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2018 FIFA World Cup

Nigeria flying home 152 citizens stranded in Russia after World Cup

ABUJA: Nigeria has made arrangements for 152 of its citizens who were stranded in Russia following the end of the soccer World Cup to be flown home, a foreign affairs spokesman said on Friday. The month-long tournament, which attracted fans from all over the world, ended on Sunday with a victory for France. Nigeria’s government said many of its nationals were stranded due to a lack of funds. “A total of 152 Nigerians boarded the plane and are on their way to Abuja,” said foreign affairs ministry spokesman Tope…

France and Croatia seek World Cup glory

MOSCOW: Croatia face France in Moscow on Sunday attempting to win their first World Cup while Didier Deschamps´ side are aiming to land their second title two decades on from their triumph on home soil. France will also be spurred on by trying to put behind them the bitter disappointment of losing the Euro 2016 final to Portugal in Paris. It is a final few people anticipated when football´s global showpiece kicked off four weeks ago. Croatia have brought joy to their Balkan nation of just four million people by…

Fifa Cup 2018 labelled “Best World Cup ever”

MOSCOW: A stage for new beginnings, a cementer of fortunes, the last resting place for life-long dreams, the 2018 soccer World Cup was so much more than a month-long festival of goals and glory. “The best World Cup ever,” was FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s verdict, and there was much evidence to support his view. Host Russia used the extravaganza to detoxify its global brand and enhance its reputation by breaking down a number of negative stereotypes and showcasing itself as a nation that can host huge events and…

Pogba dedicates France win to Thai cave survivors

ST PETERSBURG: Paul Pogba dedicated France´s World Cup semi-final win against Belgium to the 12 boys who survived a harrowing ordeal trapped underground in Thailand. The final five members of a young football team were rescued from a flooded Thai cave on Tuesday after spending 18 harrowing days trapped deep inside, completing an astonishing against-the-odds rescue mission that captivated the world. Elite foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALs extracted the final batch of four boys, plus the 25-year-old coach, via a…

World Cup fever soars in England on #WaistcoatWednesday

Around 32-million people across Britain are expected to tune in on Wednesday hoping Gareth Southgate can steer England into the World Cup final for the first time in 52 years. The manager has caught the eye in Russia as much for his sartorial elegance as his success with his young team, lead on the pitch by tournament topscorer Harry Kane. Waistcoats have been flying out of the shops. Doncaster Council, in the north of England, even hoisted a waistcoat on its flagpole and the Sun newspaper called on fans to wear one on…

Croatia v England: semi-final history factbox

MOSCOW: Here is a brief history of previous World Cup semi-final appearances by England and Croatia, ahead of their last four match at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday: - England’s first semi-final appearance at a World Cup came at their home tournament in 1966. In front of more than 90,000 fans at Wembley Stadium, Bobby Charlton put them ahead with a rebound shot from a clearance in the first half and added another after the break to go 2-0 up against Portugal, led by 1965 Ballon d’Or winner Eusebio. The…

England fans don waistcoats ahead of semi-final against Croatia

LONDON: The mission? To support England’s bid to win a first World Cup since 1966. The method? To wear a waistcoat for Wednesday’s semi-final match against Croatia. It might sound a stretch, but some England fans want match day in Moscow dubbed ‘Waistcoat Wednesday’ in tribute to manager Gareth Southgate, who has taken to wearing a waistcoat on the touch-line along with suit trousers and a dress shirt and tie. Around a dozen England fans travelling to Moscow on Tuesday for the match wore dark blue waistcoats over their…

Belgium and France World Cup semi-final history

ST PETERSBURG: Belgium and France meet in the World Cup semi-final at the Saint Petersburg Stadium on Tuesday. It will be only the second semi-final appearance for Belgium, but for France it is a sixth. BELGIUM - Belgium’s only previous semi-final appearance came at the 1986 finals, where Diego Maradona turned on the second half magic and ensured for Argentina a place in the final with both goals in a 2-0 victory. - In that tournament, Belgium squeezed through the first round in third place in their group after…

Luis Enrique to be named Spain coach

Former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique is to be named as the new Spain coach, according to widespread reports in the Spanish media on Monday. Leading newspaper Marca said on their front cover the 48-year-old has been chosen by Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales as the successor to Julen Lopetegui, who was sacked the day before the World Cup. The story was echoed by radio station Onda Cero and the website of daily AS. The Federation has scheduled a media conference on Monday to announce changes to the…

Brazil fans greet team after World Cup knockout

RIO DE JANEIRO: Members of Brazil’s national team, which was knocked out of the 2018 World Cup, was applauded by fans greeting their arrival at Rio de Janeiro’s international airport on Sunday. Five-time champion Brazil lost to Belgium 2-1 on Friday in Kazan, Russia. Supporters chanted and cheered the players on as they got off the airplane and appeared in the airport lounge. Players Casemiro and Philippe Coutinho stopped to greet some of the supporters and take pictures with them. Neymar, regarded as one of the…