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France beats Croatia 4-2 to clinch 2nd World Cup title

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MOSCOW — France has clinched its second FIFA World Cup title after beating Croatia 4-2 in the finals in Moscow on Sunday in the highest-scoring final since 1966.

France led 2-1 at halftime courtesy of the first own-goal and the first video-reviewed penalty in a World Cup final. The own-goal off the top of Mario Mandzukic’s head was the 12th of the tournament.

Argentine referee Nestor Pitana initially didn’t call the handball but awarded the spot kick after a video review – the first time in a World Cup final. Antoine Griezmann converted the penalty to put France back in front.

Croatia rallied to equalize with a terrific left-foot strike by Ivan Perisic; however France took the lead right back when Perisic handled the ball in his own penalty area.

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The match was temporarily disrupted when four pitch invaders ran onto the field in the 52nd minute before being dragged away by security and police.

Punk rock group Pussy Riot quickly claimed responsibility for the pitch invasion via social media, saying it was a protest aimed at ending illegal arrests of protesters and to allow political competition in Russia.

Play resumed and France quickly took a 4-1 lead with goals from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe in the 59th and 65th minutes.

Croatia was playing in its first World Cup final. For France, it was a first World Cup crown since winning on home soil in 1998.

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SAFF U-15 women’s championship begins today; India face Sri Lanka in inaugural match

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THIMPU — Six under 15 teams from Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Nepal are participating the second edition of South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) U-15 Women’s championship, Thimphu that is kicking off from Thursday.

India and Sri Lanka are facing each other in an inaugural game at the Changlingmithang stadium. The match is taking place at Thimphu-based Changlimithang Stadium at 4:00 pm local time.

Similarly, Bangladesh and Pakistan under Group B are facing each other in the second game scheduled at 7:00 pm local time today itself.

At the pre press conference held in Thimphu on Wednesday, the coaches and team captains from six countries said that SAFF U-15 Women’s championship 2018 would be the toughest championship.

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Of the six countries, Sri Lanka and Pakistan are taking part in the championship for the first time. Bhutan is hosting the 10-day championship for the first time.

Bangladesh had won the title by defeating India 1-0 in the first edition of the Championship held in Bangladesh.

Nepal’s 32-member women’s football team had left Tuesday for Bhutan to play in the Second U-15 SAFF Championship Women Football.

The team comprises 23 players, three coaches, five officials and one sports journalist. Nepal is placed in Group B of the Championship. Nepal will play against Pakistan on August 11 in the first game and against Bangladesh on August 13.

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