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Luka Modric unable to muster much magic as he wins Golden Ball but fails to shine in World Cup final

Matt Jones rates the Croatia players following their 4-2 defeat to France in the 2018 World Cup final

Matt Jones 2018/07/15

France are world champions for the second time after surging to a 4-2 win over Croatia in a scintillating World Cup final.

In a final that produced quality when we perhaps expected caution, Mario Mandzukic’s own goal opened the scoring. Ivan Perisic’s thunderous equaliser was merited, but he then gave away the penalty from which Antoine Griezmann restored Les Bleus’ lead.

They pulled away through Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe goals in the second half, although Hugo Lloris’ inexplicable error gifted Mandzukic a goal at the other end as Croatia made things interesting.

But Didier Deschamps’ side held on as he joined Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer as the only three players to win the the World Cup as both player and coach.

Here we rate the Croatia players:

 

CROATIA (4-2-3-1)

Danijel Subasic – 4:

Couldn’t maintain penalty heroics. Saved well from Mbappe to keep it 2-1 but should have done better for third and fourth goals.

Sime Vrsaljko – 7:

Continued his sumptuous summer as he gave Hernandez headaches bombing forward in the second half.

Dejan Lovren – 6:

Won more aerials (5) than any teammate but caught out by France’s lightning pace and Griezmann’s guile.

Domagoj Vida – 7:

A couple of vital interventions. Touch to tee up Perisic showed poise. Had a chance to make it 2-2 but flashed header wastefully wide. Led Croatia in clearances (4).

Ivan Strinic – 6:

Struggled to keep tabs on Mbappe. But got forward as Croatia showed courage. Two clearances.

Ivan Rakitic – 6:

Flashed a drive just wide as Croatia pushed, but again found himself on the periphery. Two key passes but little penetration otherwise.

Marcelo Brozovic – 7:

Gave away the free-kick that led to the opener, although replays showed he didn’t touch Griezmann. Vital interception prevented France making it 4-1. Five tackles led his side.

Ante Rebic – 5:

Has been a constant threat this month and jointly led Croatia in dribbles (2), but lacked the incision he has brought to this side.

Luka Modric – 5:

Probed and prodded as Croatia started brightly, but failed to really stamp his mark. Will be disappointed his poorest performance came in the final.

Ivan Perisic – 8:

Anonymous up until the semis, showed up when it mattered. His goal was phenomenal. Handed France the chance to go back in front.

Mario Mandzukic – 5:

Own goal gave France the lead. Gave his side hope as his persistence led to Lloris’ error. Otherwise looked isolated, and exhausted.

 

SUBS:

Andrej Kramaric – 6:

Introduced to assists Mandzukic and overload France. Ran and probed, but couldn’t affect proceedings.

Marko Pjaca N/A:

Introduced for only his third involvement. Little time to have an impact

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