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Referee 'stole' game from 'people's champions' Croatia with penalty decision - Schmeichel (VIDEO) RT Exclusive

15 Jul, 2018 20:08
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Peter Schmeichel proclaimed Croatia his team of the tournament, and blamed referee Nestor Pitana for "ruining" the game by awarding France a VAR-reviewed penalty near the end of the first half with the scores tied at 1-1.

“In a World Cup Final it is a big moment, and the referee stole that moment. It deflated them. All the bravura, all the extra energy, everything they showed in the previous three comeback games disappeared,” said Schmeichel. "This is exactly what this final did not deserve."

Chasing the game, Croatia went a further two goals behind, before getting one back, with the game finishing 4-2 to Les Bleus.

Schmeichel, who has followed every game at the tournament as RT's football expert, said that France "deserved" their win, but the Balkan upstarts overachieved more than any others at Russia 2018.

“This is my personal award: Croatia won the people’s award. They inspired us all and showed that you can dig deep and get results," said Schmeichel. Croatia is the smallest nation to qualify for the World Cup final since Uruguay in 1950, but has produced a spate of outstanding individuals, led by Luka Modric, who was awarded the Golden Ball as the best player of the World Cup.

READ MORE: Emotional Croatian leader Grabar-Kitarovic consoles Modric after World Cup final defeat (PHOTOS)