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World Cup final 2018: France used Euro 2016 pain to earn ‘supreme coronation’ in Moscow, says coach Didier Deschamps

The France coach claimed the hurt of shock defeat to Portugal two years ago made his team more determined to triumph in Moscow

Liam Twomey
Sunday 15 July 2018 18:55 BST
France lift the World Cup trophy after beating Croatia in final

Didier Deschamps claimed the experience of losing the Euro 2016 final on home turf played a key role in France winning the World Cup at Croatia's expense in Moscow.

France spent much of the first half on the back foot but went in at half-time 2-1 up, thanks to a Mario Mandzukic own goal and a controversial Antoine Griezmann penalty that cancelled out Ivan Perisic's spectacular strike.

Paul Pogba curled in a decisive third before Kylian Mbappe became only the second teenager ever to score in a World Cup final, matching the achievement of Brazil legend Pele in 1958 and ensuring that a Hugo Lloris howler to gift Mandzukic a second Croatia goal counted for nothing.

France's second World Cup triumph also saw Deschamps - who lifted the trophy as captain in 1998 - join Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer in the exclusive club of men to win football's biggest prize as both a player and a coach.

But amid the celebrations on the Luzhniki Stadium pitch he was keen to credit his team.

"How marvellous!" he said. "It's a young team, who are on the top of the world. Some are champions at the age of 19. We did not play a huge game but we showed mental quality. And we scored four goals anyway. They deserved to win.

"The group worked so hard and we had some tough moments along the way. It hurt so much to lose the Euro two years ago, but it made us learn too.

"The win is not about me, it's the players who won the game. For 55 days, we have done a lot of work. It is the supreme coronation. We are proud to be French, to be Blues. The victory in the match belongs to them. Vive le Republic."

Griezmann was once again France's key man in attack, winning the free-kick that led to Mandzukic's own goal and nervelessly beating Danijel Subasic from 12 yards after Perisic was judged to have handled in the box.

"I don't realise yet what it is," he said. "I'm very proud of this team: the players and the staff, the technical staff and medical staff. We were really a united group.

"We did something incredible, we made history and we are going to enjoy it. We're going to see our families and we're going to party. Tomorrow in France will be the same, we're going to party with the French people."

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