France has won its second World Cup championship, defeating Croatia 4-2 Sunday at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium
France led 2-1 at halftime, thanks to an own-goal by Croatian Mario Mandzukic, who headed a free kick into his own team's net, and a penalty kick by Antoine Griezmann. Croatia's Ivan Perisic briefly leveled the game around 30 minutes in, scoring Croatia's first goal.
Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappé scored two more goals for France in the second half, followed by a final surprising goal by Croatia's Mandzukic gifted by French keeper Hugo Lloris.
Despite losing the final, Croatian captain Luka Modric won the Golden Ball for the 2018 World Cup's best player.
Anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot claimed responsibility for a brief disruption of the game in the second half, when three people dressed like police officers ran onto the pitch from behind the French goal. A fourth person was stopped before they could enter the field. The game was halted for less than a minute. In a post on the group's Facebook page, Pussy Riot said that the disruption was intended to draw attention to human rights abuses in Russia.
France last won a World Cup championship on their own soil in 1998, defeating Brazil 3-0. France's coach this year, Didier Deschamps, also lead the team to their 1998 victory as captain.
1998 was also the last World Cup in which Croatia made it into the final 16, defeating the Netherlands 2-1 to claim third place.
Following Sunday's match, French president tweeted one word, "merci" (thank you), tagging the French team's official account.
President Donald Trump also congratulated the French team.
Congratulations to France, who played extraordinary soccer, on winning the 2018 World Cup. Additionally, congratulations to President Putin and Russia for putting on a truly great World Cup Tournament -- one of the best ever!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2018
France will host next year's Women's World Cup in Décines-Charpieu outside Lyon next summer. The next men's world cup will be held in Qatar in 2022.
Meanwhile, in France celebrations erupted immediately after France’s win over Croatia. Parisians were literally dancing in the streets, and in one neighborhood, plunging into a canal to celebrate their victory.
Nina Caniac summed up her feelings in one word: "great," and added "Because we have not won in a long time, and it is actually a really good feeling. Just to see the mood in the streets is so nice because we were not expecting that - I was not,” she added.View full gallery
Fatoumata Kebe had a French flag draped over her shoulders as she toasted the victory with her baby.
“We have won,” said Kebe, who has dual French and Guinean nationality. “We are the champions!”
France’s win over Croatia appeared all but certain once the French soccer team scored its third goal, and then its fourth. The World Cup finals came just a day after the country marked Bastille Day. Now another revolution, on the soccer field.
When France won its last Worl Cup title 20 years ago, many celebrating in Paris today were not even born.
Lisa Bryant contributed to this report from Paris.