The World Cup 2018 just ended, France team lift the trophy after 20 years; their great victory in the final really brings me back to the night of 1998 summer, when I was a middle school student. The 1998 World Cup was actually the first time I started to follow international football. I still remember the prediction I made that France will win the title the first time after I watched a group stage game (France won 3-0, I can’t even remember the team they played against); in the final, the defending champion - Brazil was definitely the favorable side, but France won the match perfectly without even giving Brazil any chance. Their excellent defense was impressive (Blanc, Desailly, and Thuram) and it started from the midfielders (Vieira and Deschamps); Other than that, Zidane was at his prime, and the two young forwarders - Henry and Trezeguet were raising. that France team was one of the dream teams which I consider dominating the world football for many years. I beleive they are one of the teams that can beat the 2008-2012 Spain team..
But I want to talk about Croatia; they are my favorite team in this World Cup. Before the final, I really like to see they win the title; their tough mindset and their attacking style were so fun to watch, and luck is finally on their side (penalty shootout). In the final, to be honest, France clearly overpowered them. Croatia was actually kinda lucky to make the 2nd goal to have the 2-4 as the final score; They were supposed to be satisfied already.
In fact, the first time when Croatia football team shocked the world was the same World Cup, 1998 in France. This is kinda interesting. I remember they beat Germany 3-0 and made it to the semi-final, and lost to France (by the two shocking goals from Thuram) and finally got the 3rd place. Davor Suker won the Golden Boot for that World Cup. From there, the Croatia football was going downward. They didn’t get out the group in 2002 and 2006, didn’t even made it to the World Cup in 2010. Then I watched them lose to Brazil and also them lose to Mexico badly in 2014; I watched them lose to Portugal in the overtime in 2016 Euro Cup; and this time, they made to the final, they finally have their chance to revenge to the team which rejected them from entering final 20 years ago, but they fail short. I hope they will finally beat France one day.. but the reality is that this is already the golden chance in generations for them, most of the team are at their best ages: Mandžukić(32)，Modrić(32)，Rakitić(30)，Perišić(29). In the next few years, these guys will likely start to descend, and won’t be this good anymore.
Anyway, this was already the greatest achievement in their history and I’m sure a great memory for the people of Croatia, the country which only has 4 million population. Amazing!
In Zagreb, 550,000 people at the Ban Josip Jelačić Square to celebrate for the team