Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic was not happy after France were awarded a critical penalty in the first half of the World Cup Final.
With the game tied at one late in the first half, Argentine referee Nestor Pitana used VAR to award a controversial handball penalty against Croatia. Pitana judged that Croatia’s Ivan Perisic intentionally handled the ball in the box, awarding the penalty that ultimately made it 2-1 to France.
— Steven Bartlett (@SteveBartlettSC) July 15, 2018
After the match, Dalic gave credit to France, but made clear that he felt the penalty award was ridiculous.
#cro coach Zlatko Dalic to @ben_rumsby on penalty given by VAR: "I never comment on refereeing but let me say one sentence: in a World Cup Final you do not give that kind of penalty. But it in no way diminishes #fra's win."
— James Olley (@JamesOlley) July 15, 2018
VAR has definitely had an impact on the World Cup. Many would argue that, rightly or wrongly, it had a huge impact on the outcome of this match as well.
FOX’s World Cup coverage ended somewhat awkwardly, with what should have been an iconic shot of France lifting the trophy going somewhat awry.
After French captain Hugo Lloris was handed the trophy, FOX cut to a wide shot to capture the entire group of players celebrating their 4-2 victory over Croatia. There was just one problem: almost immediately after cutting to the shot, three men made it impossible for viewers to see what was going on.
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) July 15, 2018
The image of the World Cup winners lifting the trophy is an iconic one every time, and FOX will not be happy that their view of it was spoiled here. It wasn’t even FOX’s only gaffe of the broadcast, though the other one may not have been their fault.
This was the first time FOX Sports televised the World Cup, and their coverage wasn’t always popular with fans. Just about missing the trophy lift isn’t going to silence critics.
France have officially been crowned the kings of the soccer world, and the most powerful man in their nation is as excited as anyone about it.
Following his team’s 4-2 win over Croatia in the World Cup final on Sunday, French president Emmanuel Macron was so elated that he jumped onto a table and threw his arms in the air.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) July 15, 2018
After the match, Macron headed down to the field to individually congratulate all of the players. He clearly didn’t mind the pouring rain after the skies opened up in Russia.
— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) July 15, 2018
We also saw some tremendous displays of sportsmanship from Macron and Croatia president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.
— Maiza Hameed (@MaizaHameed) July 15, 2018
In a game that featured everything from remarkable goals to one of the worst goalkeeping blunders you will ever see, Macron’s unmatched enthusiasm was a fitting end.
France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris made some remarkable saves throughout the World Cup, but he made one of the most embarrassing blunders during the final match against Croatia on Sunday. Fortunately, France had a sizable lead at the time.
Lloris received a pass from one of his teammates roughly halfway through the second half, and he tried to dribble around a Croatian attacker rather than simply booting it away. Let’s just say it did not go well.
Oh no Hugo Lloris, what is you doing? pic.twitter.com/ui8g6ZOiPp
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 15, 2018
That was about as bad of a blunder as you’ll see, and all of the good things Lloris had done to that point would have been forgotten if France didn’t have a three-goal lead.
Huge Lloris with a major gaff to give Croatia a little life, France still up 4-2 pic.twitter.com/8ro3zt28TD
— The Sports Quotient (@SportsQuotient) July 15, 2018
Karius "I made a huge mistake in the biggest game in club football. Nobody will top it this year".
— Raphael Wilson (@089968Raph) July 15, 2018
Thats another HUGE Lloris mistake#WorldCupFinal2018
— Javteshwar Singh (@Javteshwar99) July 15, 2018
Huge Lloris: Hold my beer pic.twitter.com/WFcrWuQDwW
— Ciaran Howley (@CiaranHowley) July 15, 2018
It should be noted that Lloris made arguably the best save of the entire World Cup to help France advance to the final, so he deserves credit for that. Either way, he’d love to have his error from Sunday back.
The first half of the World Cup Final on Sunday featured about as much action as possible, and some fans were furious that they were forced to miss a small portion of it due to a broadcasting error.
In the 40th minute of play between Croatia and France, Xfinity customers had their broadcast of the game cut out for a commercial. That’s not supposed to happen in the middle of a half during a soccer match, and fans went ballistic on Twitter:
Fox cut off World Cup final to show #xfinity commercial It said “future is awesome”, but what about present!!
— Dillip Nath (@realdillip) July 15, 2018
— Leah Leier (@LeahLeier) July 15, 2018
When Fox goes to a commercial in the middle of the World Cup Final pic.twitter.com/2sf7BkLwDA
— Masshole (@MasshoIe) July 15, 2018
If someone had just scored during that random commercial I think my dad would’ve punched the TV
— Abby Salvadore (@Slackadore42) July 15, 2018
— Mark F. #SaveTimeless (@mfuery38) July 15, 2018
WHY DID FOX GO TO COMMERCIAL????? pic.twitter.com/jA8VPYMBOj
— John Lovett (@jlove1982) July 15, 2018
France were leading 2-1 at the time. Their first goal came by way of an own goal, and the second was on a penalty kick that was awarded due to a handball in the box. Sandwiched between France’s two goals was a laser from Croatia to tie the score at 1-1, so you can understand why viewers didn’t want to miss any of the action.
There were many fears over whether Russia was prepared to host the 2018 World Cup, but at least one team had a very good experience from start to finish.
England manager Gareth Southgate had nothing but praise for the tournament’s organizers after their 2-0 defeat in the third-place playoff, stating that, despite a difficult relationship between the two countries politically, the tournament had been an excellent experience for the team.
Southgate thanks Russia 2018 organisers & volunteers. 'Our welcome in every city in Russia has been outstanding … there's a lot talked about the relationship between our two countries. On a personal level, mixing with people, we couldn't have been made more welcome'
— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) July 14, 2018
There were definitely worries about how things would go in Russia, which faced criticism over some repressive government policies and fears of racism. One England player was so worried about the latter that he asked his family not to make the trip with him. Fortunately, it seems that the worst has been avoided, and overall, Russia’s issues were a lot less significant.
One French magazine is feeling pretty confident about France’s chances of beating Croatia in the World Cup Final.
The front page of Saturday’s L’Equipe depicts a massive celebration on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, accompanied by a simple headline: “See you tomorrow.”
Cover of L'Équipe Magazine in France with the caption: "See you tomorrow" pic.twitter.com/ZkeY3h9Dds
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) July 13, 2018
It’s certainly a show of confidence from the French publication, who clearly believe they’re going to see off Croatia to win their first World Cup since 1998.
There is, however, the risk of Croatian players seeing this. One openly criticized the English media for underestimating them ahead of the semi-final, but nothing they did was quite as blatant as this. Perhaps they’ll see it and use it as motivation in the final.