France, 2018 FIFA World Cup champions

France shocks the world, defeating Croatia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup final in Russia

Kevin Korbel
Sports Editor

The long wait is finally over. After the fireworks shot into the sky and the rain soaked them to the skin, it had only then come to realization that the country of France had won their first FIFA World Cup in the new millennium after defeating Croatia last Sunday 4-2 in Moscow, Russia.

For the second time, France is champion of the world, and for the first time, this team has its own place in history.

French manager, Didier Deschamps, became just the third person to win the World Cup as a player and as a coach in the history of the World Cup tournament. Deschamps was the captain of the French team in 1998 when his team first shocked Brazil in Paris, and on Sunday he came back to return as an acting manager.

France head coach Didier Deschamps kisses the trophy after his team won the final match between France and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, July 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

In a match that featured anything you could have ever imagined, an own goal, a goalkeeper gaffe, pitch invaders and a teenager finding the back of the net for a goal, France rolled to a convincing 4-1 lead and managed to hold on to earn its second championship in the history of the nation.

But it was only after Gianni Infantino, the FIFA president, had presented France’s players with the trophy that they had craved for so long, that their country and it’s heroes last held 20 years ago, that all of the emotion, constrained from the moment they arrived in Russia, came rushing out in waves.

“Is France a beautiful champion?” Deschamps said after the victory. “I don’t know, but I know that we are world champions and will be for the next four years.”

Kylian Mbappé of France was the teenager being mentioned for scoring. Mbappé is only the second teenager to score in the final, after Pelé. Both of these players have officially etched their names among the greats.

France’s Kylian Mbappe smiles after his team won 4-2 during the final match between France and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, July 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

France became the sixth country to win at least two World Cups, joining Brazil, Germany, Italy, Argentina and Uruguay. Just eight teams have won the tournament at least once. The two without multiple titles? Spain and England.

 

French players celebrate after Kylian Mbappe scored his side’s fourth goal during the final match between France and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, July 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

In the end, it was destiny for France and heartbreak for Croatia, who was playing in its first final. A wild World Cup concluded with a team everyone thought could win actually doing so, while Croatia’s miracle run falls painfully short. There could only be one winner, and a deserved France team managed to step up with its most convincing showing of the tournament when it mattered most.

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