France in World Cup final, England and Croatia prepare for semifinal

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MOSCOW, July 11, 2018, (BSS/TASS)- Team France has become the first
finalist of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and will face the winner of the
England vs. Croatia semifinal today.

In the first semifinal match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, played on Tuesday
night in Russia’s St. Petersburg, the French national football team defeated
Belgium 1-0 to become the first team to vie for the much-coveted FIFA World
Cup Trophy this year.

The only goal in the game was scored after the teams’15-minute mid-time
break with a thunderous shot on the speed from a corner kick of French
defender Samuel Umtiti.

The match at the over 68,000-seat capacity Saint Petersburg Arena saw an
attendance of some 64,286, including FIFA President Gianni Infantino, French
President Emmanuel Macron as well as King Philippe of Belgium with his spouse
Queen Mathilde. The list of football fans being present in Saint Petersburg
for the match between France and Belgium saw a host of celebrities including
legendary rock star Mick Jagger from ‘Rolling Stones’ and Hollywood film star
Pamela Anderson.

The World Cup final will take place at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium on July
15. The match for the third place will be held on July 14 in St. Petersburg.
England and Croatia prepare for historic semifinal

So far, England’s only semifinal took place in 1966, during the domestic
tournament. On July 30, 1966 the team defeated West Germany 4:2 at London’s
Wembley Stadium in London. Croatia’s highest-ever World Cup achievement is
third place at the 1998 World Cup in France. In their quarterfinal matches on
Saturday night, England defeated Sweden 2:0 and Croatia knocked out Russia
with the 4-3 penalty shootout win following 2-2 draw in the regular and 30-
minute overtime period.

Between the games, Team Croatia trained at a field of the Luzhniki Olympic
Complex, while England trained in St. Petersburg. Croatia head coach Zlatko
Dalic believes that the present-day team is at least not weaker than it used
to be in the 1998. “The Croatian team has very good players. I believe that
the generation of our players was underestimated for too long, but they were
able to demonstrate their best qualities during this World Cup. They will
remain in the football history as the generation of strong players,” Dalic
said. Vukojevic turns down Ukrainian help, will pay FIFA fine himself

On Monday, the world’s governing football body, FIFA, imposed a fine of
15,000 Swiss francs on Croatian team’s coaching staff assistant Ognjen
Vukojevic for his conduct after the victory over Russia. In a video clip,
which was recorded after the match in the Croatian team’s locker room and
later circulated on social networks, Croatia’s defender Domagoj Vida yells
“Glory to Ukraine,” while Vukojevic adds that he dedicates that victory over
Russia to the people of Ukraine. Following the incident with the video
footage, the Croatian Football Federation (CFF) decided to issue a warning to
Vida against such behavior in the future and stripped Vukojevic of his
accreditation for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. On Tuesday, the
president of the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU), Andrei Pavelko, has
offered a job to Vukojevic and offered to compensate for the fine imposed by
FIFA. Vukojevic turned down the request, saying that he does not want to
embroil anyone into this controversy and was quite capable of dealing with it
by himself.

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