An own goal, VAR and memories of Pele: the landmarks of the 2018 World Cup final

France beat Croatia 4-2 to win the 2018 World Cup final in Moscow, lifting the trophy for the second time.

Here, we take a look at some of the landmark moments from the encounter at the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow.

Mario Mandzukic nods into his own net – and the history books

Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic (bottom second right) became the first player to score an own goal in the World Cup final.
Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic (bottom second right) became the first player to score an own goal in the World Cup final. (Aaron Chown/PA Wire)

Croatia forward Mandzukic would have been hoping to make headlines for scoring in a World Cup final, but not the first own goal. With 19 minutes gone, France took the lead, somewhat against the run of play, when Antoine Griezmann’s floated free-kick was glanced on by the 6ft 3in Juventus striker and into the top corner, past Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.

VAR takes centre stage, again

Match referee Nestor Pitana used the VAR system for the first time in a World Cup final.
Match referee Nestor Pitana used the VAR system for the first time in a World Cup final. (Aaron Chown/PA Wire)

Shortly after Croatia had equalised, a France corner was headed on into the six-yard box, with the ball striking Ivan Perisic’s hand. Argentinian official Nestor Pitana jogged over to the TV monitor on the advice of video assistant referee Massimiliano Irrati and his team. After going over multiple replays, and having one final review just in case, the referee returned to the pitch to point to the spot. Croatia were livid – but Griezmann kept his cool, despite the long wait, to send the keeper the wrong way for a first goal in a World Cup final given on the intervention of VAR.

Kylian Mbappe comes of age

Kylian Mbappe (centre) produced another impressive display against Croatia.
Kylian Mbappe (centre) produced another impressive display against Croatia. (Aaron Chown/PA Wire)

There were hopes that Paris St Germain forward Mbappe would light up Russia 2018 rather than be overawed by the occasion. Aged just 19, Mbappe had already put those doubts to bed with a string of electric displays – and when he slotted in France’s fourth goal after 65 minutes became the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since a certain Pele in 1958.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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