Glory and despair await France and Croatia

France wins 2018 World Cup after defeating Croatia 4-2

"We have to play as if this were the first game in this tournament".

Oddsmakers have pegged seventh-ranked France as the firm favorite over 20th-ranked Croatia in the World Cup 2018 final.

Coaches Deschamps and Zlatko Dalic fielded unchanged line-ups as the final started after a short closing ceremony featuring USA star Will Smith among others.

After that scare, France sat back and dug in to ensure there was no late drama, stifling space and preventing Croatia from mounting a late comeback.

Deschamps captained France to their sole World Cup success in 1998 and his side will be favourites when they face Croatia, making their first appearance in a World Cup final, at the Luzhniki Stadium.

France, the 1998 World Cup champions, finished top of Group C by beating Australia and Peru before a goalless draw with Denmark to clinch the number one spot.

Zlatko Dalic's team are clear underdogs going into the final with France, but they can take some definite encouragement from this little nugget: Since 1958, there's been a first-time World Cup victor every 20 years.

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It took only another six minutes for Mbappe to wreak havoc again, firing past the hapless Subasic to make it four and give France a cushion to soften the blow dealt by Lloris' subsequent moment of madness as the clock ticked down to immortality.

Croatia then ran out of steam in the second half, after having played extra-time in the past three games, as France coasted home in the highest-scoring final since England's 4-2 extra-time win over West Germany in 1966.

The recent World Cup tradition is for presidents of Federation Internationale de Football Association and the host nation to jointly hand over the gold-and-malachite trophy. A cross from the French right-hand side was handled by the Croatia No4, with a penalty awarded after a VAR review. This time, they have four full days to recover, one more than Croatia.

But it was Mbappe who put the match out of reach with a furious passage of play in the second half.

Croati's Ivan Perisic scores the equaliser for Croatia within 10 minutes after France took the initial lead.

Didier Deschamps could become only the third man in the history of the World Cup - after Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer - to lift the trophy as a player and coach.

The delay came just as Croatia started a counter attack after a missed opportunity by France.

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