France 4-2 Croatia: Player Ratings as Les Bleus Blow Croatia Away to Win Their Second World Cup

France have been crowned the 2018 World Cup champions after they defeated a plucky Croatia side 4-2 on Sunday evening.

It was a thrilling match full of talking points and was a fitting end to an outstanding tournament. France slowly grew into the match and goals from Griezmann, Mbappe, Pogba and a Mandzukic own goal decided the final. 

Perisic and Mandzukic got the goals for Croatia, but their incredible World Cup came to an end right at the final hurdle.

Here’s a look at how the players fared after a spectacular final.

1. France: Goalkeeper and Defenders

Hugo Lloris 4/10 – Pulled off a stunning save early in the second half but that was undone by a dreadful mistake to allow Croatia back into the match.

Benjamin Pavard 6/10 – Had a nervy start to the match but gradually improved as the game progressed.

Raphael Varane 8/10 – Rock solid at the back for Les Bleus and made one or superb tackles.  

Samuel Umtiti 7/10 – Put in some heroic tackles for his side and put his body on the line on a number of occasions.

Lucas Hernandez 7/10 – Put in a regimented performance on the left flank and didn’t let Rebic get the better of him on many occasions. Got forward brilliantly for France’s fourth goal to lay the ball off for Mbappe’s goal.

2. France: Midfielders

N’Golo Kante 5/10 – Uncharacteristically disappointing performance from the Chelsea man, looked off the pace and was taken off early in the second half. 

Paul Pogba 8/10 – Scored a superb goal for France’s third goal. Started the attack with a beautifully weighted pass and finished it with a lovely stroked finish from outside the box. 

Blaise Matuidi 7/10 – Steady performance as usual from the Juventus man and barely put a foot wrong.

3. France: Forwards

Kylian Mbappe 9/10- Had a very quiet first half by his standards but soon exploded into life in the second half and tore the Croatian defence apart with his pace on a number of occasions. Scored a lovely goal for France’s fourth.

Antoine Griezmann 8/10 – Kept his cool to stroke home a penalty to put France back in he lead.

Olivier Giroud 6/10 – If ever a single performance summed up an individual’s World Cup, it was this one. Worked tirelessly but never looked a threat in front of goal. 

4. France: Substitutes

Steven N’zonzi 8/10 – Stepped into the game early in the second half and looked brilliant. Calm and composed in the centre of the park. 

Corentin Tolisso 6/10 – Came into the side and looked comfortbale on the ball and in defence.

Nabil Fekir 6/10 – Kept up France’s attacking threat despite being pinned back during the final exchanges.

5. Croatia: Goalkeeper & Defenders

Danijel Subasic 5/10 – Couldn’t keep up his outstanding performances and looked a little off the pace for France’s third and fourth goals.

Sime Vrsaljko 6/10 – Did a decent job at right back and very few chances materialised from his flank.

Dejan Lovren 6/10 – Had a solid start and none of the goals can really be attributed to the Liverpool man. 

Domagoj Vida 6/10 – Picked up an unlikely assist by laying the ball off for Perisic. Looked as rugged as ever but there were moments of unease well dealing with the pace of Mbappe.

Ivan Strinic 6/10 – It was looking like Strinic was on course to putting in one of the best defensive performances of the tournament but he was eventually undone by Mbappe’s pace in the second half.

6. Croatia: Midfielders

Ante Rebic 6/10 – Worked very hard as usual but his influence on the game was limited due to Hernandez’ performance at right back.

Ivan Rakitic 7/10 – Controlled the midifeld in the first half and demonstrated his range of passing but couldn’t quite keep up that level of performance in the second half as France took control of the match. 

Luka Modric 6/10 – Wasn’t quite his night. Couldn’t stamp his authority on the game like he did in previous matches but recycled possession well.

Marcelo Brozovic 6/10 – Did a reasonable job screening his defence but he wasn’t as effective as he was against England.

Ivan Perisic 7/10 – Scored a magnificent goal to level the tie mid way through the first half but gave away a penalty for hand ball minutes later.

7. Croatia: Forward

Mario Mandzukic 7/10 – Has the unfortunate label as the first player to ever score an own goal in a World Cup final. Despite this, he played very well up top for Croatia and was as combative as ever. Redeemed himself by capitalising on a Hugo Lloris mistake to pull one back for Croatia.

8. Croatia: Substitutes

Andrej Kramaric 5/10 – Had little to no impact after coming on but in reality the game seemed to be beyond Croatia at that point.

Marko Pjaca 6/10 – Made a few decent runs into the French box in search of a way back into the match but couldn’t latch on to any balls put towards him.


Tottenham Midfielder Mousa Dembele Reportedly Turns Down Move to Serie A Giants Inter

?As he enters the final year of his contract, ?Tottenham’s Belgian midfielder Mousa Dembele has rejected a move to ?Inter, insisting he will evaluate his options when he returns from the World Cup.

?The Sun are reporting that Inter were one of the first teams to register an interest in Dembele, but the 30-year-old has rejected their proposal as he searches for a better offer.

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City - Premier League

Other clubs are expected to move for Dembele following Belgium’s final ?World Cup match against England, meaning Dembele may have a lot of options to choose from.

However, he is also believed to be prepared to reject the offers and wait until his contract has expired, in order to secure the best possible deal for himself.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino is open to offers for Dembele, but will not only entertain significant offers for the midfielder. If no club offers an acceptable proposal, Dembele is willing to wait until he is a free agent, meaning clubs would not need to pay a transfer fee and could therefore offer Dembele a higher salary.

Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

The Sun have previously reported that Dembele is not willing to play for another English team, and has therefore taken advice from his Belgian teammates about playing in a different country.

The Belgian squad has representatives from multiple leagues around the world. Axel Witsel currently plays for Tianjin Quanjian in China, and defender Laurent Ciman currently plays in the MLS. Both are believed to have discussed moves with Dembele.

Dembele is a popular figure amongst Tottenham fans, but has fallen down the pecking order in recent years at White Hart Line. After joining from ?Fulham in 2012, Dembele has made 236 appearances for Tottenham, including 39 outings last season.

France v Belgium - Semi Final FIFA World Cup 2018

However, he completed 90 minutes in less than half of these matches as Pochettino has frequently opted for Tottenham’s younger players, such as Eric Dier.

Dembele also found himself as a substitute for the majority of Belgium’s World Cup clashes. He made four appearances during the tournament, completing 90 minutes only once. 


Wolves’ Portuguese Revolution Set to Continue as Joao Mario Nears Molineux Move

?Inter midfielder Joao Mario is reportedly on the brink of joining ?Wolves, and the transfer could be completed at any moment.

The 25-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan at West Ham, where he scored twice in 13 ?Premier League appearances.

The Wolves rumours come courtesy of ?French journalist John Ferreira, who claims that Mario could become the seventh Portuguese player to join Nuno Espirito Santo at Molineux.

Joao Mario is a versatile midfielder who is naturally suited to a central midfield role but has also been known to play in attacking midfield, defensive midfield, and on both sides of a midfield four.

He spent the first years of his youth career at Porto before switching to Sporting CP in 2004. He was at the Estadio Alvalade for over a decade, coming through the ranks before making his first team debut in 2011.

West Ham United v Southampton - Premier League

He made over 90 appearances for Sporting before joining Inter in 2016. He was a regular in his first season at the San Siro but became a more peripheral figure last year and was loaned to ?West Ham in January.

Mario was a key part of the Portugal squad that won Euro 2016, and he also played in all of the national team’s matches at this summer’s World Cup as they were eliminated in the last 16.

BSC Young Boys v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Uhrencup 2018

Mario’s international teammate Rui Patricio has already joined Wolves this summer after the enforced termination of his Sporting contract, becoming the third Portuguese player to move to Molineux during this transfer window.


Former Inter Manager Frank de Boer Criticises Brazilian Striker Gabriel Barbosa’s ‘Poor Work Ethic’

?Former ?Inter boss Frank de Boer has heaped heavy criticism on 21-year old Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa in a revealing interview. 

Speaking to ?ESPN, the highly respected coach claimed he had a poor work ethic and thought of himself as ‘a superstar’. De Boer worked with the striker shortly in his time as Inter boss when they signed the striker from Santos in August 2016. 

ICC Singapore - Bayern v FC Internzionale

The Dutch coach said: “Gabigol thought he was still in Brazil and would walk rather than run. He wanted to receive the ball without running into space, he didn’t understand that he had to train hard. 

“It’s no coincidence that with me he practically never played for Inter. He has to look at himself in the mirror, prove every day that he can be the best or at the very least a good player, not thinking himself a superstar. 

FC Internazionale v Bologna FC - TIM Cup

“After all, he only won the Olympics with Brazil and that’s it…he has to prove to himself, his teammates and the coach that he’s a good player.

“The potential is there to be a fantastic player, as he has a great left foot, but European football is not the same as in Brazil. I hope he can learn that soon, otherwise it’ll be a loss for Brazilian football too.”

SL Benfica v Sporting Braga - Taca da Liga 2017/2018

After exciting for Santos, Gabigol arrived to Milan in 2016 and struggled for goals. Finding the net only once in the 2016-17 season and failing to register one start in Serie A, he was loaned out to Benfica the following season.

After his struggles continued in Portugal, the Brazilian was loaned back to Santos for the remainder of last season where his boyhood club have the chance to resign him when the loan expires at the end of December. 


PSG Prepared to Offload Angel Di Maria as Inter & Atletico Madrid Show ‘Concrete’ Interest

?Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel is willing to part with Angel Di Maria this summer, with both ?Inter and ?Atletico Madrid showing ‘concrete’ interest in securing the winger. 

The Argentina international once again faces an uncertain future in the French capital, a year on from a failed move to Barcelona and months after being pushed towards a switch to China. 

Paris Saint Germain v Rennes - French League 1

According to French outlet ?Paris United, Tuchel prefers to keep hold of Goncalo Guedes ahead of the 30-year-old and is eager to secure a lucrative fee for the former Manchester United man while he remains a valuable asset. 

The report claims that Di Maria returned to Paris immediately upon Argentina’s exit from the World Cup to discuss his future with the club’s hierarchy. 

The talks seemingly signalled the Parisians’ desire to move him on as Tuchel’s arrival has caused a change in direction as Guedes has been identified as his replacement. 

Portugal v Morocco: Group B - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Both Inter and Atletico Madrid have shown ‘concrete’ interest in securing a deal for Di Maria three-years since his €50m arrival at PSG – where is now valued in the region of €40m. 

Tuchel’s preference to introduce Guedes into the first team next season comes after the Portuguese winger spent last season on loan with Valencia, scoring six goals and providing 11 assists across 40 games.

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However, the report claims the 21-year-old is eager to remain with the Spanish outfit next season to continue his development. 

Di Maria made a total of 135 appearances for PSG with a return of 50 goals and 52 assists.