France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris lifts the trophy after France 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)
Moscow, Jul 15 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 7/16/2018 12:40:03 AM IST
 France scored twice in each half as they thumped a combative Croatia 4-2 in a dramatic final to win the FIFA World Cup for the second time in 20 years here on Sunday.
A first-ever own goal in a World Cup final gave France the lead as Mario Mandzukic headed a free-kick into his own net in the 18th minute but Croatia pulled level through a strike from Ivan Perisic in the 28th minute. But seven minutes before half-time, referee Nestor Pitana contentiously awarded a spot-kick for a handball by Perisic after consulting pitch-side replays.
Initially, Pitana signalled for just a corner but a VAR review was initiated and after watching numerous replays, Pitana overturned his original decision and awarded the penalty.
Antoine Griezmann converted the penalty in the 38th minute to regain France’s lead which was further increased to 3-1 by Paul Pogba in the 59th minute. Kylian Mbappe (65th) made it 4-1 before Mandzukic pounced on a blunder from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to reduce the difference to two in the 69th minute, giving some hope to Croatia. But the third goal from Croatia never arrived as the talented French side sealed a deserving triumph. The victory means France boss Didier Deschamps becomes only the third person to lift the trophy as a player and manager, following Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer.
Deschamps’ risk-averse tactics allowed Croatia to boss the opening stages in terms of possession but it was France that struck first, with their first meaningful attack. 
FIFA president Gianni Infantino handed France captain Hugo Lloris the World Cup trophy.
Russia has officially turned over the World Cup mantle to Qatar. The tiny Gulf state is set to host the next edition of the tournament in 2022. Russian President Vladimir Putin handed an official World Cup football to Gianni Infantino, head of world soccer’s governing body, FIFA. Infantino then passed it to Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. 
France won the FIFA World Cup after winning the trophy on home soil in 1998 and losing to Italy in the 2006 showpiece. 
Croatia have never reached a tournament final of any kind. They were semi-finalists in their first World Cup appearance in 1998 after gaining independence following the breakup of Yugoslavia, but lost to eventual winners France 2-1.
  France was one of the four European teams that participated at the inaugural World Cup in 1930 and have appeared in 15 FIFA Cups.

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