Chelsea striker Giroud still did not manage to break his scoring duck, and ended up going 546 minutes without a single shot on target in the tournament. But he has the one thing Liverpool defender Lovren craved – a World Cup winners’ medal.
Croatia gave everything in Moscow and when the heavens opened after the final whistle, the rain could not wash away their tears of their 4-2 defeat.
But there can only be one winner, and despite facing all sorts of criticism in France for his scoreless tournament, it was Giroud who was celebrating the hardest.
“It’s a great feeling. It’s coming home!” he said. “Honestly, it’s a dream come true. I’m very proud for all the supporters. It’s a privilege for me to be part of this team. I’ve been criticised in France because I didn’t score in the World Cup.
“But I also received a lot of messages from people who know their football and specialists and even French supporters. They see the work I do for the team. A lot of people wanted me to score in the final.
“I said, ‘Yes I hope so but even if I don’t score and we win, we are world champion and it can be the best thing that happens in my life.’
“I didn’t know if I would have a chance again but I tried to work hard for my team-mates and our team. It’s the same for my team-mates. It’s 23 players, not just 11. That was the strength of the France team this year. We all play for each other.”
In the end France just had too much for the Croats, who did well to score twice against a team which had only let one other nation beat them from open play in the whole tournament. Criticised for being too pragmatic, too negative, too boring, they became the first team since 1970 to score four times in the final.
It was all too much for Lovren, who insisted afterwards that the better team had actually lost, before admitting it could be the end of an era for some of Croatia’s older stars like Luka Modric and Mario Mandzukic, both 32.
Lovren, 29, said “I am pleased that I performed well but overall it’s not enough. You need to win. It hurts personally because I lost the Champions League final and now this final and it’s not easy to accept.
“I will carry this all my life but I will also carry joy because not many players play in these two big finals so close together. We are disappointed because we lost the game but played much better football then them.
“France were one of the favourites but I think we have been better than them.”
Lovren, who also believed the penalty France were awarded for a handball by Ivan Perisic after a VAR review changed the game, said: “I wish we were all 24 still, especially Luka. There is a time when something needs to end and it will depend on individual players.
“I still think I can give enough, I feel young. I just hope Luka can still play. He showed he deserves to be the No 1 of the tournament and in the world. I am really proud of him.”