Cape Town - La Liga’s huge influence on the Soccer World Cup continued right through to final, with man of the match Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid scoring one and setting up two as France topped Croatia 4-2 on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid midfielder and Croatia captain Luka Modric was voted player of the tournament despite his country falling just short at the final hurdle.
Eleven La Liga players were involved in the decider at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium, more than any other league.
Griezmann clinched his third man of the match award of the tournament with an impressive performance - it was his free-kick that was knocked into the back net for the game’s opening goal, his penalty which put France 2-1 up and his assist which led to France’s third.
Atletico defender Lucas Hernandez laid on France’s fourth and final goal, with his fellow defenders Samuel Umtiti of Barcelona and Raphael Varane of Real Madrid also impressing, while Sevilla’s Steven N’Zonzi was a second-half substitute as Les Bleus saw out their victory.
Modric shone albeit in defeat and was awarded the tournaments ‘Golden Ball’ for his contribution over the month in Russia. This included a penalty in the opening game victory over Nigeria, a tremendous 20-yard strike in the unforgettable 3-0 victory over Argentina and shoot-out spot-kicks converted against Denmark and Russia during the knock-out stages.
Croatia also had Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic in midfield in Sunday’s final along with Atletico’s Sime Vrsaljko at right-back, while Mateo Kovacic was on the bench. New Atletico signing Thomas Lemar and Barca’s Ousmane Dembele were unused subs for France.
It was a fitting end to a tournament at which La Liga stars have been prominent throughout, right from the opening game when Villarreal’s Denis Cheryshev scored twice for Russia in the hosts' 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia.
The following month of games then saw 24 different La Liga players from ten different Spanish clubs score 40 goals in total. La Liga stars were named man of the match in 21 of the 64 games as 81 players from across La Liga Santander and La Liga 1l2l3 represented their countries.
Among the standout stars was Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho, who provided two goals and two assists as his team were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Belgium, for whom Real Sociedad’s Adnan Januzaj got on the score sheet in the group stages.
There were countless other memorable moments involving La Liga stars, including Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos’s sensational last-gasp strike for Germany against Sweden, Atletico centre-forward Diego Costa's three goals for Spain and Lionel Messi’s superb solo effort in their victory over Nigeria.
Camp Nou team-mates Luis Suarez and Yerry Mina scored twice and three times for Uruguay and Colombia respectively.
Other La Liga interventions during the group stages included Celta Vigo forward Iago Aspas and Malaga striker Youssef En-Nesyri both scoring as late substitutes in Spain and Morocco’s 2-2 draw.
Japan midfielder Takashi Inui, who has just completed his move to Real Betis from Eibar, scored against both Senegal and Belgium while Saudi Arabia’s matchwinner in their final group game against Egypt was Villarreal’s Salem Al-Dawsari.
This summer's World Cup has truly showcased the breadth of La Liga’s quality, talent and its true international reach, leaving fans worldwide to eagerly await the start of the 2018/19 Spanish season next month.
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Man of the Match awards
La Liga's World Cup finalists
La Liga's World Cup champions