Cup of dreams | 7/14/2018 6:50 pm

MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — A month on and 63 games later, the 2018 World Cup reaches its climax today as a young France side spearheaded by Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann look to win the trophy for the second time when they take on Croatia in Moscow. It is a final very few people could have anticipated four weeks ago, when the competition in Russia was just beginning. Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar have all gone home. So have the traditional powers of the international game More

Photo: CUP OF DREAMS | 7/14/2018 7:20 pm

Antoine Griezmann (left) and Luka Modric More

Croatia's Rakitic promises 'excess energy' for World Cup final | 7/13/2018 8:50 pm

MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — Croatia mid fielder Ivan Rakitic insisted fatigue will not be an issue for the biggest game of his career despite being pushed to three periods of extra-time to make tomorrow's World Cup final. Barcelona's Rakitic will make his 71st appearance of the season against France in Moscow after winning a La Liga and Copa del Rey double with the Catalans, more than any player at the World Cup. “There will be excess power and energy, no worries about that,” Raki More

Dejected England, Belgium aim to leave World Cup on a high | 7/13/2018 8:50 pm

SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia (AFP) — England Manager Gareth Southgate admits the World Cup third-place play-off is a game that no team wants to play, but stoday's match against Belgium offers the chance to finish the tournament on a winning note. A gut-wrenching 2-1 loss to Croatia after extra time denied England a shot at a second World Cup triumph, instead setting up a consolation game against familiar foes Belgium. Roberto Martinez's side, who were beaten 1-0 by France in the last four, t More

#WC2018: Kane starts as England make five changes for Belgium playoff | 7/14/2018 9:12 am

SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia (AFP) — England captain Harry Kane kept his place as Gareth Southgate made five changes for today's World Cup third place play-off against Belgium in Saint Petersburg. The Tottenham striker is the tournament's leading scorer on six goals, two clear of Belgium's Romelu Lukaku, with England attempting to secure their best finish at a World Cup since winning it in 1966. Phil Jones, Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Fabian Delph and Ruben Loftus-Cheek all come into the side bea More

Griezmann happy if France win World Cup 'ugly' | 7/13/2018 8:50 pm

ISTRA, Russia (AFP) — France forward Antoine Griezmann said Friday winning the World Cup against Croatia tomorrow was more important than how his team do it. Belgium's players criticised the tactics France used in their 1-0 semi-final win as Didier Deschamps' team sat deep and Samuel Umtiti's headed goal came from a corner, but Griezmann dismissed the criticism. “I don't care. I want the star (on my shirt for World Cup winners). If I get that star, I don't care about how we play,&# More

#WC2018: Belgium lead England 1-0 at half-time of third-place playoff | 7/14/2018 9:49 am

SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia (AFP) — Belgium led England 1-0 at half-time of the World Cup third-place playoff in Saint Petersburg today. Thomas Meunier scored in the fourth minute as Belgium made a bright start to the game, although England came back into the match as the half wore on. More

#WC2018: Belgium beat England 2-0 in third-place playoff | 7/14/2018 11:01 am

SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia (AFP) — Belgium achieved their best World Cup finish as goals from Thomas Meunier and Eden Hazard secured a 2-0 victory over England in today's third-place playoff in Saint Petersburg. Meunier, who missed the semi-final loss to France due to suspension, scored after just four minutes before Hazard grabbed a late second as Belgium eclipsed the side that came fourth at the 1986 edition. Belgium have now defeated England twice in a fortnight, having waited 82 years More

The game no one truly wants to play | 7/12/2018 6:10 pm

MOSCOW, Russia (AP) — England defender Kyle Walker is finding meaning in the game no one wants to play. The third-place match at the World Cup is often dismissed as a pointless way for FIFA to fill TV space with two teams who just want to go home. But for Walker, a bronze medal still has value. “It's still something massively to play for, to be the third-best team in the world,” Walker said after Wednesday's semifinal loss to Croatia. “Who would have thought it, at the More

Underdog status suits Croatia perfectly for World Cup final | 7/12/2018 6:10 pm

MOSCOW, Russia (AP) — A billion-dollar assembly of stars makes France the favourites for the World Cup final, a scenario that Dejan Lovren is pitching as perfect for Croatia's biggest ever game. “We love to be the underdogs,” Lovren said in the wake of Croatia's 2-1 extra-time win over England on Wednesday. With a population of 4.3 million and a history of struggle, it's easy to see why. Not since Uruguay's win in 1950 has a country of so few people reached a World Cup final. More

FIFA hits back | 7/12/2018 5:10 pm

MOSCOW, Russia (AP) — The World Cup rulings in FIFA's disciplinary court have not always been easy to comprehend. Sweden were slugged 70,000 Swiss francs for players wearing non-approved socks, and Croatia was hit with the same monetary penalty when a player took a non-sponsor's drink onto the field. Yet a Russia fan's neo-Nazi banner and a Serbian World War Two-era nationalist symbol waved inside venues drew only 10,000 Swiss francs fines, paid by their national soccer bodies which are More

Brexit! | 7/11/2018 8:50 pm

Croatia reached the World Cup final for the first time in its history yesterday, sparking scenes of joy in Moscow and in Zagreb after Mario Mandzukic's extra-time winner prolonged England's decades of pain to set up a decider against France. “We're gutted,” said England captain Harry Kane, still on course to finish as the tournament's top goalscorer with six strikes in Russia. “It hurts, it hurts a lot. It's going to hurt for a while of course. We can hold our heads up high. More

They're going home! | 7/11/2018 11:00 pm

Moscow, Russia (AFP) — Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal deep in extra time as Croatia beat England 2-1 in an utterly gripping World Cup semi-final in Moscow yesterday to set up a final date with France. The Juventus forward netted in the 109th minute to complete a remarkable comeback from a shattered Croatian team and take the small nation of little more than four million people into the World Cup final for the first time in their short history. Kieran Trippier's magnificent earl More

Photo: THEY’RE GOING HOME! | 7/11/2018 9:50 pm

England's players react after their defeat in the Russia 2018 World Cup semi-final football match against Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow yesterday. Croatia will play France in the World Cup final after they beat England 2-1 in extra-time yesterday thanks to a Mario Mandzukic goal in the second period of extra-time. (Photo: AFP) More

#WC2018: England unchanged for World Cup semi-final, Croatia bring in Brozovic | 7/11/2018 12:54 pm

MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — England manager Gareth Southgate named an unchanged starting line-up for today's World Cup semi-final against Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. It is the same team, captained by six-goal top scorer Harry Kane, as that which started in the 2-0 win over Sweden in the quarter-finals on Saturday. Goals from centre-back Harry Maguire and Dele Alli in Samara took England through to the last four of the World Cup for the first time since 1990. Croatia coach Zlat More