Belfast Telegraph

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How France won World Cup final thriller featuring VAR controversy and two stunning strikes

France 4-2 Croatia

By Gareth Hanna

France have won the World Cup for the second time after a 4-2 victory over Croatia in Moscow.

France went in 2-1 ahead at half-time care of two contentious strikes, the first a Mario Mandzukic own-goal and the second an Antoine Griezmann penalty. They made sure of success via Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe smashers in the second period, both flying past a helpless Croatia keeper from the edge of the area.

Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic were on the scoreboard for Croatia.

VAR provided the biggest talking point of the first half, as it has done so often at this World Cup.

Referee Nestor Pitana opted to award France a 38th minute penalty after a long video consultation. The ball had been flicked onto Croatia midfielder Ivan Perisic's arm from close range and after viewing the decision again on the pitch-side monitor, Pitana pointed to the spot for a decision that Alan Shearer would soon brand 'ridiculous'.

That was the second contentious decision of the afternoon as France's opening goal came via a free-kick for a foul on Antoine Griezmann. Shearer called that a 'dive' by the Frenchman.

Nonetheless, Griezmann's curling set-piece was flicked into his own net by Mario Mandzukic before Perisic levelled with a thundering effort on 28 minutes.

The second half saw France put themselves into the driving seat with two quickfire strikes, both Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe blasting unstoppable efforts past Croatia keeper Danijel Subašić for 4-1.

A rare blunder by French stopper Hugo Lloris gifted Mandzukic a World Cup final goal but it was all Croatia could muster, France successfully closing out their second World Cup win.

Here's the game as it happened:

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