August 2018

France Wins the 2018 World Cup

French players hold up the trophy as they celebrate the FIFA World Cup championship.French players hold up the trophy as they celebrate the FIFA World Cup championship.

French players hold up the trophy as they celebrate the FIFA World Cup championship.
Players on the French team celebrated winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup championship game against Croatia.

On July 15, 2018, soccer fans around the world watched as France defeated Croatia in the FIFA World Cup championship game in Moscow, Russia. With a final score of 4 to 2, the French team became the world champions. France’s Kylian Mbappe scored his team’s final goal to win the match. He also won the award for being the best young player in the World Cup.

There were many records broken in this year’s World Cup. At age 45, Egypt’s Essam El Hadary became the oldest player to ever take part in the tournament. This was also the first World Cup the goalkeeper had ever played in. This year’s games also had the most own goals of any other World Cup. Twelve own goals were scored. An own goal happens in soccer when a player accidently scores a goal against his or her own team. There was even an own goal in the final match. That has never happened before in a World Cup game.

The 2018 World Cup began on June 14 with a soccer match between host country Russia and Saudi Arabia. Soccer is known as football in most places outside of the United States. The Russians call it football, but in their alphabet it’s spelled,футбол.” Football is the most popular sport in Russia. It’s much more popular than ice hockey, which many people think is the most popular sport in Russia.

During the World Cup, 32 national football teams starring the best players in the sport competed against each other. They played in 64 matches in 12 different cities across Russia. These cities included Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Sochi. Russia is such a large country that its area stretches over parts of the continents of Europe and Asia. While most of the matches were played in the European part of the country, some were held in the Asian part.

Both the French and Croatian teams were welcomed with large parades when they returned home from the tournament. In Croatia, thousands gathered in Ban Jelačić Square in the city of Zagreb to celebrate their best-ever finish in the World Cup. Even though they were not the champions, this was a huge accomplishment for Croatia. With their population of just 4.1 million, they became the smallest country to reach a World Cup final since Uruguay in 1950. Thousands of people welcomed the French team with a parade down the Champs-Élysées, a famous street in Paris. The team was also given France’s highest award, the Légion d’Honneur.

Image credit: ©Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
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