Truly, Madly, Whatever this World Cup is superb. The day after Bastille Day France are champions and deservedly so. But only after the most remarkable, crazy and controversial encounter against a courageous Croatia in which there was a VAR storm, and an actual storm in the skies above Moscow, a first-ever own goal in a World Cup Final, a cool strike from a new global superstar, an horrific goalkeeping blunder by the man who lifted the trophy - and a Pussy Riot pitch invasion.To secure its status as the best ever World Cup the tournament needed a memorable final. It got it. What a finale it was to this 31-day festival of football, as Gareth Southgate called it, and it was the highest-scoring final since England beat West Germany 4-2 in 1966. Well, they sang football’s coming home. At least the score was the same and while England and their fans will never stop dreaming of what might have been - just 22 minutes from the final, if anyone needed reminding - France have the 18-carat gold, 14-inch, 11lb trophy for the second time ever and the second time in 20 years. Didier Deschamps was their captain then and he is their coach now and became only the third man - after Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer and Brazil’s Mario Zagallo - to achieve that astonishing feat and for that his place in the pantheon of French football is secured.
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The 19-year-old had the broadest of smiles during the playing of the national anthems prior to kick-off, looking like this was going to be his playground, but played patchily for 45 minutes before coming alive. Mbappe scored the game’s finest goal and became the first teenager to register in the final since Pele in 1958.They will have burned with a sense of injustice at half-time. They had out-played France, they had swarmed around N’Golo Kante, and dominated midfield, and yet they were 2-1 down having conceded just one shot on target. Both of those goals were dipped in controversy.For the first the furious reaction of Marcelo Brozovic suggested Antoine Greizmann had ‘bought’ a free-kick by going to ground easily but it reaped its reward. Griezmann took it, swinging the ball in with Mario Mandzukic unsettled by the presence of Raphael Varane in front of him and Pogba behind.
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