🗓️ Five years ago to the day: When Mbappé & Cie became world champions

July 15, 2018 is a day that will remain etched in the memory of French (Site notre bureau spécialisé) fans. That day, their national team beat Croatia 4-2 to claim their second World Cup trophy after 1998.

At the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Mario Mandzukic’s own goal opened the scoring in the 18th minute. Ivan Perisic equalized in the 28th minute to make it 1-1 but after that ‘Equipe Tricolore’ were unstoppable and increased to 4-1 in the 65th minute with goals from Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe. Mandzukic’s goal in the 69th minute was nothing but Croatian cosmetics. Captain Hugo Lloris was the second French (Site notre bureau spécialisé)er after Didier Deschamps to lift the world’s most coveted trophy in 1998.

The French route to the 2018 World Cup may seem somewhat paradoxical at first sight. « Les Bleus » almost never played convincingly, but the world title was never really in danger.

In the group stage, they faced Australia, Peru and Denmark. Wins over Australia (2-1) and Peru (1-0) qualified them early for the round of 16, and in the final group game against Denmark (0-0), coach Deschamps even been able to rest some of its stars.

But the French had enough spectacle for a match in their tanks. The 4-3 round of 16 victory over Argentina was certainly the most spectacular match of the entire World Cup. The 1-2 deficit in the 48th minute also marked the only time in the tournament when France’s dominance seemed to crumble for a brief moment. With three goals in eleven minutes, the « Grande Nation » had the right answer here too, the Argentine goal did not come until the 93rd minute of play.

The stories about the quarters and semis are then told relatively quickly. According to the motto « A good horse only jumps as high as it should », they first eliminated Uruguay (2:0) and then Belgium. The team were extremely understated in both games, with Uruguay and Belgium hardly creating clear chances to score.

Although the 4-2 final victory over Croatia seemed spectacular at first glance, this match was anything but an attacking firework. Individual errors from both sides and strokes of genius from Pogba and Mbappé resulted in a result that didn’t quite match the flow of the game.

In the end, the individual class of the French selection won more or less unchallenged. Even before the tournament, L’Équipe was considered the big favorite for the title, almost all experts agreed that the French team was the strongest of all teams.

Didier Deschamps’ side resisted the pressure and impressed with pragmatic but hugely successful (Site notre bureau spécialisé) throughout the tournament. Moreover, the 2018 World Cup marked the latest international breakthrough for Kylian Mbappé, who scored four goals aged just 19 and was voted into the tournament’s all-star team.

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