After one of the most exciting runs to the final in the history of the World Cup -- three overtime games, two shootouts -- Croatia fell to France, 4-2, but not before leaving everything on the
“We have no regrets," said Croatia captain Luka Modric
, the Golden Ball winner as the tournament's best player, "because we were the better team for much of the
Teammate Ivan Rakitic
concurred with Modric that he felt Croatia was the better team but he added that "small details" went France's way.
Croatia dominated the
first half but trailed on an own goal and controversial penalty kick awarded for a handball by Ivan Perisic
, the first VAR decision ever in a World Cup final.
"We played well,"
said Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic
, "but the penalty knocked the wind out of us and after that it was very difficult. I just want to say one sentence about that penalty: You don’t give a
penalty like that in a World Cup final. The French did not surprise us, we let in two soft goals coupled with an own goal and a penalty. What we had in terms of luck in this tournament, we lacked
today. When you concede four goals you cannot expect to win the game.” Davor Suker
, who scored for Croatia when it lost to France, 2-1, in the 1998 semifinals, was more
"Looking at the score now after the game, I think that it’s justice," said Suker, who is now the Croatia federation president. "We need to say congrats to the French
players, coach. I think the best team won today.”