World Cup Special

FRANCE THE WORLD CHAMPIONS

France won the World Cup for the second time by ending battling Croatia’s dream of a first title with a 4-2 victory on Sunday in one of the most entertaining and action-packed finals for decades.

REUTERS, Jul 16 2018

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Euphoria over, back to reality for England

It could have been the greatest day of their lives but England’s World Cup squad returned home on Sunday with the euphoria that surrounded their run to the last four having dissipated and familiar, less exhilarating, challenges lying ahead.

REUTERS, Jul 16 2018

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Russia provided hope to underdogs

The World Cup final between France and Croatia in Moscow on Sunday brought the curtain down on a month-long festival of football that has changed perceptions of the host country while also giving hope to the underdog on the field.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, Jul 16 2018

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World Cup tops and flops

Kylian Mbappe and Luka Modric—at different ends of their careers—have dazzled in Russia to help propel France and Croatia to World Cup final.Four years ago Germany were in the same position, but the holders were sent home in the group stages, while another chance of World Cup glory for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo slipped by. A look at the tops and flops from a month-long festival of football in Russia.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, Jul 16 2018

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Infantino fawns over Putin, politicises Fifa

When Gianni Infantino is in the orbit of Vladimir Putin, the head of world football cannot stop beaming. Particularly when he’s juggling a ball in the Kremlin or sharing screen time with Putin as they watched the World Cup.

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Jul 16 2018

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When Croatians spoiled 1998 World Cup party

Croatia’s appearance in the World Cup final has allowed the current generation to stand alongside the heroes of 1998, who crashed that year’s tournament in France to forge an indelible collective memory for the fledgling nation.

REUTERS, Jul 15 2018

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Road to Final

France had a helping hand from the video assistant referee (VAR) in their World Cup opener and a dash of good fortune when Paul Pogba’s effort deflected off Australia’s Aziz Behich and into the net to seal a 2-1 win. A low-key 1-0 victory against Peru put them in a prime position to qualify and a 0-0 draw against Denmark ensured they topped their group.

Jul 15 2018

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Croats stand between France, title

A month on and 63 games later, the 2018 World Cup reaches its climax on Sunday 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.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, Jul 15 2018

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Griezmann won’t mind ugly tactics

France forward Antoine Griezmann said on Friday winning the World Cup against Croatia on Sunday was more important than how his team do it.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, Jul 15 2018

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Swiss-made Rakitic on cusp of glory

Faced with a choice between Switzerland, where he was born, and Croatia, the homeland of his parents, Ivan Rakitic made a painstaking decision that will see the midfielder line up against France in Sunday’s World Cup final.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, Jul 15 2018

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Pitana’s path as film extra to final referee

Argentine Nestor Pitana’s roundabout route to becoming a World Cup final referee has taken in work as a film extra and as a security guardat a disco as well as a spell playing basketball at regional level.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, Jul 15 2018

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Belgium finish third

Belgium beat England 2-0 in the World Cup third-place play-off on Saturday to secure their best ever finish at a World Cup and send Gareth Southgate’s side home with a second straight loss.

REUTERS, Jul 15 2018

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‘VAR means the end of offside goals’

Goals scored from offside positions will be a thing of the past, at least in competitions where video assistant referees (VARs) are used, Fifa president Gianni Infantino said on Friday as he hailed the success of the technology at the World Cup in Russia.

Jul 14 2018

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Argentina’s Pitana to referee the final

Nestor Pitana of Argentina will referee the World Cup final between France and Croatia, Fifa announced on Thursday. Pitana, a former actor who has already refereed four games including the tournament opener between hosts nation Russia and Saudi Arabia and France’s quarter-final win over Uruguay, will take charge of Sunday’s showpiece at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

Jul 14 2018

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Tunisia coach takes charge of Al Duhail

Tunisia’s World Cup coach Nabil Maaloul has been appointed as coach of Qatari league champions Al Duhail, the club announced on Thursday. Maaloul, who turns 56 later this month, takes over from Djamel Belmadi, who quit and is widely expected to be appointed coach of the Algerian national team.

Jul 14 2018

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