France face Croatia in the 2018 World Cup final in Moscow. While 'Les Bleus' are targeting a second World Cup triumph, the 'Vatreni' have never made it this far before. Here's the 2018 final as it happened.
That is that!
So France are the 2018 World Cup winners. The tournament in Russia is over. We've had some brilliant memories, great goals and most important, some fantastic football stories. We'll have to wait four more years for it all to happen again, but for now, it's France's day. Thank you for joining us. Bonsoir!
Zagreb all smiles!
If you were worried about Croatia fans being unhappy, don't be.
The player of the tournament? Well Luka Modric is the official winner, but many will think 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe has been the star.
After all those hugs, tears, embraces and brilliant poses of joy, Macron has tweeted. I repeat, French President Emmanuel Macron has tweeted. Don't think I need to translate this one.
Hard to believe we're going to have wait another four years for all that fun, but that's what makes the World Cup so special. NBA legend Dirk Nowitzki has some parting words. Agree? I think so.
Back in France...
I thought he might, and now he has. Paul Pogba has dabbed with the World Cup trophy in hand in the rain. I think I've seen it all now.
Well played Croatia
We might have said it, but we'll say it again: what a brilliant final that was and Croatia played their part. As for what happens in Zagreb now, one look at the video below and I'd say they're just enjoying making a World Cup final.
Some serious celebrations happening over in France right now. I imagine that party will be going on for quite some time.
Here comes the gold confetti as France celebrate. Mendy slides with the trophy in the rain. There's going to be more than that. Everyone will have their moment with it, as they should. France are world champions - and will be for four more years.
Here come France...
Macron just kissed Mbappe's head as the players come up. There's a huge hug for Kante. Big love right there. There's so much importance to this team winning the the World Cup, particularly for France. There's a big embrace from Macron for Lloris and for Deschamps. Who cares about the rain? What a moment this is for France.
Guard of honor
France form a guard of honor for the Croatia team as they go up to pick up their silver medals. As they go up, the rain comes down. Funny moment, Putin has an umbrella for a while while Macron and Grabar-Kitarovic don't and get soaked. All covered now, but sure that'll be a political photo on social media soon. Serious rain falling now though. Quite the image.
With the Golden Boot and Golden Glove winners not here (presumably Harry Kane and Thibaut Courtois), we move onto the referee medals.
Luka Modric has been named best player of the tournament, winning the Golden Ball.
Kylian Mbappe picks up the award for the Young Player of the Tournament.
Philipp Lahm returns to put the trophy on the stage, which is now erected. Give Pogba a hug. Ah Philipp, no, you can't keep it. Putin, Infantino, Macron and Grabar-Kitarovic all on stage. As is Davor Suker!
The celebrations are a little delayed in Moscow, but it won't be long before France get their moment with football's greatest trophy. And the tournament awards will be handed out as well.
Ever seen a man as happy as Emmanuel Macron? Maybe not today.
Hearts over trophies?
They always say that winning is what it's all about, but sometimes there's more to sport than whoever is standing on the top of the podium.
Man of the match?
Hard to decide really, especially with Mbappe looking so brilliant, but if I had to pick it would be Paul Pogba. Amazing midfield performance, great passing, scored the key goal that turned the game and lead from the front. On the pitch, France do the Iceland clap with their fans. Huge celebrations from the French.
Griezmann is in tears, holding his jersey to his face. Deschamps is being thrown in the air. France are jumping around. The kind of scenes you normally see when a team wins it all!
France spill onto the pitch in joy. France have done it. Deschamps has done it. Not so much tears for Croatia as pride it seems, and rightfully so. What a brilliant effort all the way through - and what a final too!
IT IS ALL OVER! FRANCE HAVE WON THE 2018 WORLD CUP!
90+3' Pogba misses the ball in the box. It could have been five. France know it's coming...
90+2' Griezmann races down the left, gets clattered. Free kick. France draw even closer...
90+1' Five minutes of added time...
89' Rakitic has a go from range! It's a tired effort, and it's high and wide. The countdown begins...
86' Despite that extra push from Croatia after the second goal, it looks like the air has just come out of them a bit now. France have played a near perfect game today.
84' An update on the field storming earlier.
80' Thunder and lightning in Moscow. If a storm is coming, Croatia will be hoping it's theirs and it comes soon. They're nearly out of time. Olivier Giroud comes off (he won't score at this tournament), with Nabil Fekir coming on. Croatia also make a change. Strinic comes off, Marko Pjaca (spent the second half of last season on loan at Schalke) comes on.
78' Rakitic gets a shot in, but it goes wide. Should have been a corner, but isn't. France sit deep. Croatia want to add to their 14 shots. One goal in the next five minutes and we're in for a rollercoaster finish.
75' Croatia pushing forward. Umtiti has to clear acrobatically with a header. They can't, can they?
73' Matuidi comes off, Bayern Munich's Corentin Tolisso comes on. My first update that isn't a goal in the last 10 minutes. It has been that kind of game.
69' GOAL Croatia! 4-2 (Mandzukic) What is happening here? Umtiti passes back to Lloris who tries to push the ball pass the on-rushing Mandzukic, but the striker deflects it into the net. Game on, again! We are one goal away from equalling the highest scoring World Cup final since 1958 (5-2, Brazil vs. Sweden).
65' GOAL! 4-1 France (Mbappe) Hernandez cuts in from the left and passes to Mbappe. He's five yards outside the edge of the dee. He looks up and hits it straight into the bottom corner. His goal means Mbappe is the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since Pele in 1958. Mbappe's moment, France's day, surely?
59' GOAL! 3-1 France (Pogba) Paul Pogba sends the best pass of the tournament out wide to Mbappe on the wing. On the half-volley, Pogba slices a pass through Croatia's defense that sends Mbappe through. The cross comes in, Griezmann controls it once, twice, flicking the ball in the air, before laying off to Pogba. His first shot is blocked, his second is a left curler that ends up in the back of net. What a moment. Game changer?
56' Rebic wants a free kick, but doesn't get it and Griezmann breaks. A burst of pace sends him forward, but Vida once again makes a brilliant sliding tackle.
55' Sensible from Deschamps. Kante off, N'Zonzi on. Keeps France's defensive midfield without a yellow too. Big call, but understandable.
54' People on the pitch! We have to take a moment to pause here. Silly!
53' Mbappe's moment? He breaks forward, leaving Vida behind him but Subasic makes a good save from a tight angle. What a game! I can't write that enough.
50' Croatia are on the charge! No sign of tiredness or frustration from this side. Remarkable effort. Mandzukic gets in behind the defense, but the end pass is to a French defender.
48' SAVE! Rakitic feeds Rebic and he fires a shot towards the top corner of the near post, but Hugo Lloris makes a smart, reflex save to keep it out.
46' The second half has started - the final 45 minutes of the 2018 World Cup!
That VAR decision
Controversial, but would you have given it? The New York Times' Rory Smith gives his verdict on it, and I tend to agree.
The first time since 1974 that we have had three goals in the first half of a World Cup final - and what a game we have had! An own goal, a penalty after VAR and a brilliant individual effort. We couldn't have asked for more. I can't wait for the next 45 minutes!
45+3' CHANCE! Perisic doesn't attack the cross, not sure why, as the chance comes and goes!
45+2' Croatia have had 69% of the ball in the first half. Wow. Not sure we were expecting that. Pass is just beyond Mbappe as France dare to score again.
45' Three minutes added time. Croatia have a corner, Umtiti is receiving treatment. Vida gets to it but it's wide!
43' CHANCE! Another set-piece, this time for Croatia. Perisic gets his head to it and it falls to Dejan Lovren, aka one of the best defenders in the world, but his shot is blocked wide. Corner. Cleared for another corner. Goalmouth scramble, and then France clear. Umtiti is down, clutching his knee.
40' Did I mention that this has been a good game? Croatia nearly equalize straight away, but the ball just gets beyond Mandzukic after another good cross by Perisic. Then Mbappe beats three players and gets the cross in somehow, but no one is there to convert. Blimey. They can't keep this pace up can they?
39' GOAL! 2-1 France (Griezmann pen.) The little man sends Subasic the wrong way despite being eyeballed by the keeper close for quite some time before the spot kick. Very composed. France lead again! What a game!
38' Griezmann steps up...
37' PENALTY TO FRANCE after VAR!
34' Corner to France. Perisic misses the header, but the ball hits his hand as his hand comes down. VAR decision impending, a first for the World Cup final. Long look at this...
31' Well, that has changed the complexion of this one. Now it's France's turn to look surprised. Best two teams in the tournament in the final? I think so.
29' GOAL! 1-1 Croatia (Perisic) I tell you what, I wasn't joking about set-pieces at the World Cup. The ball into the box is headed back into the place they call the mix, Vida brings it down for Perisic, who cuts outside the defender before arrowing a shot into the far corner. Brilliant, brilliant goal. His third of the tournament. He has been fantastic in Russia. Game on!
28' Kante gets booked for accidently running across Perisic after the winger breaks forward. Clumsy and perhaps unfortunate, but a set-piece chance for Croatia...
25' Amazing what a goal can do for you. France have settled a bit and Croatia look a bit shocked, understandably I suppose.
23' Mbappe nearly breaks through to be one-on-one with Subasic, but Vida makes an incredible sliding tackle to deny him the chance.
19' GOAL! 1-0 France (Mandzukic o.g.) Right out of the blue, France lead! Another set-piece at this World Cup too! The 12th own goal at the tournament gives the French the lead as Antoine Griezmann's free kick is flicked goalwards by Mario Mandzukic. The lightest of touches, but they all count, whichever goal they go in.
17' Giroud works hard to get on the ball, loses it, wins it back and keeps France in the game. Great commitment. France keep the attack alive as Mbappe gets into the game for the first time. A bit of skill sees the ball end up in the box, but it's cleared. Now France have a free kick...
15' CHANCE! Perisic breaks down the left but his cross is blocked by Umtiti. If that gets across, Mandzukic is on hand to score. Croatia in control. Did France know that kick-off was at 1700?
13' France venture in the Croatian half for the first time really, but it's all over in a matter of moments. Can Didier Deschamps side settle here?
11' The Croatian's nickname, the 'Vatreni' does mean 'The Fiery Ones' and they have, ahem, started brightly here. Ball over the top finds Ivan Perisic, but Samuel Umtiti sees off the danger. Creative though, from the Croatians.
7' The French look cautious, keen to stem Croatia's early intent. Rakitic gets Strinic in behind the defense but Mbappe (!) makes the tackle. Croatian corner comes in eventually, but Giroud clears it. Croatian pressure still on here.
3' Benjamin Pavard loses possession at right back as he did in the semifinal perhaps a bit too often, Croatia stream forward but it comes to nothing. A nervy start from the French. Croatia certainly begin on the front foot.
1' Off we go! The World Cup final is finally underway.
It's a World Cup final so that's enough motivation on its own, but Paul Pogba might have some extra motivation.
A stirring version of "La Marseillaise" is followed by an equally impressive version of "Lijepa naša", aka "Our Beautiful". Let's play some football!
Blimey! That's quite a lot of tablecloths!
Just five more minutes! We are so close to some sport actually happening. I know, crazy eh?
Philipp Lahm walks out with the trophy. Wonder how he feels - maybe check his LinkedIn?
Right enough of that nonsense. Is today the day for Croatia?
Ronaldinho is playing the bongo drums! That's it. Closing ceremonies have peaked.
We've moved onto a Russian opera piece. I think. If you can make more sense of this than me, then good on you. In any case, the crowd seems to like it. Lots of fists being thrown in the air and Colgate smiles. And then there are kids singing. Of course. Can't go wrong with them.
Enter Will Smith (with flames). The man is wearing a white suit. Bold choice, but I suppose if anyone can pull it off, right? Maybe?
The closing ceremony has started. It looks like a blue mat of the board game Catan. It's hard to describe what is happening really.
Just 30 minutes to go! Are we to see the greatest achivement in Croatian sport or the latest in France's?
Just to let you know what happens when you go home after finishing third.
It's on days like this when you start to reminisce about the tournament. In the face of everything, this tournament has been marvellous. From the brilliance of the fans from around the world to the upsets, the goals, the VAR decisions and the glory - it has been memorable. Today, it all comes to an end.
Just 45 minutes to go now. Excitement building now. A World Cup final is nearly upon us!
The key is togetherness. At least, for Arsene Wenger. Is he right? Probably.
It's hotting up in Paris. Well, slowly. As for Moscow, it looks more like Zagreb.
Stat attack for you. This is France's third World Cup final. They won in 1998, as I mentioned earlier, and lost in 2006. This is Croatia's first, making them the 13th different nation to play in the final. I wonder how many more debutants we'll see in the years to come? Well, let's enjoy today first eh?
The World Cup final is quite the special occasion. I remember watching the 1998 final and being blown away by France. How many young football fans will be today? How many of any of us will be today? Let us know how you're feeling, where you're watching and what you're hoping for - on either our Twitteror our Facebook pages.
A big day for Kylian Mbappe today. He has had quite the tournament so far, and could make the difference today. Mind you, once the whistle goes he'll have made some history (see tweet below). After his semifinal performance, it just doesn't look like there's any stopping him.
While today might be all about France and Croatia, there are quite a lot of fans from around the world in Moscow today. Football eh? It ain't all bad.
The teams are out and they are as expected. So much talent on the field in Moscow today.
France XI: Lloris - Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez - Pogba, Kante, Matuidi - Griezmann, Giroud, Mbappe
Croatia XI: Subasic - Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Strinic - Rakitic, Modric, Brozovic - Perisic, Mandzukic, Rebic
This being the World Cup final and all, there's much more than just the football happening. We couldn't do just play football, could we? There'll be a pre-game song featuring Will Smith. Fresh Prince anyone? He's 49 now. There'll also be a closing ceremony too. It's all happening.
Both teams are about to make their way towards the stadium. Nervous moments. Hard to imagine what is going through their minds, what songs they're listening to, what doubts they might be having.
Paris is looking busy already - and what a sunny day too! No such sun in Zagreb, but plenty of excitement! As for Moscow, well the trophy has already been awarded...
We have a full crew spread around Europe today. Be sure to give them a follow!
14:57 Location Luzhniki
Originally opened in 1956, the Luzhniki Stadium is the biggest football arena in Moscow with a capacity of 81,000 after being renovated for the World Cup. As well as hosting several Spartakiad's during the Soviet Union, the stadium also hosted the 1980 Summer Olympics and the 2008 Champions League final.
But it also has a dark history: The Luzhniki Stadium's forgotten disaster
14:53 The Road to Moscow
We started out with 32 - and now there are two. France and Croatia have both criss-crossed the massive expanse of land which is western Russia, playing six games each to reach the final. Both teams are unbeaten - although Croatia have had to endure extra-time in each of their knock-out ties, meaning they've played a total of 90 minutes more than their opponents. Let's remind ourselves of how the finalists got here:
Croatia's route to the final:
Croatia 2-0 Nigeria
Argentina 0-3 Croatia
Iceland 1-2 Croatia
Croatia 1-1 Denmark (Croatia win 3-2 on pens)
Russia 2-2 Croatia (Croatia win 4-3 on pens)
Croatia 2-1 England (after extra-time)
France's route to the final:
France 2-1 Australia
France 1-0 Peru
Denmark 0-0 France
France 4-3 Argentina
Uruguay 0-2 France
France 1-0 Belgium
14:50 It's time!
France and Croatia meet in the World Cup final in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow (Kick-off 17:00 CET). For Didier Deschamps and Les Bleus, it's a second consecutive major international final after they lost to Portugal on home soil at Euro 2016. But for Croatia, this is brand new territory entirely - the Vatreni have never made it this far at a World Cup. If you want to get involved, do drop us a line over on either our Twitteror our Facebookpages.