France lead 2-1 against Croatia at halftime

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MOSCOW (Reuters) – France were 2-1 ahead against Croatia at halftime in the World Cup final after a pulsating opening 45 minutes at the Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday.

Soccer Football – World Cup – Final – France v Croatia – Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia – July 15, 2018 Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic scores their second goal REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

France took the lead when Croatia forward Mario Mandzukic, who scored the extra-time winner over England in the semi-final, inadvertently headed home an Antoine Griezmann free-kick in the 18th minute for the first own goal in a World Cup final.

Croatia’s Ivan Perisic, who had also scored in the semi-final, leveled with a powerful shot 10 minutes later after France had failed to clear a Luka Modric free-kick.

But Perisic was then responsible for conceding a penalty for handball that was give following a VAR decision and Griezmann coolly converted the spot-kick in the 38th to put the French back in front.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Ken Ferris

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