You should be proud despite defeat, Croatia coach tells players

Monday, 16 Jul, 2018

French striker Kylian Mbappe, one of the standout stars of the World Cup, fueled the national mood via Twitter.

France arrived in Moscow as one of the favourites to lift the trophy, but their performance had not convinced many they would go all the way having struggled through the group phase. He's made save after save in close games, and has led Croatia through two penalty shootout wins.

Griezmann's kick eventually found the back of the net off of Croatia's Mario Mandžukić, to give France the early lead. Kylian Mbappe would seem obvious, but Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard on the flanks now looks inspired. Luka Modric has been outstanding for Croatia, and I could see him taking the prize if Croatia pulled the upset. Goalkeeper Essam El Hadary became the oldest player ever start in a World Cup game when he lined up in Egypt's last match against Saudi Arabia aged 45.

On Sunday, they will certainly venture into unknown territory against the former World Champions France, but win or lose it will be a celebration for Croaita.

Referee Nestor Pitana needed the assistance of the Video Assistant Referees to call for the penalty amid protests from the Croats. However, for the second time in a row, they lost in the semifinals to West Germany.

"Don't let Croatia's possession convince you that France weren't in control of that game".

Mbappe picked up the ball 30 yards from goal, glided towards Croatia territory before sending a fizzing shot past Subasic into the bottom left-hand corner.

Kylian Mbappe wasted time in France's win over Belgium - Thomas Meunier
France 'in a bubble' to play the perfect final: Lloris

France were not flawless en route to the title, arguably being outplayed in the first half despite heading to the tunnel 2-1 up after a Mario Mandzukic own-goal and a debatable penalty from man-of-the-match Antoine Griezmann.

The 19-year-old has been a pivotal part of the France World Cup team that will meet Croatia in Sunday's final at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

A day after the nation celebrated Bastille Day - the storming of a prison during the French Revolution in 1789 - with a late-night fireworks display over the Eiffel tower, large numbers began congregating in the same spot to watch the final.

But it was a decision to award a 38 minute penalty off a seemingly innocuous handball that had experts aggrieved when Pitana was coerced to turn to the VAR.

France´s forward Antoine Griezmann holds a press conference in Istra on July 13, 2018, two days before the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup final between France and Croatia. But Croatia despite that the first time the Croats reached a World Cup semi-final was in 1998.

Modern technology has helped the World Cup's more modest teams pick the right tactics to frustrate top-class opponents, but there have still been some outstanding goals.

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