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Heartbroken but proud Croatia fans celebrate their 'heroes'

16 July 2018

Croatia captain Luka Modric, who was awarded the Golden Ball as the World Cup's best player, thought his team had the upper hand for significant periods.

The last time the two countries faced off was 20 years ago in the semi-finals at the 1998 World Cup, when France hosted.

Paul Pogba suggested Les Bleus nearly took beating Portugal in the final on home soil for granted after seeing off world champions Germany in the last four, only for Eder to snatch a surprise 1-0 win for Fernando Santos' side.

France were functional and firm against Belgium to see off the Red Devils 1-0 in Tuesday's semi-final while Croatia needed extra time - for the third consecutive game - to defeat England at the Luzhniki on Wednesday.

Les Bleus won their second title in Moscow as Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe starred and scored in a 4-2 win over Croatia. They deserve to be in the final just as much as us.

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But the only statistic France really care about is that the result makes them world champions for the second time following their triumph on home soil in 1998.

France beat Croatia in dramatic World Cup final featuring VAR penalty call, six goals and pitch invasion.

The first goal of the match was Croatia's own goal during a free kick.

Croatia's forward Ante Rebic (L) vies with France's midfielder Paul Pogba during the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15, 2018.

Four goals to boot, there seemed to be no way back for the Eastern Europeans until Mandzukic's pressure on Lloris forced him to reduce the deficit slightly.

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It was a very hard match, Croatia had a great game. "We came back to life, dominated and then the penalty was given", Dalic said. We've had incredible games, stupidly amusing moments and some of the best punditry and commentary in years.

19-year-old wunderkind Kylian Mbappe would add another for France just minutes later, becoming the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since Pele.

Olivier Giroud is a World Cup victor after France's 4-2 win over Croatia in Moscow on Sunday - but it did not all go his way this month.

"Croatia's players have gained experience with their clubs, and they have been playing together for a while". Croatia have shown the quality and resilience to come through three knockout rounds, two on penalties and one in extra time.

The Vatreni started like a house on fire but an own goal from Mario Mandzukic gave France an early lead. Both teams won their groups, with France earning seven points (two wins, one draw) and Croatia finishing with nine (three wins).

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Heartbroken but proud Croatia fans celebrate their 'heroes'