Cold-blooded France win their second World Cup, Galway sink Kerry in Super 8s
Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
Paul Pogba celebrates with the World Cup trophy in Moscow. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty
And then, the rain came. As the dignitaries filed onto the pitch, shoehorning their way into the post-match celebrations, there was an eruption from the Moscow sky - soaking all but Vladimir Putin. The World Cup was over, and France were about to lift the trophy for the second time, after a gripping 4-2 win over Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium. Didier Deschamps’ side produced the latest in a string of clinical, cold-blooded performances yesterday, weathering an altogether different type of storm before breaking Croat hearts. They found themselves on the ropes for much of the first half, but took the lead after Mario Mandzukic flicked an Antoine Griezmann header into his own goal. Croatia fought back through Ivan Perisic’s left boot but Les Bleus regained the initiative after VAR awarded them a penalty which Griezmann rolled home. In the second half Kylian Mbappe and the outstanding Paul Pogba - France’s bright young things - sealed the deal. This morning Ken Early writes the world champions’ final display typified their summer - a flash of magic to complement their steel - as they won the Coupe du Monde in third gear. And as the dust settles on the best World Cup for a generation - if not more - our writers have given us their review of the tournament.
The rain fell in Dublin as well as Moscow yesterday, as the opening weekend of the Super 8s reached its conclusion in Croke Park. In the early game Monaghan battled their way past Kildare in a bruising, suffocating encounter - Malachy O’Rourke’s side running out 0-15 to 1-10 winners. That preceded a grim battle between Galway and Kerry, with the Tribesmen conquering the Kingdom in the Championship for the first time since 1965. The prodigious David Clifford scored 1-5 from play but was ultimately powerless as the Connacht champions registered a 1-13 to 1-10 victory. This morning Keith Duggan suggests the jury is still firmly out on the new Super 8s format, after a sleepy afternoon at a sodden HQ: “And it is true that this was billed as the All-Ireland championship and it looked like the championship. But for long periods on both days, it felt like the league.”