France won the FIFA World Cup for the second time by ending battling Croatia's dream of a first title with a 4-2 victory on Sunday in one of the most entertaining and action-packed finals for decades. 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. France, however, withstood a spirited Croatia assault to lift the trophy for the second time, following their success on home soil 20 years ago, and ensure there was no repeat of two years ago when they were beaten in the European Championship final by Portugal in Paris.
The victory means that Didier Deschamps, captain of the 1998 side, becomes the third man to win the World Cup as player and coach after Brazil's Mario Zagallo and Germany's Franz Beckenbauer.
It was the highest-scoring final since England beat West Germany 4-2 after extra-time in 1966 and the highest in normal time since Brazil beat Sweden 5-2 60 years ago.The landmarks came thick and fast in the first half too.
Croatia had started full of energy but fell behind when Mandzukic, who scored the extra-time winner against England in the semi-final, became the first man to score an own goal in a World Cup final when a Griezmann free kick skidded in off his head in the 18th minute. It was the 12th own goal of the tournament.
That meant it was the fourth successive knockout game that Croatia had conceded first but Perisic, who got the equaliser against England, was on hand again to level the scores 10 minutes later, smashing in a low shot after Sime Vrsaljko had headed Luka Modric's free kick across the box.
But it was then Perisic's turn go from hero to zero when he flapped an arm at a corner and, after a VAR review, Argentine referee Nestor Pitana awarded the 28th penalty of the tournament, another record, which Griezmann stroked home in the 38th minute for his fourth goal of Russia 2018. That made it the highest-scoring first half since 1974, when West Germany led the Netherlands 2-1 - also the final score then.
It was harsh on Croatia, who had made most of the running, and they were on top again after the break, continually winning their one-on-one duels in the air and in every tackle and forging forward in the French box with plenty of variety.
But France's defence, so impressive all tournament, held and they went 3-1 up on the hour as Mbappe and Griezmann combined to set up Pogba on the edge of the box. His right-footed shot was blocked but he coolly curved the rebound in with his left.
After three successive extra-time knockout games the chances of another Croatian comeback seemed slight but they looked dead and buried six minutes later. Lucas Hernandez tore down the left to set up Mbappe who drilled a low shot beyond keeper Danijel Subasic for the 19-year-old's fourth goal of the tournament.
An awful blunder by Lloris revived Croatia, as the French keeper tried to dribble around Mandzukic only for the striker to tap the ball straight into an unguarded net.
Croatia, beaten by the French in the semi-finals in their first World Cup appearance in 1998, continued to press but their energy was sapped and France safely held out for the victory.Highlights Between France vs Croatia, 2018 FIFA World Cup Final, straight from Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow
22:28 IST: Thank you for staying with us for the live match updates of the FIFA 2018 World Cup final.
22:23 IST: France are FIFA 2018 World Cup champions.
22:22 IST: And its over. France beat Croatia 4-2.
22:20 IST: Tolisso ailing as he falls to the ground dramatically. The French fans have started to party it seems as the camera man shows us. Pogba again is on his won but he shows no signs of urgency.
22:18 IST: 90 minutes up. Fourth official signals 5 minutes of added time.
22:14 IST: We are now five minutes away from seeing France lift the World Cup.
22:09: IST: SUBSTITUTION for France! Nebil Fekir comes on for Olivier Giroud.
22:06 IST: Rakitic's shot goes just wide. Croatia are pushing hard. They have 13 minutes to do so.
22:05 IST: Six goals in the FIFA World Cup is as many in the 4 previous World Cup finals combined (2002-2014).
22:01 IST: Blaise Matuidi makes way for Tolliso for France in the 72nd minute.
22:00 IST: Rebic comes off as Kramaric comes in for Croatia.
21:59 IST: GOAL! Croatia pull one back after a horrendous mistake by French keeper Hugo Lloris. Mario Mandzukic scores after the blunder in the 69th minute.
21:54 IST: GOAL! Kylian Mbappe hits a powerful shot in the 65th which beats the Croatian keeper. Becomes the second teenager to score a goal in a World Cup. France 4-1 Croatia
21:53 IST: Croatia now have a mountain to climb. They need to score at least 2 goals to take this match into extra-time and need 3 to turn this match around.
21:48 IST: GOAL! Paul Pogba scores with a powerful shot in the 59th minute to which the Croatian keeper has no response. France 3-1 Croatia
21:46 IST: Perisic crosses it but too heavy for Mandzukic. France 2-1 Croatia after 59 minutes
21:42 IST: SUBSTITUTION for France! N'Golo Kante is replaced by Steven Nzonzi in the 54th minute.
21:42 IST: PLAY HALTED! The match is halted after fans intrude the play after running towards the pitch.
21:41 IST: Superb ball by Paul Pogba for Mbappe. Good save by Subasic.
21:40 IST: Good start by Croatia in the second half.
21:37 IST: Ante Rebic's shot gets saved by Hugo Lloris in the 47th minute. Super save by the French keeper.
21:35 IST: Antoine Griezmann tries his luck from distance but Subasic collects it easily. 46 minutes up.
21:34 IST: The second half begins.
21:18 IST: France 2-1 Croatia at half-time
21:16 IST: First half up and what a fantastic half we've had. Super stuff for the neutrals.
21:16 IST: 45 minutes up and we have three added minutes.
21:13 IST: Lovren hits a powerful shot but blocked by Pavard in the French box. Back-to-back corners for Croatia.
21:10 IST: Yellow card for Lucas Hernandez in the 40th minute.
21:07 IST: GOAL! Antoine Griezmann scores from the spot in the 38th minute. France 2-1 Croatia
21:05 IST: PENALTY! France get the penalty as a result of VAR in the 36th minute. All eyes on Subasic as Croatia look upto him.
21:04 IST: VAR Referral taken! The French are screaming for a handball. The referee seems to be taking advice from the fourth officials. Replays show Ivan Perisic's hand touched the ball.
21:03 IST: CORNER for France after Vida's misheaded clearance in the 33rd minute.
20:58 IST: GOAL! Croatia's Ivan Perisic equalises with a screaming finish for Croatia in the 28th minute. What a way to get back into the game.
20:57 IST: YELLOW CARD for N'Golo Kante. Free kick for Croatia in the 27th minute.
20:56 IST: France look more confident after going in front.
20:51 IST: FREE KICK! Modric's turn now to get back into this game. He steps up to take the shot.
20:50 IST: GOAL! France are in front. Own-goal by Mario Mandzukic. Antoine Griezmann curls it in and France are on front in the 18th minute after the last touch off Mandzukic. This is also the first-ever own goal to be scored in a World Cup final. France 1-0 Croatia
20:47 IST: FREE-KICK! Marcelo Brozovic fouls Antoine Griezmann on a promising position.
20:47 IST: First real chance for France as Mbappe tries to cross the ball from the right wing but no real threat.
20:45 IST: Croatia are catching France on the break. No Croatian player on the six-yard box for the Perisic cross. France 0-0 Croatia after 15 minutes
20:42 IST: WHAT A BALL that was by Rakitic to Perisic. Superb take by Perisic but Lloris was there to take it in the 11th minute.
20:42 IST: This match reminds us of the semi-final between France and Belgium. France seem to be clearing all the danger thrown at them by Croatia just like they did against Belgium.
20:39 IST: CORNER for Croatia! Important tackle by Mbappe on Ivan Strinic. Modric with the corner and Giroud clears it easily.
20:37 IST: Seven minutes up and Croatia have the lion's share of possession.
20:34 IST: Perisic wins the ball well and Umtiti clears the danger. Throw-in for Croatia. Easily dealt with by the French defenders.
20:32 IST: FOUL! Modric fouls Samuel Umtiti in the first minute.
20:30 IST: Kick off. The first-half of the FIFA 2018 World Cup final begins.
20:25 IST: The teams are out in the middle amid loud cheers from the crowd. Their respective National Anthems are being played. First up was France and Croatia's followed soon after.
20:22 IST: The two teams are out in the tunnel as they await their biggest match of their lives while the World Cup trophy is brought onto the pitch by the 2014 champions Germany skipper Philip Lahm.
20:19 IST: We are now moments away from the epic World Cup 2018 final.
20:12 IST: Nicky Jam, Will Smith and Era Istrefi are performing on the official song of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia 'Live It Up'.
20:02 IST: The closing ceremony is underway with a host of performers on the pitch.
19:47 IST: The fans are all eagerly waiting for this epic clash.
19:40 IST: India cricketer Gautam Gambhir is rooting for Croatia and sprint legend Usain Bolt is attending the final.
19:36 IST: France (4-3-3)
Hugo Lloris (capt); Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez; Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante; Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Blaise Matuidi; Olivier Giroud
Danijel Subasic; Sime Vrsaljko, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic; Luka Modric (capt), Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Rakitic; Ante Rebic, Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Perisic
19:06 IST: Both sides are unchanged from their semi-final victories over Belgium and England respectively. Didier Deschamps and Zlatko Dalic have reposed faith with the same playing XIs that brought them to the Final.
18:58 IST: The team list is out for both France and Croatia.
18:47 IST: Before we get into the match groove, you may read how Croatia and France got to the World Cup finals.
18:30 IST: FACT! Ivan Perisic has been involved in 10 goals at major tournaments for Croatia (6 goals, 4 assists), the joint-most along with Davor Suker (9 goals, 1 assist).
18:20 IST: Croatia have triumphed in their three knockout matches at Russia 2018 despite conceding the opening goal in each of them. They are the first and only team in World Cup history to avoid defeat after trailing in three knockout matches in a single edition.
18:18 IST: FACT! Antoine Griezmann has been involved in 5 goals at the 2018 World Cup (3 goals, 2 assists), no French player has done better in a single tournament over the last 50 years.
18:00 IST: The trophy that everyone has been waiting for has arrived.
17:55 IST: TRIVIA! With an average age of 26 years and 10 days at the start of the World Cup, France could become the youngest squad since Brazil's beloved champions of 1970 (25 years and 5 days at start) to lift the Trophy.
17:52 IST: Welcome to the live match updates of the 2018 FIFA World Cup final between France and Croatia.
Les Bleus laboured through their group, beating Australia and Peru by the odd goal and drawing with Denmark in the only goalless game of the tournament. Beaten on penalties by Italy in the 2006 final, France's hunger is all the greater after the agony of their defeat as hosts against Portugal in the Euro 2016 final. It has been a gruelling, exhausting run for Zlatko Dalic's team, and they must rouse themselves for one last effort. "We took the difficult path, probably we will be the only team at a World Cup to have played eight games to get to a final if you tally up all the minutes," admitted Dalic.