Champions France hoist the World Cup in Moscow

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French President Emmanuel Macron was on-hand Sunday at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium as Les Bleus bested Croatia in the final to claim their first World Cup triumph since 1998. "That has really hit me", said 32-year-old French fan Benjamin Haddad. "I knew what the World Cup was, but I realized the magnitude of it years later". "I'm very proud of this team".

Mbappe had just shown his electrifying speed in the 52nd minute when play was held up by four protesters.

Putin was later on the field during a downpour to award medals to the players. As thunder pealed and lightning cracked, Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino handed France captain Hugo Lloris the gold World Cup trophy.

It was nearly as much of a breeze as the 1998 final for Les Bleus, ultimately.

France are the 2018 World Cup Champions after they defeated their European counterparts Croatia 4-2.

France coach Didier Deschamps, who lifted the World Cup as national team captain in 1998 on home soil, told a news conference: "I don't want to talk about me but what I remember is my own history and that adventure is linked to these players' adventure".

In the second-half, France added two more goals - from Manchester United's Paul Pogba in the 59th minute and Paris Saint Germain prodigy Kylian Mbappe in the 65th. Mbappe broke to the edge of the box and his cross was knocked down by Griezmann into the path of Pogba, the Manchester United man fired home at the second attempt. He had total confidence in his left-footed shot right after having total confidence in his right-footed shot, showing great technical skill with both feet.

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Croatia had largely been the better side and levelled when Ivan Perisic finished expertly from just inside the box.

There was the VAR decision by the Argentine referee Nestor Pitana for the penalty that might have gone away had he not been called over the review screen.

The goal put France up 4-1, closing the door on Croatia, which had been the better team until Mbappe took control. He inadvertently sent it past his own goalkeeper.

Croatia have shown impressive resolve to withstand three successive matches that went to extra-time - Mario Mandzukic's victor in the 109th minute defeated England in the semi-final on Wednesday.

But the three-goal lead was too much for the red-and-white-checkered squad that made a habit of coming back and played three straight 120-minute games before the final.

After three successive extra-time knockout games the chances of another Croatian comeback seemed slight but they looked dead and buried six minutes later. In spite of the fact that Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic was charging at him full bore, Lloris opted to take a rather casual touch before clearing the danger.

France, strongly fancied to win the final, started their tournament in France slowly, beating Australia and Peru by the odd goal before a goalless stalemate with Denmark saw them top the group.

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