Brave Croatia fail in their bid to lift the World Cup

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Time Out contributors
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Despite their best efforts and an incredible campaign, the Croatian national football team have failed in their attempt to bring the World Cup home. Croatian were beaten by France in a game watched by millions around the world.

In the game, France opened the scoring, just before the 20-minute mark, with an own goal from Mario Mandžukić. But this result went against the run of play; Croatia dominated most of the first half and so there was little surprise when Croatia equalised, just ten minutes later, from a brilliant left-footed Ivan Perišić strike.

Less than ten minutes later again, France regained the lead from a penalty awarded using VAR technology. It was a highly controversial decision which saw the referee several times consult the pitch side replay screen. Ultimately he decided that Ivan Perišić had deliberately handled the ball in the penalty area. Antoine Griezmann cooly slotted in the penalty.

In the second half, around the 60-minute mark, Paul Pogba scored and around five minutes later, teenager Kylian Mbappe took the score to 4 - 1.

Croatia took one back, with Mario Mandžukić taking advantage of a terrible mistake by France'a goalkeeper. But France slowed the rate of play down, frustrating Croatia and in the end, Croatia simply ran out of the time necessary to equal France's lead.

Although they have lost the final, Croatia's national team will return home as heroes. They succeeded in reaching further in the competition than the country ever has before, defeating the likes of Nigeria, Iceland, England, Argentina and Russia along the way. An estimated 100, 000 will line the streets of Zagreb tomorrow to greet the heroic returning players.

The strength of the French national team ultimately proved too much for the older Croatian side. But the likes of goalkeeper Danijel Subašić, striker Mario Mandžukić, defenders Ivan Strinić and Domagoj Vida and the midfield trio of Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić and Ivan Perišić can all return home with their heads held high after giving their all in the campaign.

Time for a summer holiday now guys, before you return to your individual clubs for pre season training. Take a rest, you've certainly earned it. Croatia is proud of you all.

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