Kylian Mbappe achieved his debut World Cup by becoming the first teen to score in the final since Pele in 1958 as France beat Croatia to become world champions for the second time.
At the young age of 19, Mbappe scored the fourth goal in France’s 4-2 victory in Moscow to take his tally for the tournament to four goals in seven games.
He also produced some devastating blowouts down the right side for Didier Deschamps’ team to cause panic in the Croatia defense.
However, in a game that looked set to be dominated by VAR decisions after France’s first two goals were surrounded by controversy, a second-half surge by the French clinched their first world title since 1998, as noted by ESPN.
“It was not a straightforward victory for Les Bleus, however,” ESPN reports. “Mario Mandzukic’s own goal, from Antoine Griezmann’s 19th-minute free-kick, gave France the lead, but it was canceled out by a stunning Ivan Perisic goal nine minutes later.”
France regained the lead on 38 minutes after a VAR review led to referee Nestor Pitana awarding a penalty following a Perisic handball.
Croatia’s sense of injustice counted for little, however, with France scoring through Paul Pogba and Mbappe to go 4-1 ahead by the 62nd minute.
A Hugo Lloris error gifted Mandzukic a goal for Croatia on 68 minutes, but by that stage, France had the game won.
Goalkeeper Danijel Subasic was blameworthy for at least two of France’s goals, with the penalty shootout champion perhaps suffering from the hamstring injury he suffered during the quarterfinal win against Russia.
Croatia had no answer to Mbappe when the teenager sprinted down the right flank.