90+5min: And it’s all over! FRANCE WIN THE WORLD CUP!
87min: Croatia continue to huff and puff and not give up, but France staying organized and strong.
81min: Giroud makes way for Fekir; Pjaca comes on for Strinic. Croatia have one more change remaining.
78min: Rakitic drags a shot just wide as Croatia not giving up.
71min: Kramaric is Croatia’s first sub; replaces Rebic. France respond by putting on Tolisso for Matuidi.
68min: Errr... Lloris? The goalkeeper gifts a goal to Mandzukic to make it 4-2, France.
65min: And now it is four as Mbappé finds the low corner from 20 yards. 4-1, France!
61min: Brozovic prevents a sure fourth with a last-gasp lunge clearance as Giroud’s overhead kick pass almost finds Griezmann.
59min: Mbappe chases down a Pogba long-ball, dances around, waits for support. Finds it in Griezmann, who lays it off to Pogba. His first shot is blocked. His second finds the back of the net! 3-1, France.
54min: Brief delay for idiots running on to the pitch, before France make the first change of the game, and it’s a surprising one as N’Zonzi replaces Kanté.
52min: Giroud, Pogba, and Mbappe combine for a counter, the latter turns the corner against Vida but Lloris makes the big save.
50min: Modric takes latest corner, cleared but only as far as Vrasljko. His first-time volley is well wide.
49min: Goal-saving touch from Varane to take the ball away from Perisic. Lloris clears. But here come Croatia again.
48min: Rebic tests Lloris, who pushes it over the bar. Modric takes the corner, after a bit of a scramble, it’s a goal kick for France.
46min: Back underway (no changes) and straight back into the action, with Lloris catch a cross and Griezmann hitting a long shot after some great hold-up play by Giroud.
45+3min: Lloris doesn’t come for the cross, but puts off Perisic enough and the half comes to an end with France leading 2-1. Aaaand breathe.
45+1min: Rakitic takes the corner after Umtiti receives treatment; Vida misses the open header at the far post.
43min: Modric swings in the latest free kick, Perisic wins the initially header, Lovren’s eventual shot blocked for a corner. Rakitic takes, cleared for another corner. Rakitic clears again, Giroud clears in the scramble, but Umtiti stays down after a Croatian player lands very awkwardly on his leg.
41min: Lucas Hernandez joins Kante in the book.
40min: Perisic looks to make amends and puts in excellent cross from the left. Rebic swings, misses. What a chance!
38min: After a bit of further delay, Griezmann steps up ... and SCORES! 2-1, France!
33min: Croatia give away a cheap corner on a Lloris goal kick. Perisic clears. But France complain about a handball and the referee goes to VAR... the referee consults the video, AND AWARDS THE PENALTY!
27min: Kanté unlucky to earn the game’s first yellow as he accidentally clips the ankles of a Croatia player bursting through the middle. Modric takes the free kick, the ball eventually finds its way to Perisic at the top of the box, and the in-form winger blasts one past Lloris. 1-1!
24min: Bodies everywhere as Modric swings in another cross. Referee takes path of least resistence and doesn’t make any decision.
23min: Vida with the crucial tackle as Mbappe and Griezmann suddenly find themselves 2-v-1.
21min: Croatia’s turn to win a free kick, but Vida heads over from Modric’s delivery.
18min: Giroud battles for the ball, wins it, and France creates their first chance. Mbappe’s cross is cleared, but France keep the ball. Griezmann then wins a foul in a dangerous position ... which he takes ... AND IT’S GOAL! It goes down as a Mandzukic own goal. 1-0 France!
15min: After a bit of possession, Croatia break forward, but Perisic’s cross is cut out for a throw. Croatia with 60% of the possession thus far.
10min: Perisic mis-hits the cross as Croatia keep up the pressure.
8min: Strinic, Rakitic combine well on the left; Mbappe blocks the cross for a corner. Varane heads it clear. But Croatia have it back. Pavard then wins a header against Perisic before Giroud and Pogba complete the clearance and the latter wins the foul to relieve the pressure.
4min: On the opposite flank, Rebic carves out a cross but Mandzukic beaten to it. Kante eventually finishes the clearance.
3min: Perisic, slayer of England, steals the ball from Pavard but is crowded out in the penalty area. Umtiti clears for a throw.
2min: Pogba on the receiving end of the first Croatian foul.
KICK-OFF: Croatia get us underway to a massive roar from the crowd and in front of the biggest worldwide audience of any sporting event in the world
And so we come, to the end of the road. Can you let go of this surprisingly fun World Cup?
It’s going to be hard, but soon the club season will be upon us and football will reign and it will be good. Maybe.
But before all that, it’s time for the main event, the big game, the final. France vs. Croatia. Been there, done that vs. never have, and maybe never will again. The two best midfields of the entire tournament. Coincidence? Probably not.
It is in midfield from where N’Golo Kanté will hope to lead France to victory, while in front of him, Olivier Giroud starts.
Here we go.
France starting lineup (4-2-3-1):
Lloris | Hernandez, Umtiti, Varane, Pavard | Pogba, Kanté | Matuidi, Griezmann, Mbappé | Giroud
Substitutes from: Kimpembe, Lemar, Dembélé, Tolisso, N’Zonzi, Mandanda, Rami, Fekir, Sidibé, Thauvin, Mendy, Areola
Croatia starting lineup (4-2-3-1):
Subašić | Strinić, Vida, Lovren, Vrsaljko | Brozović, Rakitić | Perišić, Modrić, Rebić | Mandžukić
Substitutes from: Livaković, Ćorluka, Kovačić, Kramarić, Kalinić, Jedvaj, Bradarić, Čaleta-Car, Badelj, Pjaca, Pivarić
Date / Time: Sunday, July 15, 2018, 16:00 BST; 11am EDT
Venue: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
Referee: Néstor Pitana (Argentina)
On TV: ITV 1, BBC One (UK); FOX, Telemundo (USA); elsewhere
Streaming online: ITV Hub, BBC iPlayer (UK); FOX Sports Go, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo; Sling World Cup (USA)