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Croatia wins England in a superiority contest to make a record final

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Madz

England’s bid to reach a first World Cup final since 1966 came to an disappointing end as they lost in extra time to Croatia in Moscow.

Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal in the 109th minute of the semi-final, slotting in from Ivan Perisic’s flick-on into the area.

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Gareth Southgate’s side – playing England’s first semi-final since they were beaten on a penalties by West Germany at Italia 90 – were given the perfect start through Kieran Trippier’s 20-yard free-kick after only five minutes, but Perisic’s 68th-minute equaliser sent the match into extra time.

England’s players were inconsolable at the final whistle as the dream was snatched away and they can take great pride and credit from this World Cup – but the pain was etched on their faces as well as that of manager Southgate.

Croatia, in sharp contrast, were jubilant and will now face France in the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday.

Unfancied before the competition, England defied expectations by reaching the semi-finals, but were undone by an experienced Croatia side.

England will now play Belgium in Saturday’s third/fourth place play-off in St Petersburg.

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Morocco Get $2.9bn Credit Line Approval from IMF

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a $2.97 billion Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL) to help Morocco face unexpected economic setbacks.



The IMF said in a statement that the new PLL arrangement “will provide insurance against external shocks and support the authorities’ efforts to further strengthen the economy’s resilience and promote higher and more inclusive growth”.

The two-year credit line signed on Monday is the fourth of its kind between Morocco and the IMF.

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In 2012 the IMF approved a $6.2 billion PLL for Morocco, then in 2014 the global finance body approved another worth $5 billion, and in 2016 another $3.5 billion was approved for Rabat.

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“Morocco’s economic growth remains strong in 2018 and is expected to accelerate in the medium term, provided that external conditions improve,” the IMF said. However, the outlook remains vulnerable to adverse external risks, including increased geopolitical risks and the volatility of global financial markets, it added.

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Lionel Messi wins record fifth Golden Shoe award

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Barcelona forward Lionel Messi says he “never imagined having so much success” after being presented with a record fifth European Golden Shoe award.




The Argentine scored 34 goals in 36 La Liga appearances in 2017-18, making him the highest goalscorer in Europe ahead of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (32).

Messi’s latest Golden Shoe award moves him one ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won four in total.

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“The truth is I had no idea this would happen when I started,” said Messi.

“I dreamt of playing professional football and enjoying success, I love the game, but I never imagined I would have so much.”

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Tottenham’s Harry Kane finished third in the rankings with 30 Premier League goals, while former Real Madrid forward Ronaldo – now at Juventus – ended the season with 26 goals in 27 league matches.

Messi currently leads Europe’s goalscoring charts once again, with 14 goals so far this term, as he targets a sixth Golden Shoe award.

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