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    FRANCE 4, CROATIA 2

    In a dramatic final, France tops Croatia to capture second World Cup title

    MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 15: France players celebrate following their sides victory in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
    Clive Rose/Getty Images
    France players celebrate following their victory.

    MOSCOW — Taking turns sliding across the rain-soaked turf holding the World Cup trophy tight, teenager Kylian Mbappe and the rest of France’s players acted like the youthful bunch they are.

    Nothing, not a Pussy Riot protest nor a postgame downpour that soaked Russian President Vladimir Putin, was going to stop the party.

    It carried on long after a thrilling 4-2 win over Croatia on Sunday. In the locker room with French President Emmanuel Macron striking poses with players, then a champagne-spraying, water-splashing interruption of the coach Didier Deschamps’s news conference.

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    ‘‘Sorry! They’re young and they’re happy,’’ said Deschamps, like a proud father.

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    Deschamps had good reason to indulge them. His team is mostly aged 25 or younger and can return almost intact to defend their title in 2022 in Qatar.

    ‘‘Our children are going to be very proud,’’ forward Antoine Griezmann said. ‘‘The World Cup, it’s a lot.’’

    The 19-year-old Mbappe became only the second teen after Pele to score in a World Cup final.

    Mbappe had just shown his electrifying speed in the 52nd minute when play was held up by four protesters who ran onto the field. Russian punk band Pussy Riot later took credit for the incident — watched from the VIP seats by Putin, whose government once jailed members of the activist group.

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    Putin was later on the field to award medals to the players in a ceremony soon drenched in rain and joy. As thunder boomed and lightning cracked, FIFA president Gianni Infantino handed France captain Hugo Lloris the gold-and-malachite World Cup trophy.

    Gold confetti stuck to the soaked Les Bleus as they paraded the trophy around the Luzhniki Stadium, a final act of an enthralling tournament in which Croatia reached its first final while powers Brazil, Germany, and Argentina went home early.

    About 12 minutes after a protester gave Mbappe a double high-five on the field, Mbappe sent a right-footed shot from 25 yards past goalkeeper Danijel Subasic. The goal put France up, 4-1, closing the door on Croatia who had been the better team until he came to life.

    Mbappe, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain in the French league, was born months after France won its only other World Cup title in 1998.

    ‘‘I have a whole story to write,’’ Mbappe said. ‘‘This is just the beginning.’’

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    Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann, France’s two other key creative players, also scored. Pogba played a disciplined role in Russia, but his natural joy was evident celebrating his 18-yard shot, and leading the champagne shower for Deschamps.

    But it was Mbappe who put the match out of reach with a furious passage of play in the second half. In the 59th, a run from Mbappe started a play that ended up with Pogba on the edge of the penalty area. With his second attempt, the midfielder curled his shot beyond Subasic.

    Kylian Mbappe converts to score France’s fourth goal.
    Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images
    Kylian Mbappe converts to score France’s fourth goal.

    Griezmann scored from the penalty spot in the 38th minute fully four minutes after his corner kick was knocked out of play by Ivan Perisic’s arm. The referee ruled it handball only after a video review, just as the first thunderclaps boomed around the stadium.

    ‘‘In a World Cup final, you do not give such a penalty,’’ Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said.

    France took the lead in the 18th when Croatia’s tallest outfield player, 6-foot-3-inch forward Mario Mandzukic, rose to meet Griezmann’s free kick with the top of his head. He deflected it past his own goalkeeper.

    Perisic and Mandzukic both scored for Croatia, first to equalize in the 28th minute and later as a consolation goal in the 69th, embarrassing Lloris with a flicked shot as the France goalkeeper tried to dribble the ball out of his goalmouth.

    But the three-goal lead was too much for the red-and-white-checkered squad that made a habit of coming back — and played three straight 120-minute games before the final.

    ‘‘We were dominant, we had control,’’ Dalic said through a translator. ‘‘What we’ve had in terms of luck over the tournament, we lacked that today.’’

    Deschamps became only the third man to win the World Cup as a player and a coach. He joined Mario Zagallo of Brazil and Franz Beckenbauer, who captained West Germany.

    France’s captain 20 years ago, Deschamps was lifted up by his players on the field and flung into the air several teams and caught. The normally staid coach did a few skipping dance steps in the rain before stopping and laughing at himself.

    It was that kind of unbridled evening for the French, who won with an exuberance not often seen in a mostly efficient, controlled title run.

    More photos from the match:

    France players celebrate victory following their victory.
    Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
    France players celebrate victory following their victory.

    France head coach Didier Deschamps is thrown in the air at the end of the final match.
    Petr David Josek/AP
    France coach Didier Deschamps is thrown in the air at the end of the final match.

    France's forward Kylian Mbappe shoots to score his team's forth goal.
    JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
    France's forward Kylian Mbappe shoots to score his team's fourth goal.

    Croatia's forward Ivan Perisic celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal.
    GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images
    Croatia's forward Ivan Perisic jumps for joy after scoring a goal.

    France's Kylian Mbappe (left) and Ousmane Dembele show off their gold medals.
    Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
    France's Kylian Mbappe (left) and Ousmane Dembele show off their gold medals.

    French players celebrate at the end of the final match.
    Petr David Josek/AP
    French players celebrate at the end of the final match.

    France's midfielder Paul Pogba celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal.
    ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
    France's midfielder Paul Pogba celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal.

    From left, FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic congratulate the French players.
    Martin Meissner/AP
    From left, FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic congratulate the French players.