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Soccer diplomacy: World Cup host Putin gives Trump a ball

APTOPIX Finland Trump Putin Summit

HELSINKI (AP) — Riding high after hosting a successful World Cup, Russian President Vladimir Putin brought a special gift to his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump: a soccer ball. After a journalist asked a question at their joint press conference Monday in Helsinki using soccer metaphors,...


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WORLD CUP: Winners and losers of the tournament in Russia

APTOPIX Russia Soccer WCup France Croatia

MOSCOW (AP) — Savor the thrills, unpredictability, and constant drama of this World Cup. Even FIFA accepts the soccer showpiece might never be so engrossing again. Russia might have staged the last 32-team World Cup. Or at least the last one not shoehorned in a crammed format at the end of the...


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No refuge from politics but France victory a fitting climax

APTOPIX Russia Soccer WCup France Croatia

MOSCOW (AP) — Kylian Mbappe high-fived a political protester who invaded the field during the World Cup final. French President Emmanuel Macron leapt out of his seat in a VVIP area that included a leader charged with genocide. And Vladimir Putin was drenched in a sudden downpour as the trophy was...


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With flags, song, pride, French celebrate unifying victory

France WCup Soccer

PARIS (AP) — It was a victory for all of France and the home crowd did it justice, pouring into Paris’ Champs-Elysees Avenue by the tens of thousands to celebrate in an explosion of joy. France’s 4-2 win over Croatia in the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday marked the second time in 20 years that...


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Vive la France! And a lot of other nations, too

Russia Soccer WCup France Croatia

MOSCOW (AP) — Antoine Griezmann’s father emigrated from Germany, and the France forward’s mother is of Portuguese descent. Paul Pogba’s parents arrived from Guinea. Kylian Mbappe’s dad is from Cameroon, his mom Algerian. Immigrants, sons of immigrants and grandsons of immigrants bonded together...


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Deschamps joins Zagallo, Beckenbauer as champ player, coach

Russia Soccer WCup France Croatia

MOSCOW (AP) — Didier Deschamps walked into the interview room in the bowels of Luzhniki Stadium and prepared to answer questions for the first time as coach of a World Cup champion. A noise to his right caused him to turn, and his players rushed in. A bare-chested Benjamin Mendy jumped onto the...


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The Latest: Pussy Riot charged in protest at World Cup final

Russia Soccer WCup France Croatia-8

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Sunday at the World Cup (all times local): 1:43 a.m. Authorities in Moscow have charged members of the punk protest group Pussy Riot with “violation of spectators’ rights” and illegally wearing police symbols when they ran onto the field during the World Cup final. The...


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Young, joyful France beats Croatia 4-2 to win 2nd World Cup

Russia Soccer WCup France Croatia front

With Vladimir Putin watching from the stands, France won its second World Cup title in a match that was interrupted by an on-field protest during the second half that Russian punk band Pussy Riot later took credit for.


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Column: At World Cup final, Mbappe, just 19, joins Pele

APTOPIX Russia Soccer WCup France Croatia

MOSCOW (AP) — The ball skidded across the pristine Moscow pitch and time seemed to slow. This was Kylian Mbappe’s moment, at just 19, to become the youngest player since Pele to score in a World Cup final. Did he hesitate? Did he wilt under the weight of hundreds of millions of eyes trained on TV...


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Croatia fears World Cup chance may never come again

Russia Soccer WCup France Croatia

MOSCOW (AP) — The rain hid Croatia’s tears. After Luka Modric collected his Golden Ball award in a downpour, he shared an emotional embrace with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, both wearing the country’s red-and-white checkered uniform. Croatia knows Sunday’s 4-2 loss to France in the...


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