Photo: Kevin C. Cox (Getty)

If you were worried the World Cup final would present a couple of cagey teams hoping to avoid mistakes and get lucky on one decisive set piece or counterattack, that fear was dashed in just the 18th minute, when a pretty shameless dive gave France a dangerous free kick that converted to an own goal on the very gentlest touch of Mario Mandzukic’s head:

This was a very dumb goal, but there was nothing dumb at all about Croatia’s response, which culminated with this incredibly bitchin’ strike from Ivan Perisic:

I was worried that Croatia would struggle to get anything going at all against France, especially with the French holding a lead, so an equalizer that would force France to go on the attack was extremely welcome. But France’s second goal was just as dumb as their first, coming on an Antoine Griezmann penalty following a handball from a Croatian defender in the box:

The second half began minutes ago, and is resuming under threat of inclement weather. It’s thrill-a-minute out there. Tune in.

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