France crowned Football World Cup champions after demolition of Croatia in final

Relive 1 NEWS NOW's live coverage of the 2018 Football World Cup final from Moscow, Russia.


Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron present the trophy to France captain Hugo Lloris, who naturally celebrates in style with his teammates. That'll be all from our coverage of the Football World Cup, thank you for joining us these last four weeks. We'll almost certainly be back in four years time, when Qatar host the tournament.


The heavens have opened over Moscow! The players and FIFA dignitaries, along with the French and Croatian heads of state are now completely drenched.


The quartet of match officials are also honoured for their work in the final. The runners-up Croatians are welcomed onto the stage to receive their silver medals.


After some lengthy celebrations, France are finally ready to lift the trophy. Kylian Mbappe is awarded the young player of the tournament for his stunning display throughout the World Cup.

Luka Modric is named the winner of the golden ball for the best player. England's Harry Kane is the winner of the golden boot, with six goals to his name. Thibaut Courtois of Belgium wins the golden glove for the best goalkeeper.

4:53am: FULLTIME - France 4 Croatia 2

That's it! France are the champions of the world once again! Croatia are beaten finalists but can hold their heads high! Les Bleus celebrate in style, they've been the best on display throughout Russia, and take the cup home as a result.

4:50am: 90+2 mins - France 4 Croatia 2

Pogba and Mbappe stride forward again, this time they don't look for goal, simply just holding possession to try and run the clock down.

4:48am: 90 mins - France 4 Croatia 2

Croatia really desperate now, with everyone forward. Vida up from centre back onto the left wing finds Rakitic, who shoots - well over the bar from distance though. Word is that we'll have five minutes added time.

4:44am: 86 mins - France 4 Croatia 2

Into the final 10 minutes and Croatia still searching for goals. Pjaca, on as a sub, tries to exchange passes with Vrsaljko, but the right back isn't on the same page as the ball goes out for a goal kick.

4:37am: 78 mins - France 4 Croatia 2

Chance for Croatia now! Kramaric beats his man on the left, before finding Rakitic inside him. The midfielder's shot rolls agonisingly past the post. Croatia have now had 14 shots to France's seven.

4:34am: 75 mins - France 4 Croatia 2

Vrsaljko and Perisic combine down the right, but Varane clears the danger with the header. Strinic now has a go down the left, but again France clear. Vrsaljko tries to shoot from deep, but Lloris watches it out untroubled.

4:27am: 69 mins - France 4 Croatia 2

GOAL!!! Croatia get one back! Lloris is caught napping on the ball, and Mandzukic appears to close him down, blocking his attempted clearance and diverting it goalward. What a final.

4:24am: 66 mins - France 4 Croatia 1

GOAL!!! France are on FIRE! Mbappe scores a fourth for France. Hernandez comes in from the left, before finding the teenager unmarked through the middle. Mbappe takes a touch, before firing a rocket past the shellshocked Subasic. Mbappe becomes the youngest to score in a World Cup final since Pele himself!

4:18am: 60 mins - France 3 Croatia 1

GOAL!!! Surely that seals it for France! Pogba plays Mbappe down the right hand side, he cuts back in before finding Griezmann. Griezmann finds Pogba again, before his shot is blocked. The rebound falls nicely for Pogba, who lashes in the second attempt. Croatia with a mountain to climb.

4:13am: 55 mins - France 2 Croatia 1

Rakitic crosses in for Mandzukic, but Lloris comes out to punch away - only he makes a hash of it to force the ball out for a Croatian corner. 

4:11am: 53 mins - France 2 Croatia 1

Pogba plays Mbappe clean through down the right and he's too quick for Strinic! Subasic saves the shot and Croatia hit back - only now there's a pitch invasion!

Slight delay in play now as the intruders a cleared. Croatia restart.

4:06am: 48 mins - France 2 Croatia 1

Chance for Croatia to start the second half! Rakitic plays Rebic through the middle, he gets a shot away and Lloris reaches out at full stretch to tip it over the bar. Corner for Croatia.

Modric takes, but the ball doesn't drop cleanly for Vida. France out of danger.

4:04am: 46 mins - France 2 Croatia 1

France get the second half started, they're now just 45 minutes away from their second ever World Cup win.

3:48am: HALFTIME - France 2 Croatia 1

What a half. Croatia have by far had the better opportunities, yet France are ahead through an own goal and a penalty. We'll be back soon for the resumption of this thrilling World Cup final.

3:45am: 45 mins - France 2 Croatia 1

Umtiti limps from the field, we're going to have three minutes of added time as Rakitic stands over the corner. He takes, but the ball misses everyone and goes behind for a goal kick.

3:44am: 44 mins - France 2 Croatia 1

Free kick for Croatia in the France half. Modric takes and finds Perisic who heads it down for Lovren, his shot hammers off Pavard and out for a corner. Umtiti turns it behind for another corner.

Rakitic takes again, but Giroud clears. Umtiti stays down for France, but Croatia play on before Pavard sends the ball out for a corner.

3:39am: 39 mins - France 2 Croatia 1

GOAL!!! Corner for France, won by Giroud. Griezmann to take again, Matuidi storms into the area but puts the header wide. France are pleading for handball against Perisic - and they have a serious claim there!

We're going to the VAR for the first time in a World Cup final. The penalty has been given and Croatia are livid! Griezmann will take the spot kick.

He goes bottom left, and he scores!!! France hit the front once again!

3:28am: 28 mins - France 1 Croatia 1

GOAL!!! Perisic breaks again, this time through the middle, but Kante takes him out. The France midfielder becomes the first player booked in the World Cup final as Croatia have a free kick.

Modric and Rakitic stand over it. Modric floats it to the far post where Vrsaljko heads to Mandzukic, who nods it back down to Perisic. The winger takes a touch before belting it home in style! Croatia are level!!!

3:21am: 21 mins - France 1 Croatia 0

Croatia with the chance to equalise from a free kick, wide on the right. Modric stands over it and curls the ball into the box, but Vida's header is over the bar.

3:19am: 19 mins - France 1 Croatia 0

GOAL!!! First real opportunity for France as Mbappe dances into the area. His attempted pullback is cleared by Vida out to Griezmann, but he's bought down by Brozovic to win France a free kick.

Griezmann to take, everyone except Kante and Lloris appear to be in the box - it's in! France open the scoring but Mandzukic has put it into his own net!

3:15am: 15 mins - France 0 Croatia 0

Perisic breaks down the left again! Croatia with a real chance now, but the cross is blocked out by Varane! France living dangerously at the moment!

3:11am: 11 mins - France 0 Croatia 0

Chance for Croatia! Rakitic goes over the top for Perisic, but the winger can't control the ball as it goes out for a goal kick. All Croatia so far.

3:08am: 8 mins - France 0 Croatia 0

Just like in their semi-final win over Belgium, France don't seem to concerned over giving away early possession. Strinic wins a throw down the left flank, and plays a one-two with Rakitic. Strinic wins a corner as Pogba blocks his attempted cross.

Modric to take, Giroud clears with a header away for another Croatia throw.

3:03am: 3 mins - France 0 Croatia 0

Perisic steals the ball from Pavard and breaks down the left. Varane and Umtiti get back to cover but Croatia have a throw in. The ball is held up by Mandzukic, before Mbappe clears any trouble for France.

3:00am: KICKOFF - France 0 Croatia 0

We're away! Croatia kick off to get the World Cup final underway!


Both sides now in the tunnel, they'll be out onto the pitch shortly as the trophy is delivered by Phillip Lahm, who captained Germany to the title in 2014.


Here are the final starting XIs:

France (4-2-3-1): 1. Hugo Lloris (c, gk), 2. Benjamin Pavard, 4. Raphael Varane, 5. Samuel Umtiti, 21. Lucas Hernandez, 13. N'Golo Kanté, 6. Paul Pogba, 10. Kylian Mbappe, 7. Antoine Griezmann, 14. Blaise Matuidi, 9. Olivier Giroud.

Croatia (4-3-3): 23. Danijel Subasic (gk), 2. Sime Vrsaljko, 6. Dejan Lovren, 21. Domagoj Vida, 3. Ivan Strinic, 7. Ivan Rakitic, 11. Marcelo Brozovic, 18. Ante Rebic, 10. Luka Modric (c), 4 Ivan Perisic, 17. Mario Mandzukic.


Here we are. From 32 teams, only France and Croatia remain, both looking to get their hands on the Jules Rimmet trophy.

For Les Bleus, they'll be looking for their first trophy since 1998, while Croatia can win football's ultimate prize for the first time in their history.

We'll have final teams for you shortly.



PSG's Champions League demolition of Red Star Belgrade investigated for match fixing

French authorities are investigating claims of match-fixing surrounding a Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Red Star Belgrade after UEFA warned them of a possible manipulation of the result.

L'Equipe newspaper reported that a Red Star official is suspected of betting 5 million euros (NZ$8.9 million) on Red Star losing by five goals. PSG won the game 6-1.

France's financial prosecutor's office told The Associated Press an investigation has been opened, but declined to comment on the report.

Red Star released a statement vehemently denying the match-fixing allegation, saying no club official was involved in the alleged "shameful acts."

According to L'Equipe, the prosecutor's office was alerted by UEFA days before the Oct. 3 game at the Parc des Princes.

ARJEL, the body in charge of regulating online gambling in France, told the newspaper it did not notice any suspicious bets on the game.

PSG forward Neymar Neymar celebrates after scoring the opening goal of his team during the Champions League Group C soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Red Star at Parc des Prince stadium in Paris, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
PSG forward Neymar Neymar celebrates after scoring. Source: Associated Press



'I'm just here to train' - Usain Bolt plays down footballing career after breakthrough goals

Usain Bolt doesn't consider himself a footballer yet and doubts remain over his ability to earn an A-League contract with Central Coast, despite bagging his first brace.

Playing as a striker, Bolt scored two second half goals for the Mariners in their 4-0 win over Macarthur South West United at Campbelltown Sports Stadium in Sydney last night.

His impressive first goal came from a strong run and fierce finish and the second was a tap into an empty goal following a collision between Macarthur's goalkeeper and a defender.

Asked if would call himself a footballer, legendary track athlete Bolt said: "until I sign (a contract), I'm not saying that."

While Bolt and Mariners coach Mike Mulevy were pleased with his performance, doubts linger over whether he can improve enough to secure a contract.

His fitness is certainly better, but his ball control and on-field vision are patchy and Bolt himself concedes they are the two poorest aspects of his game.

With the A-League starting next week, Bolt is hoping the Mariners will soon provide some clarity on his prospects at the club.

"The season is coming up now, so we have to sit down after this game and figure out what we're going to do but until then, I'm just here to train and to continue,"' Bolt said.

Bolt said he definitely felt ready to play in the A-League if required, but Mulvey reiterated it could still be a while before a decision is made on whether the Jamaican gets a contract.

'I think we're all in agreement that we'll look about January," Mulvey said.

With the youth league not starting until next month and Bolt unlikely to be considered ready for A-League duty just yet, that leaves the issue of where he will get games over the next few weeks.

Mulvey didn't shed any light on that topic.

'I don't know how that's going to work, but my main mission is Brisbane next week, October 21," Mulvey said, referring to the Mariners first-round A-League game.

Mulvey praised Bolt for the insights he had passed on to the club's youngsters and the global exposure the Mariners and the region had received because of his presence.



Watch: Former Olympic champ Usain Bolt scores first goal as quest continues to become pro footballer

Olympic track great Usain Bolt's fledgling football career has received a boost after he scored two second-half goals for Central Coast Mariners, but the club look likely to wait until next year to decide whether he's worthy of an A-League contract.

The Jamaican led the Mariners' line in a central striking role in their 4-0 thrashing of A-League aspirants Macarthur South West United on Friday.

Until his brace, Bolt wasn't always convincing with his finishing, possession or passing.

But in the 55th minute he held off a defender before racing onto Ross McCormack's through-ball and beating the goalkeeper at the near post with a fierce left-foot strike.

He promptly produced his famous lightning bolt celebration.

"It was brilliant, it takes all the weight off your shoulders that first goal to relax you," Bolt said afterwards.

Just over ten minutes later, he doubled his tally when he capitalised on a defensive mix-up to pounce on a loose ball and practically walk it into an open goal.

Almost 6000 fans turned out at Campbelltown Sports Stadium and the crowd gave Bolt plenty of support whenever he touched the ball, especially one enthusiastic horn blower.

"I think I did pretty well, I'm happy with the progress I'm making," the Jamaican said.

"My positioning is much better, I think I'm doing much more in space, I'm running in space much better."

Bolt was adamant he would be ready if required for the opening round of the A-League next week.

But Mariners coach Mike Mulvey reiterated that January was still the most likely time when the club would make a decision on their famous triallist.

"You can't just react to something that's happened in front of us right now,' Mulvey said.

"He covered himself in glory tonight and I think that everybody is super pleased for him ... you've got to take your hat off to him.

"He scored a couple of goals tonight - he's still got a long way to go."

Bolt's fitness and heading were definitely better than on Friday than his last public appearance, but his ball control needs to improve.

"My controlling the ball, and seeing the field, having better vision, are my two worst areas but they have improved a lot since I've been here. But they could improve a lot more."

As early as the second minute, he broke clear but lost the ball before getting into the Macarthur box.

In the 23rd minute, Bolt regained the ball in the penalty area after losing it, but his close-range effort took a deflection off a defender and was comfortably saved.

He came close again in the 39th minute in his best moment of the first half.

The 195cm Jamaican made a well-timed run into the box and beat his marker to firmly head Tommy Oar's left-wing cross, but it was directed just outside the post.

Bolt also spent a minute of the first half on the ground in pain after being struck in the groin by the ball.

After his goals he was eventually substituted in the 75th minute.


Phoenix confirm signing of ex-Real Madrid youngster Mandi

The Wellington Phoenix have confirmed their second signing in as many days, unveiling Spanish midfielder Mandi as their final overseas player for the upcoming season.

Mandi, whose full name is Armando Sosa Pena, 29, joins having recently played for Spanish second division side Almeria, but has also spent time playing for Real Madrid's Castilla side, playing alongside the likes of Alvaro Morata, Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez.

The defensive midfielder has been on trial with the club since September, taking part in their tour of Sydney, and joins yesterday's addition Max Burgess on the Phoenix's roster.

Mandi becomes the fourth and final overseas player on the Phoenix's roster, with goalkeeper Filip Kurto, defender Steven Taylor, and midfielder Michal Kopczynski already on the club's books.

Striker Roy Krishna is also considered an overseas player, although is awaiting a decision having applied for New Zealand citizenship.

In a media release, Mandi spoke of his excitement at both joining the Phoenix, as well as living in Wellington.

"I felt like something new and I like New Zealand and what I have seen," he said.

"Not only will I be living in a beautiful country but I will be playing in the A-League which I think will be a big challenge given the quality of the players here."

Coach Mark Rudan welcomed Mandi's arrival, saying:

"I watched him when I was in Europe and he will complement our defensive structure in the middle of the park.

"He is another player that will work extremely hard for the team and gives their all on the pitch so he will slot in perfectly.

"He is not only a defensive rock but also possesses leadership qualities having captained teams he's played for."

The Phoenix play their first match of the new A-League season against the Newcastle Jets on October 21.

New Phoenix signing Mandi
New Phoenix signing Mandi Source: Elche CF