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Scott Huntington

What All Do You Need to Go Skiing?

By | Skiing | No Comments

There’s no greater feeling than spending a day on the slopes and a night with some hot drinks, bad taxidermy and good conversations.

Skiing is an exhilarating sport that is enjoyable all day long — unless you don’t have the right equipment. As you plan and pack for your trip, reference this list to remember the six pieces of gear that will keep you warm, dry and happy.

1. Base Layer

Also known as thermals, a strong foundation for staying warm is a solid base layer. These are the clothes that are closest to your body, so the material needs to be moisture-wicking.

Cotton has no home here — wool or synthetic materials are your friends. This also applies for socks to keep your feet dry. Nothing is worse than foot slushies.

2. Pants

As probably the most essential piece of equipment as far as clothing goes, your pants need to be as waterproof as possible.

Everybody falls, whether it’s a victory slide at the end of your run or a wipeout that no one was expecting. It’s important to make sure your show pants resist wind and water, so you can spend your day on the slopes — not in the lodge.

3. Jacket

Your jacket is the armor outside of the rest of your layers, so it’s important to get something weather-resistant and waterproof. When you try one on, keep in mind that you may have a couple of layers underneath it on cold days — be sure to size it accordingly.

Jackets can also offer things such as pit zips, goggle zippers and phone pockets to make it easy to carry your gear and electronics around on the slopes while also preventing overheating.

4. Helmet

A helmet is a non-negotiable piece of gear, no matter what your skill level is. You can layer a hat underneath if needed, and you can usually rent one if yours breaks or if you don’t want to buy one.

You can’t ski if you’re in the hospital, so protect your noggin.

5. Goggles

Nothing magnifies the intensity of the sun’s brightness quite like snow. If you prefer to be able to see what’s in front of you, goggles will be a huge help.

When you’re going down the hill, goggles will also prevent you from having freezing wind in your eyes to the point of tearing up and ugly sobbing during the entire ride.

6. Boots and Gloves

A good pair of boots is useful in pretty much every situation in life, but even more so for the snow lovers. If there’s one piece of equipment you should buy instead of rent, it’s boots.

Make sure you buy a pair of boots that are comfortable and waterproof. They’re going to be in contact with snow all day, so don’t be afraid to get yourself something nice.

Gloves or mittens are also a necessity to keep your fingers warm and avoid things like frostbite. It’s worth investing in a good pair — you can’t hold poles if your fingers can’t bend.

Ski With Snow Worries

Once you pick out the gear that fits your style and will keep you dry, you’ll be ready to spend hours shredding rather than shivering. Enjoy your time outside by staying warm!

How to Train for a Half-Marathon

By | Fitness, Running | No Comments

Want to take your running program to the next level? Training for a half-marathon allows you to truly test the limits of your running ability. You’ll also learn a lot about yourself and your motivations throughout the training process. Distance running not only tests your physical endurance but your ability to remain focused and on task mentally for an extended period as well. You’ll gain a ton of confidence all while learning to overcome adversity and setbacks.

But what if you’re new to training to compete at this distance or even new to running in general? Not to worry. These tips will get you on your way to achieving your half-marathon goals.

Get the Right Shoes And Socks

Nothing will derail your running program more quickly than foot, knee or even back injury caused by wearing improper footwear. During training, your feet will be pounding the pavement for sometimes an hour or more at a time. This can quickly lead to overuse injuries.

Before starting your training regimen, pay a visit to a specialty running shoe store where the associates are trained to measure you for shoes that are the right fit. There is much more to selecting a shoe than merely getting the right the size. For example, runners with high arches may find they need additional arch support, while flat-footed runners may need more padding to absorb impact. Add in some moisture-whisking socks to keep your feet dry during long run days.

Give Yourself Ample Training Time

Training for a race the length of a half-marathon isn’t something you can jump into overnight. It takes time to build up distance and speed, so make sure you give yourself adequate time to train before race day.

If you are a novice runner, select a race that is at least two months out from when you plan to begin training. If you are an advanced runner who already puts in miles daily, you may be able to get away with a slightly shorter time frame. However, don’t underestimate the work it takes to really get ready to run 13.1 miles.

Draw Up A Training Schedule

To meet your goal, you’ll want to outline a manageable training plan that works with your life and your schedule. You’re going to need to commit a good deal of time to your training, so make sure you have a plan for success.

While it’s okay to run on a treadmill when the weather is particularly inclement, for better results, train outside under conditions that are as close to those you’ll encounter on race day. If you live in the race area, drive the race course to get a feel for how hilly it may be. Pay attention to the weather, too. Train in high winds, cold temperatures, high humidity and other conditions you might encounter during the race to ensure that you’re prepared for them.

Fuel Your Body Right

What you eat is just as important as how you train when it comes to half-marathon success. This counts double if you undertook training for a half-marathon to jump-start your weight loss regimen. It can be tempting to restrict calories and rewarding to watch the pounds melt off. But your performance will suffer if you are malnourished when you train.

Consider adding a high-quality protein and vitamin-mineral supplement to your diet. This will help to replace electrolytes lost through heavy duty training as well as provide your body with the building blocks it needs to heal. Adding a protein supplement is particularly vital if you are vegetarian or vegan. Our muscles need the right balance of amino acids to recover after a long run.

Plan Your Celebration Ahead of Time

Finishing a first half-marathon is a huge accomplishment, and it isn’t one that many people have bragging rights for. So plan a nice celebration for yourself after your big race! This could mean a romantic dinner out with your significant other, planning a weekend getaway or just taking a nice, long relaxing bubble bath post-race. Whatever it is you choose to do, be sure to celebrate you! You did it!

How to Stay Safe Running in the Summer Heat

By | Fitness, Running | No Comments

Summer is the best time for outside activities. It stays light later, and there’s less of a chance you’ll be rained on. For runners, these are the best conditions to bump off a couple of miles. However, the summer comes with its danger as well: heat. Exerting yourself during the hottest season of the year can be uncomfortable, unhealthy and dangerous, and a few precautions can go a long way. Here are a few tips for keeping safe during the worst of the summer heat:

1. Run at Night/In the Morning

Wake up early or stay out until the sun is going down. Both times of day will have lower temperatures and, therefore, less chance of heat exhaustion or other dangerous health conditions. Plus, waking up early will give you an awesome energy boost to get through your day.

2. Drink Lots of Water

This one should go without saying. If you don’t like carrying a water bottle while you are running, make sure you run at a location with water available in drinking fountains or otherwise. Dehydration, which is easily preventable, causes many heat-related illnesses.

3. Run in the Shade

If you usually run in an open area — a field or street, for instance — instead look for a route with trees or buildings that provide shade. More shade means a cooler run, and a cooler run means less chance of dehydration and heat exhaustion. Of course, wearing a light-colored hat or visor can keep the worst of the sun off your head and provide your face with a little personal patch of shade.

4. Wear Sunscreen

Sunburns are bad to begin with, and they’re downright agonizing while you are running, and there is nothing to distract you from them. Wearing sunscreen will help protect you from burning, and putting aloe on any previous burns before running will also keep the pain at bay.

5. Wear Light Colors

Dark clothes absorb the sun’s heat much more than light-colored clothing. The difference is the most noticeable during the summer. Wearing light colors will keep you cooler and running longer than darker, heavier clothing.

6. Slow Down

Take a little longer running when it’s hot out. You won’t push your body as hard under already-stressful conditions, and you’ll avoid exhausting yourself partway through the run.

We all love running, but avoiding the heat — and finding better ways to deal with it when unavoidable — is a necessity during the hot summer days. Using these precautions will help you run happier and healthier through the summer.

How to Increase Strength Without Weights

By | Fitness | No Comments

It’s possible to gain strength without going to the gym. It might seem hard to believe at first, but you don’t even need weights to improve your strength. In fact, bodyweight exercises like the pull-up are some of the most effective strength-building exercises.

Learning how to use your own body weight to improve strength is a journey that’s different from any other fitness quest. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

The Benefits

With bodyweight exercises, you can work out anywhere, anytime. You don’t need any special equipment, which is great if you travel a lot, want to save money on a gym membership or live somewhere without easy access to a gym.

Another benefit is the fact that bodyweight strength exercises do more than just build strength. They can also increase your flexibility, help you lose weight, improve your coordination and engage your brain, too.

Bodyweight workouts are typically more about using the whole body than weighted exercises are. To execute the more advanced movements, you have to learn how to use various muscle groups together. Rarely in situations outside the gym do you only use one muscle at a time.

Because of these facts, bodyweight training may be more applicable to real-life situations. Plus, if you stick with it, you might one day be able to perform impressive feats like the human flag.

Tips

Many bodyweight exercises look easier than they are, and those experienced with weight training often think they’ll be able to pull off advanced bodyweight exercises without much practice.

When getting started with bodyweight training, however, it’s important to respect your limitations and start where you are. Just like with other training programs, you need to build up to the advanced workouts. The strength you’ve acquired through other types of training will help you, but you’re also learning an entirely new skill.

Bodyweight training tends to force even experienced athletes to put their egos aside. Not heeding this call can lead to injury.

To help you build up your strength, you also need to use the progressive overload principle. As with other types of strength training, you need to gradually put more and more demand on your muscles so they get stronger over time. You might do this by decreasing the time it takes you to do repetitive exercises like pushups or pull-ups or increasing the amount of time for static exercises like the plank. Eventually, you can progress from standard pull-ups to one-arm pull-ups.

Another critical point that’s worth reiterating is to think about your whole body as you complete your exercises. Pay attention to all the muscles you’re engaging and you’ll be much more successful.

Best Exercises

So what are some bodyweight exercises should you use to build your strength? Here are some to get started with:

  • Pull-ups and chin-ups: Pull-ups and chin-ups are excellent exercises for working the upper body. Pull-ups work the lats harder, while chin-ups put more focus on the biceps. Once you’ve mastered the standard pull-up, you can move on to the around-the-world pull-up or try burpee pull-ups. For an even more advanced version, check out the muscle-up.
  • Pushups: Pushups are another exceptional upper body exercise. The primary muscle they work is the chest. There are plenty of advanced variations for you to try, including decline pushups, diamond pushups and one-arm pushups.
  • Squats: For working the lower body, try bodyweight squats. Also, try the wall squat and jump squat to take things to the next level.
  • Planks: There are many different bodyweight exercises made for working the abs, and the plank is one of the best. You can add a twist or a pushup for an extra challenge.

You don’t necessarily need any equipment to do a great strength-building workout. If you know how to use it, all you really need is your bodyweight. These tips can help you get started, but where you take your bodyweight exercise journey from there is up to you.

7 Ways to Improve Your Golf Game

By | Golf | No Comments

Golfers can improve their game with a variety of tips and practices, enhancing their chipping, putting, form and general mental preparation. Golf is a game where intricacies matter, with every professional golfer on a constant quest to improve.

Take a look at these seven ways to improve your golf game:

1. Work on Your Weaknesses

Every golfer’s weaknesses are unique. As such, it’s crucial to identify yours by keeping simple statistics of your playing. Track your greens in regulation, fairway hits, total putts and other counting stats. There are even sites that help you electronically track golf data while providing a handicap for each part of your game. It’s easier to improve your golf game when you know which areas are of pressing importance.

2. Clubface Control

Clubface control often separates players regarding skill. You can work on this control by practicing form. Assume a standard grip, twist your bottom hand, so it’s facing away from you and then act as if you’re wiping your palm across a table. This form of practice will help you face toward the ball more quickly in the downswing.

3. Torso Rotation

Your torso is like an engine for your swing. Torso rotation plays a huge role in generating speed and power for the swing. A correct backswing requires establishing your spine angle by turning your torso away from the target. Position your left shoulder close to being over your right leg, maintaining this same posture throughout the backswing. When starting the downswing, rotate the torso toward your target, up until your right shoulder is closer to your left leg than the right. Keep these tips in mind to establish your torso as a major factor in generating speed and power.

4. Don’t Neglect the Short Game

As fun as it is to hit the driving range, some golfers neglect to refine their short game. As a practice of habit, start rolling a few putts before teeing. Before working on longer shots, dedicate yourself to picking up a putting drill and practicing the short game before or after every round. Even mini-golfing with the kids can help you practice your short game.

5. Enlist the Help of a Private Instructor

It’s possible to improve your golf game on your own, though it’s almost always better with a private instructor. Private golf instruction often can include single or multiple session options, with a PGA professional helping to guide golfers of all experience levels in a comfortable learning atmosphere. Private instructors are especially helpful if there’s a part of your golf game that isn’t getting better with personal practice.

6. Upgrade Your Equipment

Old equipment may be preventing you from getting the most out of your practice. For example, if golf grips are disintegrating into your hands, you will lack grip. In this case, it’s time to upgrade your equipment. Similarly, if the grooves on your wedges are worn down to the point of being invisible, it’s time for new equipment. If you can, it’s also a good idea to get fitted for clubs, so you can ensure your equipment fits your body and swing.

7. Study the Best Golfers

Watching golf, both in person and on television, is a great way to gain enthusiasm for the game of golf, as well as teaching you some things about form. Some professional golfers even have tutorial videos on YouTube that showcase form tips. Watch golf tournaments and seek out tutorials from experts to constantly improve your game.

 

Whether it’s on your own or with an instructor, improving your golf game is a rewarding endeavor, no matter your skill level or aspirations.

A Preview of the 2018/2019 NFL Season

By | Football, Major Sports, News | No Comments

The upcoming NFL season is ripe with exciting stories and players to watch. Last year’s NFL champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, host the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday, September 6th to kick off the 2018 NFL season.

The Favorites

With Tom Brady returning for yet another season alongside coach Bill Belichick, the New England Patriots remain the favorite to win the Super Bowl.

Although the Patriots lack wide receiver depth after trading Brandin Cooks and losing Julian Edelman to suspension for the first four games, a healthy Rob Gronkowski is still here. Chris Hogan has also proven to be an adept option for Brady, with new signing Kenny Britt and first-round draft pick Sony Michel looking to bolster the offense. Veteran Rex Burkhead remains a solid option for short downs. As for their defense, Bill Belichick remains a genius at coaching the defensive game, specifically.

While the Patriots are the favorite to win, other up-and-coming teams are not far behind. The Los Angeles Rams saw the ample growth of QB Jared Goff and RB Todd Gurley last year, with young head coach Sean McVay showing a knack for brilliant game planning. The Green Bay Packers, with Aaron Rodgers still at the helm, are another hyped team. The signing of TE Jimmy Graham looks to supplement an offensive attack that is now missing Jordy Nelson.

Of course, the Philadelphia Eagles will look to defend their championship and remain capable of doing so. Coach Doug Pederson shows great decision-making, putting his playmakers in the position to win. With QB Carson Wentz expected to be healthy, the Eagles are very comparable in strength and depth to last year, apart from losing TE Trey Burton to free agency.

A Year for Young QBs

If you enjoy watching young QBs with high upside, the upcoming NFL season will be a treat for you. The rookie QB class alone includes a bunch of high-upside, talented rookie QBs with avenues to playing time. Jets QB Sam Darnold and Bills QB Josh Allen will very likely start by mid-season, if not by week one. They are both talented, young QBs on teams starving for a franchise QB.

Although Baker Mayfield may not start in 2018 for the Cleveland Browns, with Tyrod Taylor showing more command of the offense presently, he remains an exciting player to watch. If Taylor suffers an injury or underperforms, it will be fun to watch Mayfield throw to the likes of Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry. There are also rumblings of the Browns considering signing WR Dez Bryant.

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson was taken in the late first round, though could very well impress more immediately than any other rookie QB. Joe Flacco remains the starter in Baltimore, though Jackson has drawn praise from the coaching staff for his talent and readiness. Jackson’s multi-dimensional game, with his running and throwing, present a threat to opposing defenses. He and these other young QBs will be worth watching in the preseason and throughout the entire NFL season.

Season Predictions

The NFL proves year in and year out that outcomes are unpredictable. Although some teams like the Patriots dominate their division every year and are likely to do so again this year, the rest of the league is open for competition.

The NFC West is likely to be a showdown between the Rams and 49ers. If 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo continues to excel, the 49ers’ young core can prevail. The Rams’ additions of Aqib Talib, Ndamukong Suh, Brandin Cooks and Marcus Peters in the offseason makes them a clear favorite, though.

The Packers and Vikings will compete in the NFC North, as Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins work with talented squads. The Packers’ additions of corners Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson should shore up their pass defense, a weak point last season.

The NFC South is likely to be competitive. The Saints, Panthers and Falcons all have teams with potential. The Eagles will likely lead the NFC East, though it will be interesting to watch the impact that Giants rookie RB Saquon Barkley has on his team. The AFC North will also be fun to watch, as the Steelers, Browns, Ravens and Bengals compete with fairly even-matched squads.

The upcoming NFL season looks to be a fun and competitive one.

10 Best Exercises for People Who Aren’t Flexible 

By | Fitness | No Comments

It’s no secret exercise is essential for a healthier lifestyle. Weightlifting is loaded with health benefits, ranging from osteoporosis treatment to getting beach-body-ready. Jogging can help lower blood pressure, and fitness classes can help build relationships and grow your social circle!

But what about flexibility?

Health experts believe your genetic makeup mostly determines your level of flexibility. However, if you exercise, you can improve your flexibility by roughly 20 to 25 percent.

These simple exercises are a reliable way to help you reach your flexibility goals.

1. Downward-Facing Dog

Stand with your feet even with your hips — the wider the stance, the easier the stretch will be if you’re just starting out. Bend at the waist and put your hands flat on the ground at about shoulder-width apart. Be sure your spine is straight, and if you feel uncomfortable, shift your weight from one foot to the other to help alleviate the slow burn, or bend at the knees.

2. Child’s Pose

This pose is a rest position you can use during any yoga circuit. Kneel on the floor, with your feet underneath your buttocks. Put your arms in front of your head, so your back is in a straight line and your head is resting on the ground. Child’s pose makes an excellent recovery position.

3. C-Curve

Most people who have desk jobs carry tension in their lower back. Here is a stretch that will target this tight area. Sit on the floor and bend at the knees, with your feet about 12 inches in front of your glutes. Hug your thighs by wrapping your arms around your hamstrings, and allow your elbows to point out. Let your back curve in the shape of a “C” and inhale. During your inhale, lengthen your spine, and on the exhale, tuck your chin toward your chest.

4. Planks

Do you have a hard time keeping your balance in all these stretches? Strengthen your core with planks. Lie facing down on your forearms with your toes touching the ground. Push up and off the ground, and hold the position as long as you can while keeping your spine and legs straight. The longer you can go, the stronger your core.

5. Standing Hamstring Stretch

Stand with your feet even with your hips. Bend at the waist and wrap your arms around the backs of your legs, or try to touch your toes. Hold this position anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes.

6. Cobra

Lie face-down on the ground and place your hands flat at shoulder-width. Press your hands into the floor, and with straight legs, push your chest and stomach off the floor and hold. Flex your glute muscles and be sure to keep your shoulders away from your ears.

7. Lunges

Many sports teams use these as warm-up stretches. Take a long step forward, and bend both your front and back legs at 90-degree angles. Try to touch your back knee to the ground, while maintaining a straight back. Putting your weight into your front leg, take your next step and switch knees.

8. Triceps Stretch

You can do this exercise standing or sitting, whichever works best. Lifting one arm above your head, bend it at the elbow so the palm of your hand faces your back. With the other hand, gently push down on the bent elbow. Switch arms and repeat on the other side.

9. Butterfly

Sitting on the ground, open your bent knees outward while letting the bottoms of your feet touch. Slowly bend your body forward while activating your core and try to get your knees to touch the floor while holding your feet.

10. Tree Pose

This exercise is an excellent test of core muscles and balance. Stand on one leg while placing your other foot on the ankle, calf or thigh on the leg that is “rooted” into the ground. You can put your palms together at your center, or branch them out by reaching to either side. The stronger the core, the stronger the tree.

Feel Good From Head to Toe-Touches

Gaining flexibility is a process, and it won’t happen overnight. However, with a little practice and determination, you’ll be able to see improvements over time, and you’ll feel better overall as well!

Can the Washington Capitals Repeat?

By | Hockey, Major Sports | No Comments

The Washington Capitals’ 2018 Stanley Cup victory is one fans will remember for a long time. The 2017-2018 season was the first time the Capitals advanced beyond the second round in the playoffs since 1998.

Now that the victory parade is over, Capitals fans are looking forward to next season. However, they already know there will be changes to the roster and coaching staff during the offseason.

Plus, hockey fans are aware of how difficult it is to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. Before the Pittsburgh Penguins reigning as champions in 2016 and 2017, the previous team to repeat was the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998. A repeat tends to happen once per decade, though Capitals fans are hoping they will stray beyond the norm and repeat this past season’s success.

May 4, 2009: Washington Capitals semifinal playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins

A New Coach

It’s not common for a head coach in any sport to resign after winning a championship, especially when they are not retiring. This scenario is exactly what happened with former Capitals Head Coach Barry Trotz, who guided the team to the 2018 Stanley Cup.

On June 18, Caps GM Brian MacLellan announced Trotz was resigning his position, after serving in the head coaching role for the past four seasons. His Stanley Cup victory activated an automatic two-year extension, though the dollar amount was below market value. When Trotz and the Capitals were unable to reach an agreement on his contract extension, Trotz decided to leave the organization. Trotz signed with the New York Islanders as their head coach on June 21.

The identity of the Capitals’ next coach will play a big role in determining their chances to repeat their success. The current frontrunner is Todd Reirden, who spent the previous four seasons on Trotz’s coaching staff, honing the team’s defense. Throughout Reirden’s time with the team, the Capitals allowed 2.45 goals per game, lower than all teams in the NHL but one.

Although Reirden has never been a head coach, his successful track record on defense and familiarity with current Capitals players would make for a seamless transition. The Capitals promoted Reirden to associate coach in August 2016, and have been grooming him for head coach duties since that time. Although Trotz is an excellent coach, Reirden is unlikely to shake up the team’s defense-minded approach, making them a Cup contender in 2019 as long as their roster remains capable.

Next Season’s Roster

Capitals fans are happy with the recent news that elite defenseman John Carlson signed an eight-year extension with the Capitals, worth $64 million. Carlson led all defensemen in scoring with 68 points in 82 games during the 2017-2018 season. Carlson’s presence alongside a likely defense-first head coach ensures the Capitals’ D-corps will remain strong.

The Capitals are also still working on re-signing Devante Smith-Pelly, a 2018 playoffs standout with seven goals and one assist. Michal Kempny, a smart pickup for the Capitals at the trade deadline, has also received an offer from the Capitals, though is attracting interest from other teams. The Capitals are at work to improve their roster, with Carlson’s signing being a great start.

Chances of a Repeat

The Capitals are likely to secure another playoff berth in the 2018-2019 season. Their ability to repeat as Stanley Cup champs hinges on their roster strength, particularly who they re-sign in the coming months, as well as the effectiveness of their new coach.

Betting lines have the Capitals as the sixth likeliest team to win the Stanley Cup next season, behind the Golden Knights, Jets, Maple Leafs, Lightning, Predators and Bruins. Still, none of these teams are substantially ahead in terms of odds, meaning the Capitals are as similarly likely to repeat as the top teams are to win.

Either way, next season should be an exciting one for Capitals fans.

How France Won the World Cup

By | News, Soccer | No Comments

The FIFA World Cup wrapped up with a 4-2 victory for the French national team, spearheaded by dominating performances from Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappé. As a game that was full of surprises, the World Cup Final nonetheless finished with a victory for the expected winner, and a heartbreaking defeat for the Croatian Cinderella story. Let’s recap both teams’ journey to the finals.

image: SI

French Dominance and a Croatian Miracle

Throughout the group stage and elimination bracket, France seemed like an unstoppable force. They performed solidly in the group stage, going 2-0-1 against rival teams from Denmark, Peru and Australia to play against Argentina in the bracket. Following a close 4-3 victory over Argentina — and two goals by Mbappe — the French team swept Uruguay 2-0 and shut out Belgium 1-0 to get into the finals.

On the other side of the bracket, a very different story had unfolded. Following an unprecedented 3-0 over Argentina, Nigeria and Iceland in the group stage, Croatia managed to squeak by Denmark with a 3-2 victory in penalties after a drawn 1-1 game went through time.

A similar game followed against Russia, with a game decided 4-3 in penalties for Croatia after being tied 2-2. Their final game against England went to extra time — and resulted in a stunning 2-1 upset for the aspiring Croatian team, landing them in their first finals appearance ever.

Own Goal

The final kicked off with a World Cup first: A kick from Griezmann fell short of the net, but Mario Mandzukic headed the ball backward into his own goal, giving France a 1-0 lead early in the final. However, Croatia tied the game up a few minutes later with a beautiful kick from Ivan Perisic, sneaking past goaltender Hugo Lloris and into the left corner to put the teams at 1-1.

France Soars and Croatia Unravels

Unfortunately for the Croatian upstarts, Perisic’s goal was to be the highlight of their game. From the 1-1 position, a penalty on Perisic left the goal open for a textbook kick from Griezmann to give France the lead once more. Twenty minutes later, Pogba blew the lead wide open with a little less than 30 minutes of play on the clock. With France holding 3-1 over Croatia, the final seemed all but wrapped up.

If this wasn’t enough, Mbappé — just 19 years old — rocketed the French team even further ahead with a ricochet off the field and into the box at the 65-minute mark, all but sealing the match for France. Croatia managed to find some hope from Mandzukic — looking for redemption after flubbing the start of the match — when he stole the ball from Lloris just outside the box and brought the score back within two points.

The match ended with neither team scoring again, and France taking its second title. France is now the sixth team to hold two World Cup titles, along with Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Germany and Italy. The next World Cup will be in Qatar in 2022.