2018 FIFA World Cup Final: Own Goal And VAR Penalty See France Head Into Break With 2-1 Lead
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2018 FIFA World Cup Final: Own Goal And VAR Penalty See France Head Into Break With 2-1 Lead

An own goal and a controversial penalty resulting from VAR sees France heading into the break with a 2-1 lead over Croatia in the ongoing World Cup final.

Contrary to popular speculations, it was debutant Croatia who began the much-anticipated clash on a brighter note. They tested the Les Bleus with a dazzling attacking display but the 1998 winners managed to keep things tight at the back.

In the third minute, Peresic won the ball off Pavard and burst forward on the counter-attack. He drove into the penalty area but Varane came across to make a crucial tackle. Six minutes later,  Rakitic released Strinic into the box and he almost made some  room to fire a low ball across the face of goal. However, Kylian Mbappe got back in time to make the challenge, diverting the ball out for a corner.

France then had their first shot on the target in the 18th minute and it gave them the lead against the run of play. After being fouled at the edge of the box, Antoine Griezmann whipped the resulting free-kick into the penalty area.  It was a teasing cross and it found the back of the net after being flicked off the head of  Mario Mandzukic who had hit Croatia’s winner in the semifinal.

But the heartbreaking goal did not peg back Croatia as they continued to attack and they finally had their reward. Just before the half hour mark, Ivan Perisic, who had also hit the equaliser in the semifinal, scored to restore parity. France failed to clear the danger from a free-kick as Manzukic then Vida knocked the ball towards Perisic. The Inter Milan star took time and space to pick his spot on his left foot before drilling his effort past Lloris.

The game soon witnessed its first controversy when France were awarded a penalty in controversial manner. Perisic turned from hero to villain as Griezmann’s corner struck his hand.

And after a VAR review, the referee pointed to the spot. Griezmann duly converted to put France back in front at the break.