Own goal and VAR technology make debut at FIFA World Cup final

Mario Mandzukic has written himself into history in disastrous fashion by becoming the first player to score an own goal in a World Cup final. (FIFA World Cup final blog)

The extra-time hero of Croatia’s semi-final win over England turned villain when he flicked Antoine Griezmann’s free-kick into his own net in the 18th minute of the 2018 decider at the Luzhniki Stadium.

Griezmann’s delivery skimmed off the top of the towering Juventus forward’s head and left goalkeeper Danijel Subasic with little chance, handing France an early advantage.

He was later joined in breaking new ground by Atletico Madrid man Griezmann, who converted the maiden penalty to be awarded by VAR in a final.

That came courtesy of a close-range handball on Ivan Perisic, the Inter man having earlier pulled Croatia level amid an action-packed first half.

First for VAR

The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) was used for the first time in a World Cup final to award France a 38th-minute penalty which Antoine Griezmann scored to give them a 2-1 lead over Croatia on Sunday.

Referee Nestor Pitana was alerted to a possible handball and after checking the off-field screen he decided Ivan Perisic had handled the ball in trying to clear a French set-piece.

The match at the Luzhniki Stadium had already seen the first own goal in a World Cup final when the ball flicked off Croatia striker Mario Manduzkic and past his own keeper to put France 1-0 up after 18 minutes.

FIFA has declared the use of VAR at the World Cup in Russia a success.

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