Milan had started the tournament with two players on the Croatia roster, but Nikola Kalinic infamously was sent home after refusing to come into the first match as a substitute after claiming that his back was hurt.
Kalinic has been widely linked with a move away from the San Siro, while fullback Ivan Strinic joined Milan this transfer window after leaving Sampdoria on a free transfer after starting his career in Italy with Napoli.
Croatia suffered a loss from a France team that often seemed content to sit back and wait to release their vicious counter-attack. France also had luck on their side, as they “scored” their first goal from Juventus striker Mario Mandžukić’s own goal. France were also awarded a rather controversial penalty after the referee consulted VAR and determined that a Croatian player had handled the ball in the box.
Croatia made the last few minutes interesting after PSG’s Kylian Mbappe had put the match out of reach by scoring France’s fourth goal to go up 4-1 after a goalkeeping howler by Hugo Lloris was pounced on by Mandžukić to make the match 4-2.
However, Croatia was unable to capitalize and failed to threaten the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Lloris and France went out and won their second World Cup. France had won their first World Cup on home soil 20 years ago in 1998, and France had also been close in 2006, only to lose on penalties after Zinedine Zindane’s infamous headbutt to Marco Materazzi.
Hold your head up high, Ivan, and welcome to Milan! Hopefully you’ll play in more tournament finals with this Milan team in the near future, and maybe you’ll hoist the winner’s trophy with your teammates.