Goooooooaaaaaal! After a month of some of the best soccer action in history, it came down to France and Croatia. After an exciting World Cup final, it was France who raised the trophy in victory!
32 days. 32 teams. 53 matches. All the blood, sweat, tears and joy came down to 90-plus minutes out on the pitch, as France took on Croatia in the FIFA World Cup final on July 15. From Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, these two squads went head-to-head and toe-to-toe, all for the glory of winning the World Cup. When the final whistle blew, the score was 4-2 with France tasting sweet, sweet victory. With most of the world watching, fans were either elated or crushed with how this game turned out.
With a population of 4.28 million people which is just over the population of Los Angeles Croatia became the smallest country to reach the World Cup final since Uruguay pulled off the feat in 1950. There are twice as many people in New York City than there are in the entire country, but it was the Vatreni who made it to the final. They did it after going 3-0 in the group stage, which is amazing since their group included the Lionel Messi-led Argentina squad. The team fought tooth and nail in the knockout round. They fought Denmark, Russia and England, playing three consecutive games to extra time. The endurance this young country’s squad shown was remarkable, and considering who they faced in the final, they needed all the energy they could muster.
France’s ascension to the World Cup final didn’t come as a surprise, as Les Blues dominated the group stage. After going 2-1 over Australia and sending Peru packing with a 1-0 victory, the French side played a conservative game against Denmark, playing to a scoreless draw in the last game before the knockout round. With no more safety net, France played hard. They broke the heart of the entire country of Argentina, eliminating Lionel Messi from what might be his last World Cup. They did the same to Messi’s FC Barcelona teammate in the quarterfinals, eliminating Luis Suarez and Uruguay. Samuel Umtiti’s goal at the 51 minute in the semifinal against Belgium practically punched France’s ticket to the final, as De Rode Duivels couldn’t answer.
What a game! Now that it’s all over, it’s time to look forward to 2022. The next World Cup will take place in Qatar. Unlike this year, the 2020 tournament will be held in November, not in the summer, since the temperatures in the Middle Eastern country can reach deadly highs.