ST. PETERSBURG—Samuel Umtiti's 51st-minute header sent France into the World Cup final with a ruthless 1-0 win over Belgium in an absorbing first semifinal on Tuesday. Didier Deschamps' side will face England or Croatia in Moscow on Sunday as the French look to lift the trophy for the second time following their triumph on home soil in 1998. In an enthralling, albeit highly tactical rather than incident-packed match, it was once again a set-piece that proved decisive with Umtiti's near-post header from an Antoine Griezmann corner settling matters.
ST PETERSBURG, Russia—A compelling cast of players, two attacking teams propelled by great pace and a clash between neighbors to boot. There seems very little to stop Belgium and France producing a World Cup classic in Tuesday's semi-final. Both teams boast a rich assembly of match-winning players—Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard for Belgium and Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe for the French—but have also shown a strength of character that adds to their tournament-winning credentials.
SOCHI, Russia — Croatia finally ended Russia's unlikely World Cup dream when they won 4-3 on penalties to eliminate the gallant hosts in a dramatic quarter-final which ended 2-2 after extra time on Saturday, July 7. Ivan Rakitic stroked home the winning penalty to send Croatia into a semi-final against England after Mario Fernandes dramatically equalized for Russia with five minutes of extra time remaining, only to miss a crucial kick in the shootout.
SAMARA, Russia — England defied almost three decades of disappointment to move confidently into the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1990 as headers from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli downed a dogged but toothless Sweden 2-0 on Saturday, July 7. Far more fancied England sides had failed to reach the last four in the past but Gareth Southgate's young squad powered on as they continued to make a mockery of dampened pre-tournament expectations with another impressive display in Russia.
LONDON - Top seed and defending champion Roger Federer continued his serene run at Wimbledon as he strolled into the last 16 with 6-3 7-5 6-2 win over Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff on Friday. The 36-year-old Swiss, chasing a ninth title at the All England Club, extended his winning streak to 29 sets in a row. Federer will next face French 22nd seed Adrian Mannarino, who edged past Russian Daniil Medvedev 6-4 6-3 4-6 5-7 6-3.
NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia—Raphael Varane's glancing header and a goalkeeping blunder that gifted Antoine Griezmann a soft goal gave France a 2-0 victory over Uruguay in the first World Cup quarter-final on Friday, July 6, and set them up for a semifinal matchup with either Brazil or Belgium. Uruguay went into the game without key striker Edinson Cavani, who was ruled out with a calf injury, with Cristhian Stuani drafted into the starting lineup.
ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia—Belgium threw caution to the wind to reach the World Cup quarter-finals when substitute Nacer Chadli scored in the dying seconds as they beat spirited Japan 3-2 on Monday, July 2, setting up a mouthwatering clash with five-time champions Brazil. The distraught Japanese, who went 2-0 up with goals by Genki Haraguchi and Takashi Inui early in the second half, fell to the turf after Chadli poked the ball home from Thomas Meunier's cross four minutes into added time at the Rostov Arena.
Three-time NBA champion LeBron James bid farewell to Cleveland on Sunday after agreeing to a four-year $154 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. The 33-year-old forward leaves the Cavaliers to join an iconic franchise that has won 16 NBA titles but is rebuilding after posting a losing record for five consecutive seasons. James bid farewell to Cleveland via his Instagram account. “Thank you Northeast Ohio for an incredible four seasons,” the four-time NBA most valuable player, and 14-time All Star, said on his “This will always be home.”
NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia—Croatia came back after conceding in the opening minute to earn a World Cup quarter-final berth after edging Denmark 3-2 in a penalty shootout after the two sides drew 1-1 in the round of 16 match on Sunday, July 1. They could have wrapped up the result five minutes from the end of extra time but Luka Modric had his penalty saved by Kasper Schmeichel.
MOSCOW—Hosts Russia beat Spain 4-3 on penalties thanks to two saves by their goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev on Sunday, July 1, to advance to the World Cup quarter-finals where they will face either Denmark or Croatia. The 32-year-old keeper saved Koke's and Iago Aspas' spot kicks after both teams had scored two apiece in what was Russia's first ever World Cup penalty shootout, to send his team to the last eight after a lackluster 1-1 draw over 120 minutes.