Fantastic French | 7/10/2018 8:40 pm

SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia (AFP) — Samuel Umtiti headed France into the World Cup final in Saint Petersburg yesterday with a 1-0 win, consigning Belgium's 'golden generation' to another bitter disappointment. France's own supremely talented young squad will now aim to make amends for defeat on home soil to Portugal in the final of Euro 2016 in Sunday's showpiece against England or Croatia. “Finals have to be won because we have still not got over the one we lost two years ago,” More

Croatia play down fatigue fears as they eye | 7/10/2018 7:10 pm

MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — Croatia defender Dejan Lovren believes his tired team are ready to seize the opportunity of a lifetime when they face England in the World Cup semi-finals in Moscow today. It is the first time since 1998 that the nation of just over four million people have reached this stage of the competition, after they eliminated Russia in a penalty shoot-out at the weekend. There are concerns that fatigue could be a factor for Zlatko Dalic's side, given they were forced to com More

Fantastic French | 7/10/2018 10:40 pm

France Coach Didier Deschamps (centre) celebrates with midfielder Paul Pogba (right) and defender Presnel Kimpembe at the end of the Russia 2018 World Cup semi-finalmatch against Belgium at the Saint Petersburg Stadium yesterday. Belgium won 1-0. (Photo: AFP) More

#WC2018: Croatia beat England 2-1 after extra-time in semi-final | 7/11/2018 3:38 pm

MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — Croatia will play France in the World Cup final after they beat England 2-1 in extra-time on Wednesday thanks to a Mario Mandzukic goal in the second period of extra-time. Kieran Trippier's free-kick after five minutes gave England a dream start to the semi-final but Croatia clawed their way back into the match and Ivan Perisic equalised with a 68th-minute volley. Mandzukic was fastest to react to Perisic's header and shot past Jordan Pickford in the 109th minute t More

#WC2018: England lead Croatia 1-0 at half-time in semi-final | 7/11/2018 1:56 pm

MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — England were 1-0 up against Croatia at half-time of their World Cup semi-final in Moscow today, putting them on course for their first final since 1966. Kieran Trippier gave Gareth Southgate's side a dream start, curling in a free-kick past the despairing dive of Danijel Subasic in the fifth minute. Croatia struggled to gain a foothold in the game, with England threatening whenever they went forward, but started to retain the ball better as the half wore on. More

Southgate hopes England avoid World Cup | 7/10/2018 8:10 pm

MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — England m anager Gareth Southgate said his inexperienced side must look to perform at their “regular level” despite the pressure of playing in a World Cup semi-final. England face Croatia in Moscow today after reaching the last four of a major tournament for the first time since Euro '96, when Southgate himself missed a penalty in a shootout defeat against Germany. He is now trying to minimise potential distractions as his young team prepare to take th More

JustBet Gold Rush 2018 — France to beat Belgium at $2.45, England to beat Croatia at $2.40 | 7/9/2018 9:40 pm

Goal Rush 2018 has been scintillating thus far, and now it's down to the final four teams to battle for the right to be crowned the best team in the world. Will it be France, Belgium, Croatia or England? Goal Rush 2018 previews these two sumptuous semi-finals. First up it will be favourites France up against the classy Belgians, after which the young and impressive England square off against the battle-hardened Croatians. France head into their World Cup semi-final clash with Belgium looking t More

Final beckons | 7/9/2018 9:40 pm

Saint Petersburg , Russia (AFP) — France meet neighbours Belgium in the semi-finals of the World Cup today as they attempt to reach a third final in 20 years. Belgium, after eliminating title favourites Brazil, are hoping to reach the final for the first time and fulfil the potential of their much-lauded “golden generation”. AFP Sport looks at three key battles in Saint Petersburg that could decide which team moves on to the July 15 final in Moscow.   Kylian Mbappe v Jan V More

France eye World Cup final, but Belgium have Henry factor | 7/9/2018 9:40 pm

Saint Petersburg, Russia (AFP) — World Cup favourites France, targeting the final in Russia two decades after their 1998 triumph, said yesterday one of their greatest players, Thierry Henry, would feel torn as he plotted their downfall from the dugout of opponents Belgium. The European neighbours meet in today's first semi-final, in Saint Petersburg, for the right to play England or Croatia in Sunday's showpiece in Moscow. Former Arsenal and Barcelona forward Henry, who was part of the More

Photo: Final beckons! | 7/9/2018 9:20 pm

This combination of pictures created on July 8, 2018 shows Belgium's forward Eden Hazard (left) on July 2, 2018 and France's forward Kylian Mbappe on July 6, 2018. France and Belgium will face each other today in Saint Petersburg in a Russia 2018 World Cup semi-final football match. (Photo: AFP) More

#WC2018: France advance to final after beating Belgium 1-0 | 7/10/2018 3:10 pm

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — France advanced to the World Cup final for the first time since 2006 with a 1-0 win over Belgium on Tuesday. Samuel Umtiti scored the only goal with a header in the 51st minute. France, the 1998 champion and 2006 runner-up, will play either Croatia or England in Sunday's final in Moscow. More

#WC2018: Matuidi returns for France, Belgium draft in Dembele | 7/10/2018 12:56 pm

SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia (AFP) — France boss Didier Deschamps and Belgium coach Roberto Martinez both made just one change for today's blockbuster World Cup semi-final between the neighbouring European nations in Saint Petersburg.Juventus midfielder Blaise Matuidi returned from suspension for France in place of Corentin Tolisso as Deschamps named the same side that beat Argentina 4-3 in the last 16. Martinez's change was a forced one, with right wing-back Thomas Meunier suspended and coul More

Belgium's Hazard spells World Cup danger for France | 7/8/2018 11:00 pm

Saint Petersburg, Russia (AFP) — Eden Hazard is one of the French academy system's finest exports in the past decade, but he could be the man to end Didier Deschamps's bid for World Cup glory. Born to two footballing parents in the Belgian municipality of Braine-le-Comte, Hazard's reputation spread across the border and saw him snapped up by Lille at the age of just 14. Two years later Hazard made his professional debut in Ligue 1 and went on to become French football's brightest talent More

'Scapegoat' Ozil should quit German team, says father | 7/8/2018 11:00 pm

Berlin, Germany (AFP) — Mesut Ozil's father said yesterday that his son should quit Germany's national squad after he was made a “scapegoat” for their shock first-round defeat at the World Cup. Ozil, 29, has come in for sharp criticism in Germany after the holders crashed out in Russia, finishing bottom of their group. Pressure had already been mounting on the Arsenal midfielder in the run-up to the tournament over a controversial photograph with Turkey President Recep Tayyi More

Croatia fear England's Sterling in World Cup semis | 7/8/2018 10:50 pm

Moscow, Russia (AFP) — Croatia Coach Zlatko Dalic has identified Raheem Sterling as England's danger man in the World Cup semi-final on Wednesday. Sterling was a key part of the Manchester City side that won the Premier League last season, but he has been less effective in England's charge to the last four for the first time since 1990. Despite some disappointing early performances, England coach Gareth Southgate has kept faith with the 23-year-old and his speed was a constant threat to More