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France vs Croatia, World Cup final 2018 player ratings: Who starred and who froze on the biggest stage of all?

Ben Rumsby
Kylian Mbappe celebrates his goal as France triumph in Moscow - REUTERS

 

France won the World Cup for the second time by ending battling Croatia's dream of a first title with a 4-2 victory in a breathless final in Moscow.

France led 2-1 at halftime after a Mario Mandzukic own goal and an Antoine Griezmann VAR penalty, with Ivan Perisic briefly bringing first-time finalists Croatia level.

Quickfire strikes by Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe midway through the second half put France on course for the title but Mandzukic was gifted a goal by French keeper Hugo Lloris to set up a nervous last 20 minutes.

But who stood out and who disappointed? Here's Ben Rumsby's verdict from Moscow:

France

Hugo Lloris

Produced a repeat of Loris Karius’s horrendous Champions League final blunder but was steady otherwise. 6. 

Benjamin Pavard

A total mismatch up against Ivan Perisic in the first half as his inexperience told. Spared further torture after the break. 6.

Raphael Varane

Was imperious against Belgium but rattled by wave after wave of Croatia attacks and made one near-fatal error. 6.

Paul Pogba celebrates his goal in France's 4-2 win Credit: Getty Images

Samuel Umtiti

Semi-final match-winner was required to produce some desperate defending to keep Croatia at bay. 7.

Lucas Hernandez

Had been arguably the best left-back in the tournament but made to look very ordinary by Ante Rebic and Perisic. 6.

Paul Pogba

Came alive in the second half after an awful first, scoring France’s third goal after playing the ball of the tournament. 7.

N’Golo Kante

Had been crucial in France’s march to the final but was completely overrun here. His substitution changed the game. 5.

Didier Deschamps and Antoine Griezmann celebrate after victory - France's second World Cup win Credit: Getty Images

Blaise Matuidi

Also struggled to contain Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic and failed to last the 90 minutes either. 6.

Kylian Mbappe

Pele has an heir. The second teenager to score in a World Cup final looked a little boy lost in the first half but electric afterwards. 7.

Olivier Giroud

Had not scored all World Cup and did not look like changing that before being replaced by. 5.

Antoine Griezmann

His lucky day, having made or scored both of France’s controversial first two goals. But he was also their best player. 8.

Subs

  • Steven Nzonzi (for Kante, 55 mins) 7
  • Corentin Toliso (for Matuidi 73) 6
  • Nabil Fekir (for Giroud 81) 5.

Croatia

Danijel Subasic

Helpless for the opener and penalty and probably could not have saved Pogba or Mbappe’s goals either. 6.

Sime Vrsaljko

Struggled to cope with Griezmann as the match wore on and was booked for upending the forward. 6.

Dejan Lovren

Boasted beforehand he was one of the world’s best defenders but might want keep quiet about it after this. 6.

Domagoj Vida dejected after the final whistle Credit:  AP

Domagoj Vida

Fell apart in the second half, criminally turning his back on Mbappe’s goal. Had helped shackled the teenager before then. 6.

Ivan Strinic

Surged forward in the first half in support of Perisic and kept Mbappe out of the game for most of the match. 7.

Marcelo Brozovic

Part of a supreme midfield effort by Croatia until France made their changes to take the game away. 6.

Ivan Rakitic

His best match of the tournament, even in defeat. Was everywhere and passed the ball brilliantly. 8.

Another superb display from Luka Modric at this World Cup, but it ended in defeat this time Credit: Getty Images

Ante Rebic

Forced a flying save from Lloris and gave Hernandez almost as hard a time as Perisic gave Pavard. 7.

Luka Modric

Played as if his life depended on it. His free-kick led to the equaliser, and like Rakitic, was sublime on the ball. 8.

Ivan Perisic

Rampant for almost an hour. Scored a great equaliser and cruelly punished by video technology. Did not deserve to be on the losing side. 8.

Mario Mandzukic

Made amends for scoring the World Cup final’s first ever own goal, which he was harshly awarded. 6.

Subs

  • Andrej Kramaric (for Rebic, 71) 5
  • Marko Pjaca (for Strinic, 82) 5