A look at what’s ahead at the World Cup

MOSCOW — Here’s a look at what’s coming up at the World Cup, which is down to its last two matches: the third-place game Saturday in St. Petersburg between Belgium and England, and the final the following day in Moscow between France and Croatia.

KEEP KICKING AND CARRY ON

Gareth Southgate and Roberto Martinez are looking for ways to motivate their squads for the third-place match between England and Belgium. Really, really looking . For Southgate, it’s about continuing the maturation of his young England side, which exceeded expectations by getting this far and even had the lead on Croatia for much of its semifinal before falling in gutting fashion on an extra-time goal. Securing England’s second-best finish at the tournament would be nothing to sneeze at, either, said Southgate, who wore the England shirt himself and never reached the title game. For Martinez, it’s about salvaging “that winning feeling” despite the disappointment among players and fans of a team that had been a fashionable pick to win it all until it failed to score against France . Those sales pitches will be tested by the product on the field, but also by how many fans show up and tune it to watch what historically has been a lacklustre prelude to the final.

UNDER OATH

Croatia’s star midfielder Luka Modric might find it easier on the field than at the mic when he finally answers questions from media Saturday. Modric was charged with perjury by Croatian authorities in March. The charge stems from his testimony at the tax fraud trial of a former executive director at Dinamo Zagreb, Zdravko Mamic. The 2017 trial concerned Modric’s 2008 transfer from Dinamo to Tottenham in the Premier League.

POLITICS, POLITICS

Leaders of several of the European nations that made it to the knockout stage have had a few good-natured exchanges over their teams’ encounters. Now the politics are getting as serious as the soccer. French President Emmanuel Macron is due to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin this weekend before attending the final, a game in which fans again are likely to jeer Croatian defender Domagoj Vida for his appearance in a pro-Ukraine video posted in recent days. Putin is headed to Finland the day after that match to meet U.S. President Donald Trump, who spent Friday being pilloried by protesters in London during an official visit to the United Kingdom. As that was happening, the U.S. was busy bringing charges against a dozen Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking into Democratic accounts during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. And British leaders have essentially boycotted the World Cup over the poisonings of two British citizens and a former Russian spy and his daughter living in the United Kingdom, which British officials blame on the Russian government, a claim the Kremlin rejects. FIFA typically has enough trouble policing its stance on keeping politics out of the tournament, but for the next 48 hours, the two will be tough to disentangle.

Just Posted

WATCH: Red Deer’s noxious weeds are a goat’s dietary delight

Piper Creek Community Garden gets chemical-free weed control

Get your guilty pleasures: Westerner Days food

Traditional sugary treats were served up by the plate, bowl and bucket… Continue reading

Centrefest brings feats of daring to Red Deer’s downtown

Fundraising was a tough slog, but it came together in the end

Count shows slight decrease in Red Deer’s homeless

In two years, the number of homeless in Red Deer has decreased… Continue reading

Redoing hip surgeries are costly, says new study

Redoing hip and knee replacements costs Canada’s health system $130 million a… Continue reading

WATCH: Cirque ZUMA ZUMA puts on a show at Westerner Days

ZUMA ZUMA performs three times a day during Westerner Days

PHOTOS: Red Deer’s Iron Buffalo rocks Westerner Days

Iron Buffalo opened for Helix and Lee Aaron Thursday at the ENMAX Centrium

Zuckerberg’s Holocaust comment puts Facebook on the spot

NEW YORK — Denying the Holocaust happened is probably OK on Facebook.… Continue reading

Brazilian police arrest ‘Dr. Bumbum’ after patient dies

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian police have arrested celebrated plastic surgeon Denis… Continue reading

Canadian marijuana company Tilray has first US pot IPO

SEATTLE — A Canadian company is the first marijuana business to complete… Continue reading

Dolphins anthem punishment includes suspensions

Miami Dolphins players who protest on the field during the national anthem… Continue reading

Soy “milk” makers may need to find alternative description

NEW YORK — Soy and almond drinks that bill themselves as “milk”… Continue reading

Calgary woman convicted in son’s strep death granted day parole

CALGARY — A woman whose son died after she failed to take… Continue reading

Greenpeace members arrested for climbing Olympic Stadium tower in Montreal

MONTREAL — Several Greenpeace members climbed the outside of the Olympic Stadium… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month