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Semi-final

National tensions simmer ahead of Belgium-France World Cup semi-final

PARIS/BRUSSELS: It’s a showdown between “Asterix” and “Tintin”. Les Bleus (The Blues) versus Les Diables Rouges (The Red Devils). France against Belgium. The World Cup equivalent of a local derby, with a heavy dose of national rivalry thrown in. In France, sports shops were rapidly selling out of the national soccer strip on Tuesday as fans got ready for the semi-final showdown in St. Petersburg. In Belgium, mad-keen Diables Rouges supporters were jumping on last-minute flights to Russia. Bars, cafes and restaurants in…

England erupts with joy as team reaches World Cup semi-final

LONDON: It might not have triggered the earthquake sensors, but the roar of joy that greeted England’s World Cup victory over Sweden on Saturday was heard throughout the land. Packed pubs and big-screen areas erupted as Gareth Southgate’s team dispatched their opponents 2-0 to reach the semi-finals of the competition for the first time in 28 years. Quaffing what are expected to be record amounts of beer, thousands of supporters at home took advantage of sizzling Summer temperatures to crowd into the open-air viewing…

Belgium beat Brazil 2-1, will play France in World Cup semi-final

Belgium beat World Cup favourites Brazil 2-1 on Friday to set up a semi-final against France in Saint Petersburg. A Fernandinho own goal in the 13th minute followed by a superb Kevin De Bruyne strike just after the half-hour put Belgium in the driving seat. Brazil pulled a goal back through Renato Augusto but it was too little, too late. https://www.facebook.com/fifaworldcup/photos/pcb.2325470074135493/2325468054135695/?type=3&theater Neymar had a late chance to equalise but Thibaut Courtois tipped over as…

Salah superb but Liverpool give Roma lifeline in semi-final

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp labelled talisman Mohamed Salah a "genius" as the Egyptian came back to haunt former club Roma in spectacular style with two goals and two assists in a 5-2 semi-final, first-leg demolition of the Italians at Anfield. However, Liverpool's night was soured by the concession of two late away goals and a serious injury to midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain that looks set to end his season and World Cup chances with England. Roberto Firmino also scored twice and Sadio Mane netted…

Pakistan hopes Cardiff lucky charm stays in semi-final

CARDIFF: Pakistan will hope their lucky charm of Cardiff continues as they take on title favourites and hosts England in the first semi-final on Wednesday, having blown hot and cold in the Champions Trophy tournament. Pakistan have lived up to their reputations of being "unpredictable" by going down tamely to India by 124 runs in their opening match at Edgbaston but bounced back strongly by knocking world number one South Africa to remain in contention for the last four in Group B. It took a brilliant but chancy…

FA Cup: Southampton beats Liverpool, edge closer to final

LONDON: Southampton edged one step closer to the League Cup final as Nathan Redmond's cool finish secured a 1-0 win over Liverpool in the semi-final first leg on Wednesday. Claude Puel's side went in front through Redmond's first half strike at St Mary's and only a strong display from Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius prevented Southampton from winning by more. Southampton haven't reached the League Cup final since 1979 when they were beaten by Nottingham Forest. But by ending a run of four games without a win in…