Gary Neville: France deserved World Cup win despite VAR 'cloud'
'Middleweight versus heavyweight in Moscow'
Last Updated: 16/07/18 6:18am
Gary Neville paid tribute to France after their World Cup triumph, declaring that the best team had prevailed at Russia 2018.
In an incident-packed showpiece, France led 2-1 at half-time after a Mario Mandzukic own goal and an Antoine Griezmann penalty controversially awarded via VAR, with Ivan Perisic briefly bringing Croatia level.
But quickfire strikes by Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe midway through the second half put France on course for glory, and rendered a Hugo Lloris error academic.
Neville admitted the penalty call left "a bit of a cloud" over the result but was in no doubt that France deserved their second World Cup crown.
"There's a little bit of a cloud because of the penalty decision in the first half but the best team won," Neville said.
"To beat an Argentina team with Lionel Messi, a Uruguay side with Luis Suarez, with Diego Godin that also does the horrible stuff, to beat a Belgium side with Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku... they've come through everything.
"They can win all types of games. They haven't got just good, skilful players in Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann - players who've lit up this World Cup in moments - they're also tough and resilient."
Neville conceded Zlatko Dalic's side had a right to feel aggrieved but said the final felt like a mismatch in the end.
"The Croatians will be upset - they'll say they were hard done-by but you felt whatever happened, France would step up a gear and get through it," Neville told ITV.
"Croatia deserve all the respect in the world but it felt like middleweight versus heavyweight. France were able to land the blows. They were more powerful.
"We've become accustomed to thinking possession is the dominating factor in the game because of what Spain and Pep Guardiola have done but it's changed a bit in this World Cup. France counter-attacked, punched them and knocked them out.
"Don't let Croatia's possession convince you that France weren't in control of that game. They were the best team in the competition. They deserved it."
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