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World Cup moves onto Qatar and a whole lot of problems

As one of the best World Cups ever ends in Russia, football’s biggest tournament must now prepare for its most controversial, in Qatar in 2022. Since the tournament was handed to the supremely wealthy Gulf state, whose team has never appeared in a World Cup, FIFA’s decision has been roundly questioned and resulted in severe…

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France gives World Cup winners a heroes’ welcome home

The World Cup-winning French team returned home to a heroes’ welcome on Monday, parading down the Champs-Elysees as hundreds of thousands of cheering fans gave a raucous welcome to the country’s newest idols. After overcoming a determined Croatia to win 4-2 in Sunday’s final in Russia, the team came back to euphoric crowds in Paris…

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Croatia will be ready for France in World Cup final, says coach Dalic

Ecstatic Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic is confident tiredness will not be an issue for his side when they face France in the World Cup final despite once again coming through extra time to beat England on Wednesday. Croatia came from behind to win 2-1 in the semi-final clash in Moscow, with Mario Mandzukic claiming the…

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‘We left everything out there’, says England manager Southgate

Manager Gareth Southgate said England “left everything out there” after falling to an extra-time defeat by Croatia in the World Cup semi-final on Wednesday. England were hoping to reach a first World Cup final since 1966, but let an early lead slip to lose 2-1. “I think in the first half we were really good…

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Paris celebrates France’s march to the World Cup final

The French national anthem La Marseillaise, chants of “We’re in the final” and a cacophony of car horns and fire crackers rang out over Paris on Tuesday as residents of the capital celebrated France’s march to the World Cup final. A crowd of 20,000 gathered to watch Didier Deschamps’ team beat Belgium 1-0 in their…

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Belgium denied by ‘small margins’ in France defeat, says Martinez

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said luck was against his side as they fell short against France in the World Cup semi-final on Tuesday, losing 1-0 in Saint Petersburg as the ‘golden generation’ saw another chance slip away. A Samuel Umtiti header from a corner was the difference between the European neighbours, with Belgium enjoying most…

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Deschamps urges France to make amends for Euros in World Cup final

France coach Didier Deschamps urged his side to seize their chance of redemption in the World Cup final after admitting he has still not got over the pain of defeat in the Euro 2016 final. Samuel Umtiti headed the only goal in a 1-0 semi-final win over Belgium in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday, consigning the…

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Sweden stand in the way of England’s World Cup charge

Enthused by an exciting young squad and a potentially kind draw against Sweden in Saturday’s quarter-final, England fans are starting to believe they can end a 52-year wait to win the World Cup. But the obdurate Scandinavians have a habit of upsetting the odds, particularly against England, having lost just one of eight previous competitive…

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Brazil seek to temper World Cup hopes of Belgium’s ‘Golden Generation’

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has admitted he has no secrets as he plots to end Brazil’s bid for a record-extending sixth World Cup ahead of their “dream” quarter-final in Kazan on Friday. But the nation’s “Golden Generation” have been reminded that the match against the favourites could represent the last chance for them to shine…

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Uruguay’s immoveable defence ready for France’s unstoppable Mbappe

The build-up to Friday’s quarter-final clash between France and Uruguay has been dominated by individuals, but it may be the South Americans’ almost unbreachable four-man defence which decides the result. While Uruguay sweat on the fitness of striker Edinson Cavani, it should be remembered that La Celeste’s progress in Russia has been built upon their…

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FIFA condemns Maradona comments about England-Colombia referee

FIFA condemned comments by Diego Maradona on Wednesday, after the Argentinian legend claimed that Colombia only lost to England in the World Cup last 16 because of the appointment of referee Mark Geiger for the match. The 1986 World Cup winner said England’s win was a “monumental robbery” after Gareth Southgate’s men edged through a…

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Japan stunned by manner of defeat, admits coach Nishino

Japan coach Akira Nishino admitted his desperate disappointment after seeing his side bow out of the World Cup in an agonising 3-2 defeat against Belgium on Monday. “We started off very well, but at the end, right at the very end, to concede a goal like that is not expected,” Nishino said after Nacer Chadli’s…

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Cavani injury leaves Uruguay coach ‘worried’

Uruguay could be sweating over the fitness of Edinson Cavani for the World Cup quarter-finals after their match-winner against Portugal on Saturday came off injured late on. The Paris Saint-Germain striker scored both his side’s goals in the 2-1 victory in Sochi in their last-16 tie, before hobbling off with a calf problem. “He came…

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Will Messi quit the international stage after Argentina World Cup pain?

Four France goals ended Lionel Messi’s fourth World Cup on Saturday and may have brought down the curtain on an international career seemingly destined to end in disappointment. Tens of thousands of Argentines poured into Kazan hoping to see Messi carry an ageing side over one more hurdle after his solitary goal in Russia helped…

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Tunisia celebrate first World Cup win for 40 years

Tunisia won their first match at a World Cup for 40 years on Thursday, beating Panama 2-1 to leave Russia on a high. The North African side fell behind to a 33rd-minute own goal from Yassine Meriah but battled back to score twice in the second half through Fakhreddine Ben Youssef and Wahbi Khazri. Tunisia,…

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Iceland crash out of World Cup after Croatia loss

Croatia secured first place in Group D on Tuesday after a hard-fought 2-1 win over gallant Iceland in Rostov, setting up a last-16 tie with Denmark. While most eyes were on Argentina and their do-or-die match with Nigeria in Saint Petersburg, Croatia wrapped up top spot in Group D in Rostov-on-Don thanks to a slick…

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Messi, Rojo rescue Argentina from humiliating early exit

Marcus Rojo’s stunning finish four minutes from time kept Lionel Messi and Argentina’s World Cup hopes alive to see off Nigeria 2-1 on Tuesday and set up a last 16 meeting with France. Messi’s first goal of the tournament got the two-time winners off to a perfect start in Saint Petersburg, but Victor Moses’s 51st…

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Iran coach blasts VAR as Ronaldo escapes sending off

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz said Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo was fortunate to escape a red card despite a VAR review following an elbow in Monday’s 1-1 draw at the World Cup. Portugal will face Uruguay in the last 16 after advancing as runners-up of Group B, but Queiroz insisted Ronaldo deserved to be sent off…

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I can win Musa v Messi duel, declares Nigeria’s goal hero

Deadly Ahmed Musa struck two stunning goals to sink Iceland 2-0 on Friday and then promised to do the same to Lionel Messi’s Argentina in Tuesday’s Group D showdown. The Leicester City striker, currently on loan at CSKA Moscow, became the first Nigerian to score at two World Cups as the Super Eagles secured a…

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Belgium face Tunisia at World Cup with eye on England

Belgium take on Tunisia on Saturday with their eyes set on the knockout round of the World Cup but fearful that star forward Eden Hazard is set for another bruising encounter. The Belgians want to win at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow to avoid making their final group game against England on June 28 a…

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Messi feels pain as World Cup dream turns to nightmare

Lionel Messi sloped off down the tunnel in Nizhny Novgorod with his head bowed, knowing Argentina face the humiliation of a group-stage exit at the World Cup in Russia. The Barcelona star was silenced by a far superior Croatia side in a brutal 3-0 defeat that left the South Americans needing an unlikely series of…

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SAMAA Election 2018