The 2018 FIFA World Cup Final was a football match played on July 15, 2018 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia to determine the 2018 FIFA World Cup champion.
Defending champions Germany defeated Colombia 3-2 after extra time to win their fifth World Cup all time, equaling Brazil for most titles, and became the first national side since Brazil in 1962 to successfully defend a World Cup title. It was Colombia's first appearance in a World Cup final - their previous best performance had come four years earlier in Brazil in 2014, when they had lost to the host nation in the quarterfinal.
The final was notable as it was the fourth straight time that a final ended tied after 90 minutes. It also featured the two top-scoring players in the tournament, as both James Rodriguez of Colombia and Thomas Müller of Germany entered with six goals each. Both players would score a seventh goal during the match.
Match Summary Edit
The first half was scoreless and fairly uneventful, with the best chance for either side coming at the 33rd minute when James received a cross from Juan Cuadrado and slipped around Jonas Hector before firing it at Manuel Neuer one-on-one. The ball was only barely tipped over the crossbar and the half would end without either team finding goal. Seven yellow cards were shown in the last ten minutes of the first half as tempers started to flare.
Thomas Müller scored the first goal of the final and his seventh of the tournament at the 51st minute thanks to a back-heel assist from Sami Khedira, helping him break Miroslav Klose's record of 16 World Cup goals. Colombia's Joao Rodriguez fails on a one-on-one header against Neuer at 71' and teammate Juan Fernando Quintero has his shot at 81' go off the crossbar. Only three minutes later, however, Toni Kroos lost the ball in midfield on a poor kick to Müller and it is booted downfield by Jeison Murillo, where it is headed by Cuadrado across the box to Quintero, who kicks it in front of goal to a sliding Marlos Moreno who gets his heel against the ball and thrusts it into net between Neuer's legs.
With the game equal after Mesut Ozil's failed penalty is deflected by David Ospina in stoppage time, the match goes into extra minutes, the fourth straight World Cup Final to do so. After deflecting a Colombian press and drawing a penalty on Cuadrado, Kroos kicks his spot kick into position for Julian Draxler, having subbed in for Ozil, to head the ball into goal over Ospina's outstretched hand, giving Germany a crucial 2-1 lead at 100'.
At 116', however, just when it seems that Germany has retaken full control of the match, Cuadrado gets possession of the ball in isolation in midfield after a throw-in from Murillo and fires the ball on a long cross to James, just outside the box, who neatly catches the ball on his left foot, gains control of it and then fires it past Neuer to once again equalize the match with only four minutes left in the game.
With only minutes before penalties, Germany maintains possession in midfield and Müller draws the defense right before hitting a cross to an isolated Mario Götze, who is one-on-one against Felipe Aguilar. Götze outmaneuvers Aguilar but his quick kick at 120' goes ricocheting off the crossbar back out of the box in the other direction as Ospina leaps for it, where Kroos thinks quickly and catches the ball first with his chest, stabilizes it with his knee and foot and then fires it into the open net as Ospina scrambles to recover. At 3-2, it is the final score of the wild final and in the last seconds of the two minutes of stoppage time Quintero loses the ball in the German back third and it is dribbled away by Draxler to seal the win.
With the winning goal and an assist on Julian Draxler's go-ahead goal at 100', Toni Kroos was named Man of the Match.
Aftermath and Reaction Edit
The second consecutive World Cup title for Germany was met with a raucous response back home and sports journalists immediately began referring to the Germany side as the "best ever." Several senior German politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, were in Moscow for the final and were present for the presentation of the FIFA World Cup Trophy by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Three days after the win, the German national team was greeted with a parade in Berlin where there were close to one million revelers out to celebrate their achievement. The national team would tour the country the rest of the week and were greeted with massive crowds everywhere they went. In Toni Kroos' hometown of Greifswald, a massive mural of his winning goal was erected in the town square and after his outstanding tournament was said to have been the best player, with three goals and three assists.