Soccer

Behind teenage phenom, France win second World Cup title

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AP

Behind teenage phenom, France win second World Cup title

MOSCOW — Kylian Mbappe and France put on a thrilling show in winning the World Cup title. All Russian President Vladimir Putin might remember is the Pussy Riot protest.

The 19-year-old Mbappe became only the second teenager after Pele to score in a World Cup final, helping France beat Croatia 4-2 on Sunday.

Mbappe had just shown his electrifying speed in the 52nd minute when play was held up by four protesters who ran onto the field in the second half. Russian punk band Pussy Riot later took credit for the incident — watched from the VIP seats by Putin, whose government once jailed members of the activist group.

About 12 minutes after play resumed, Mbappe sent a right-footed shot past Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.

The only other teen to score in a World Cup final was Pele, who was 17 when Brazil beat Sweden 5-2 in 1958.

Mbappe, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain in the French league, was born months after France first won its only other World Cup title in 1998.

Putin was later on the field during a downpour to award medals to the players. FIFA president Gianni Infantino then handed France captain Hugo Lloris the World Cup trophy.

Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann, France’s two other key players, also scored at the Luzhniki Stadium.

But it was Mbappe who put the match out of reach with a furious passage of play in the second half. In the 59th, a run from Mbappe started a play that ended up with Pogba on the edge of the penalty area. With his second attempt, the midfielder curled his shot beyond Subasic.

Mbappe then scored himself, his fourth of the tournament, to make it 4-1.

Griezmann scored from the penalty spot in the 38th minute after a video review. About four minutes after his corner kick was knocked out of play, the referee ruled Ivan Perisic had handled the ball on the way.

France took the lead in the 18th when Croatia’s tallest outfield player, 1.90-meter (6-foot-3) forward Mario Mandzukic, rose to meet Griezmann’s free kick with the top of his head. He inadvertently sent it past his own goalkeeper.

Perisic and Mandzukic both scored for Croatia, first to equalize in the 28th minute and later as a consolation goal in the 69th, embarrassing Lloris with a flicked shot as the France goalkeeper tried to dribble the ball out of his goalmouth.

France coach Didier Deschamps became only the third man to win the World Cup as a player and a coach. Mario Zagallo of Brazil and Franz Beckenbauer of Germany are the others.

Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp rips VAR on disputed Manchester United goal

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AP

Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp rips VAR on disputed Manchester United goal

Liverpool FC preserved their undefeated record in Sunday's 1-1 draw against Manchester United, but manager Jurgen Klopp was none too pleased. 

Klopp ripped VAR for upholding Marcus Rashford's first-half goal, which the English forward scored by capping off a counter-attacking move that began when Man United defender Victor Lindelof appeared to foul Liverpool striker Divock Origi. 

"They were better in the game than we were [in the first half] for what they wanted to do," Klopp told Sky Sports after the match. "They defended well, but in the end, they scored a goal which shows all the problems with VAR. Because [referee Martin Atkinson], I'm sure, let the game run because that is the protocol of VAR, and the VAR says, 'Yeah, there was contact. Was a foul.' But you saw it differently, then it's [no call].

"... 100 percent, like it's 100 percent because for me it was a clear foul. We take that. We couldn't change it anymore. It's just the situation. It's just a general problem. The looks at it and says, 'Oh, you decided it like this. That's possible.' ... But it was a foul, and they didn't decide it."

Klopp expanded on his thoughts during his post-match press conference, telling reporters that he was certain VAR would overturn Rashford's opening goal. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Klopp's counterpart in Man United's dugout, threw some shade at the German's view.

Klopp threw some, too. Liverpool retained 68 percent of possession in Salah's absence but only four of their 10 shots were on target. Klopp owed that to United's defense-first approach, which he said has been the case in each of Liverpool's recent matches against their rivals -- whether under Solskjaer or predecessor Jose Mourinho. 

The approach has worked against Klopp, however. After Sunday's draw, he remains winless at Old Trafford. 

Liverpool's lead over Manchester City atop the English Premier League table fell to just six points. Considering how close the margins were between the sides last season, Rashford's upheld goal could represent a turning point in the title race. 

Watch Adam Lallana goal save draw for Liverpool FC vs. Manchester United

Watch Adam Lallana goal save draw for Liverpool FC vs. Manchester United

Liverpool FC had a last gasp after all.

The English Premier League leaders preserved their undefeated season Sunday, drawing rival Manchester United 1-1 at Old Trafford on second-half substitute Adam Lallana's 85th-minute equalizer.

Liverpool left back Andrew Robertson crossed the ball into United's box, and Lallana slipped behind the defense for a tap-in at the back post.

The Reds first appeared to equalize in the 44th minute, as Sadio Mané gathered an aerial through ball in the box, then coolly slotted a shot past United goalkeeper David de Gea. But VAR overturned the goal, ruling that Mané gained possession by playing the ball with his hand.

Liverpool pressed late for a winner, appealing for a handball in the 95th minute after Fred cleared a cross with his shoulder. United cleared away Liverpool's 96th-minute corner, preserving the draw.

Though the Reds salvaged a point, Jurgen Klopp remains winless as Liverpool manager at the Theatre of Dreams. The draw gives Manchester City an opening, too, as the sides will meet in three weeks, with Liverpool holding a six-point lead atop the Premier League table.

Assuming both hold serve over the next two games, City can cut Liverpool's lead to three points with a win at Anfield on Nov. 10.