Belfast Telegraph

A collection of some of the best images from the 2018 World Cup

Some great photographs from a memorable tournament.

Having produced goals, drama and talking points aplenty, the 2018 World Cup comes to an end this weekend, with France facing Croatia in Sunday’s final.

Here, Press Association Sport showcases some of the best images from what has been a memorable tournament.

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The opening match saw hosts Russia make an eye-catching start as they beat Saudi Arabia 5-0, with Denis Cheryshev netting a brace. The winger would end up with a total of four goals at the tournament (Adam Davy/PA).
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England kicked off their campaign with a dramatic 2-1 win over Tunisia, sealed by Harry Kane’s stoppage-time header (Tim Goode/PA).
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Brazil’s 2-0 group-stage win over Costa Rica saw referee Bjorn Kuipers award a penalty after Neymar went down in the area, with contact on him having appeared minimal – before the decision was overturned following a VAR review. He later scored the second goal (Owen Humphreys/PA).
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Kane’s hot streak continued with a hat-trick as England followed up the Tunisia victory by thrashing Panama 6-1 (Adam Davy/PA).
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With qualification for the next round secured, boss Gareth Southgate then made nine changes for England’s concluding group game against Belgium. A 1-0 loss meant they finished second – and avoided a possible meeting with Brazil in the quarter-finals (Owen Humphreys/PA).
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The round-of-16 saw some major names exit, including Cristiano Ronaldo as Portugal were beaten 2-1 by Uruguay (Francisco Seco/AP).
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Lionel Messi was another, with Argentina losing a thrilling contest against France 4-3 (Thanassis Stavrakis/AP).
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France’s 19-year-old forward Kylian Mbappe stole the show in that game, with his quickfire brace putting his side 4-2 up in the second half (David Vincent/PA).
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Russia delivered a shock in the last 16 as they got past Spain, winning 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw (Aaron Chown/PA).
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England also advanced into the quarter-finals via their first ever World Cup win on spot-kicks, beating Colombia 4-3 following a 1-1 draw, with Jordan Pickford making a superb save in the shoot-out to keep out Carlos Bacca’s shot (Aaron Chown/PA).
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Mateus Uribe was the other Colombian unsuccessful from 12 yards, firing his penalty against the bar, and Southgate, who knows how it feels to fail to convert an attempt in a shoot-out at a major tournament, tried to comfort the player after the contest (Alastair Grant/AP).
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In the last eight, Kevin De Bruyne produced a wonderful strike as Belgium sent Brazil crashing out, beating them 2-1 (Frank Augstein/AP).
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And England celebrated reaching the World Cup semi-finals for the first since 1990 after they saw off Sweden 2-0, with Harry Maguire and Dele Alli netting headers (Tim Goode/PA).
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Samuel Umtiti’s header steered France into the final to see Les Bleus triumphing 1-0 against Belgium (David Vincent/PA).
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The other last-four match started well for England as Kieran Trippier’s early free-kick put them 1-0 up (Tim Goode/PA).
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But after an Ivan Perisic equaliser, Mario Mandzukic’s extra-time strike secured Croatia a 2-1 win (Aaron Chown/PA).
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With their dream of lifting the trophy having ended, England were left heartbroken – but there were plenty of positives that could be taken from their run at the tournament (Rebecca Blackwell/AP).

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