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Croatia unlucky but France deserving world champions: Ivan Rakitic

first_imgIvan Rakitic was dejected and broken after Croatia’s attempt to win FIFA World Cup 2018 was dashed by France. Les Bleus won the final 4-2 in Moscow on Sunday to be crowned world champions for the second time in 20 years.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.FIFA World Cup 2018: Full list of prize winnersFrance, 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.Also read – France win World Cup 2018: Coach Didier Deschamps says it is ‘marvellous’Rakitic was one of Croatia’s heroes in the World Cup but he could not step on the night it mattered. The Croats gave away an own goal and they could never really keep a firm grasp on proceedings thereafter. This was Croatia’s best ever finish in a World Cup (Reuters Photo)Rakitic said Croatia were unlucky to be on the losing side but he was gracious in defeat.”We were the better team in the first half, we were attacking, but we were unlucky tonight. They scored four goals from their three shots on goal. But I congratulate France, they deserved it,” he said at the end of the match.Also read – France equal 60-year-old record to win second World CupadvertisementCroatia were the lowest-ranked team to ever reach the final of a World Cup. Up against a dominating French team, Croatia put up a brave face but at the end of the day, they were just not good enough.Antoine Griezmann, one of France’s protagonists in their World Cup triumph, said the victory felt surreal.Also read – Deschamps creates history as France win World Cup after 20 years”I don’t know where I am, it is great… Very happy. It was a difficult match. Croatia play a great game. We started timidly. We knew it was a World Cup Final. We got into the game and on counter-attacks, we made the difference. Very happy. We look forward to lifting the Cup and taking it to France,” an elated Griezmann said after the match.Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic also praised the French team for winning the World Cup but went onto add that his players were great and he is proud of them.”I congratulate France on their title. We played well in the first 20 minutes, we controlled the game. Then there was an own goal from a set play. We came back to life, dominated and then the penalty was given.”I have to congratulate my players, it was maybe the best game we played in these championships; we controlled the match but we conceded. Against such a strong side as France you must not make mistakes. We are a bit sad but we have to be proud as well for what we’ve done,” said Dalic.(With inputs from Reuters)last_img read more