France Got Gifted The Most BS Goal To Open Their World Cup Final Victory

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Croatia’s bid to become the second-smallest nation (by population) to win a World Cup final took a frustratingly crushing blow early.

Antoine Griezmann’s dive in the 18th minute conned referee Nestor Pitana into a free kick; the French star tripped on oxygen into Marcelo Brozovic.

This angle makes it even more egregious.

France benefitted from a Mario Mandzukic own goal on the ensuing kick.

Officials made the curious decision not to check with the video assistant referee following Griezmann’s foray into the acting world.

Particularly frustrating for those rooting for Croatia or an evenly officiated match, Pitana did opt to go to VAR to confirm an Ivan Perisic handball in the box in the 38th minute, leading to a penalty kick goal by Griezmann.

France topped Croatia 4-2, so Griezmann’s flop wasn’t ultimately the difference. But of course that first goal affected everything that happened after it, so who knows how the match would have turned out with justice in the 18th minute.

The ill-advised whistle will be remembered as a mark on an otherwise gloriously entertaining final.