France Conquers the World

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MOHAMMAD TAZEEM

Beginning their campaign with a 2-1 victory over Australia, France defeated Peru in a hard fought 1-0 win and had to end their group stages with a draw against Denmark. In the round 16 , they had to face Leo Messi’s Argentina and, my God, what a game it was! Antoine Griezmann took the lead for France converting from the spot but Angel Di Maria’s stunner stunned the stadium before half time. Argentina took the lead with Mercado scoring in the 48th minute and everyone thought that the South Americans were going to win. But the 22 year old VFB Stuttgart defender Benjamin Pavard volleyed the game level again. Kylian Mbappé tortured the Argentine defense with splendid runs and got his name on the score sheet not once but twice. Sergio Augero scored a header in stoppage time by a typical Leo Messi assist but it was way too late for a comeback and the match ended 4-3 to France. In the quarter finals, the French knocked Uruguay out with a 2-0 victory. Rafa Varane and Antoine Griezmann were the two goal scorers. The Uruguayan defender, José Giménez was seen crying in the 89th minute as it became increasingly certain that the Uruguayans would be eliminated. That’s football. In the Semi finals, France met neighbors Belgium. Sensational saves from Hugo Lloris and Courtois prevented the game from setting ablaze before Umtiti’s header in the 51st minute. It was a super header from the young Barcelona Centre back from Antoine Griezmann’s corner and this time there was nothing Courtois could have done about it; a resilient defensive unit proved too tough for Roberto Martinez’s men to overcome and the brave Belgians were eliminated. In final in the Russian capital, it was the determined Croatia in the Les Bleus’ way to glory. The Croatian underdogs dominated since the start of the game but it was France who scored first goal with a sensational free kick from the Athletico Madrid superstar Antoine Griezmann flicked into his own net by Mario Mandžukić. The Juventus forward became the first ever player to score an own goal in a World Cup final. Ivan Perišić’s rocket levelled the match in the 29th minute but the Inter Milan winger played a part in the second French goal as Griezmann’s corner hit Perišić’s hand. The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) offered Argentinian referee Nestor Pitana a chance to review it and, after a brief period, he awarded the penalty. Griezmann stepped up and slotted home the spot kick effortlessly. France led 3-1 in 60 minutes as Pogba slotted his shot into the corner. Mbappé then had his say on the grandest stages of them, all by thrashing a low shot in the bottom corner for France’s fourth – the youngest player to score in a World Cup final since Pele in 1958. In the 68th minute, Lloris made a terrible blunder while trying to dribble around Mandžukić, but instead the striker got a toe on the ball to stab it into the back of the net. Croatia did everything they could but in the end their tired legs gave up and France won final by 4 goals to 2. Since 1982 there was no World Cup final goal outside the box now we have 3 in a match. This was a World cup final no one will ever forget: an own goal, a penalty goal, a screaming goal, a comedy goal and two brilliant goals. Ladies and gentlemen, the French are the champions of the world.

— The author is a Class 11th student at Delhi Public School Srinagar. He tweets at: @tweetazeemer and can be reached at: tazeem999@yahoo.com