France into the final; Ronaldo is off to Turin

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

 Paul Pogba and Adil Rami celebrate with France’s goalscorer Samuel Umtiti. Photograph: Getty Images

Paul Pogba and Adil Rami celebrate with France’s goalscorer Samuel Umtiti. Photograph: Getty Images

France booked their place in the World Cup final last night with a 1-0 win over Belgium - and we’ll find out later today who their opponents will be on Sunday. “That a second half header by Samuel Umtiti from a set piece decided this gripping game somehow doesn’t seem to do the whole affair justice”, explains Emmet Malone who was reporting from the St Petersburg Stadium. He’ll be there again tonight for the meeting of England and Croatia, as will Ken Early. The latter explains in this morning’s pages that Gareth Southgate has become the new Winston Churchill as England dream of football coming home: “Four weeks of World Cup success, and England, once blind, now sees in Southgate the leader they’ve been waiting for all along, a 21st century Churchill with none of the whiskey-sodden imperialist bluster or embarrassing historic quotes about using poison gas on uncivilised tribes.”

Away from the World Cup action and Cristiano Ronaldo has agreed to join Juventus, after the Italian club agreed a €100m fee with Real Madrid. Ronaldo wrote an open letter to the Spanish club; “Real Madrid has conquered my heart, and that of my family, and that is why more than ever I want to say thank you.” Cork City lost 1-0 in the first leg of their first qualifying round for the Champions League, after a late Legia Warsaw goal at Turner’s Cross. They go to Poland for next week’s second leg needing at least a goal to avoid dropping into the Europa League.

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