalculating his jump. In the 52nd minute Mbappe had a run to the box after getting a through pass from Pogba, but Subasic saved. Towards the fag end of the match, Pogba missed a simple chance to connect his feet with the ball inside the box, and thus France could not get its fifth goal.

Interesting facts

·Perisic scored a goal, but also conceded the penalty by handball.

·Mandzukic scored an own goal, but got it back when Lloris made a comedy of errors.

·Griezman scored a goal and France won. France never lost a match with Griezman scoring.

·First time finalists won the trophy in 1958 (Brazil), 1978 (Argentina) and 1998 (France). It was expected that the trend would continue in 2018 as well, but Croatia could not do it.

·Mbappe became hot teenage sensation when he scored that brilliant goal to join Pele. A new star has been born and after Ronaldo and Messi, Mbappe will be on everybody's lips.

·First own goal in a World cup final.

·Highest scoring final (six goals) since England beat West Germany 4-2 in 1966.


One can feel for the Croatian players. They were on pitch for 120 minutes for each of their knock out matches and I think that took a heavy toll on their bodies. Against an attacking team like France, they had no chance. But they showed the gut to win, the passion for trophy and fought till the last moment. It was heart break for Croatia fans, but many soccer fans are appreciating the Croatians.


The entire country of France spent the whole night partying and merry making for such a stupendous feat by their football team. Why not!! France was the best team in the tournament and deservingly won the trophy.

If anyone has missed watching the final, then he or she must see the highlights as it was the most entertaining world cup final ever having all the masala to make you happy.

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