FIFA World Cup

29 World Cup games to be played in New Zealand

Each country gets an equal share of group matches with four groups based on each side of the Tasman for the opening stages of the 32-team tournament.

This will be the first time the base camp model with be used in a Fifa Women's World Cup.

It is also the first time the tournament has been co-hosted by two countries and two confederations.

Auckland and Wellington are the big winners in New Zealand - while Sydney will be the focal point in Australia with 11 matches including the final on 20 August.

Italy and Portugal on collision course in World Cup playoffs

The 12 teams -10 of which finished runners-up in their groups - were split into three four-team paths, each with its own semi-finals and final. Seeded teams were guaranteed a home game in the semi-finals.

The winning team from each path qualifies for the World Cup in Qatar, meaning Italy and Portugal cannot both reach the tournament.

Italy, who won the Euros earlier this year, and 2016 European champions Portugal will play their semi-final games at home against North Macedonia and Turkey, respectively.

Netherlands qualify for World Cup

Steven Bergwijn and Memphis Depay scored in the last six minutes to secure top spot in group G.

The Dutch return to the finals after missing out on the 2018 tournament in Russia but with little conviction after limping through their last two qualifiers.

Turkey finished second in the group after a 2-1 away win at Montenegro to secure a play-off spot.

Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe were on target again in a sharp second-half performance as already qualified France scored a 2-0 away win against Finland.

Australia-NZ set to win rights to host World Cup

The Japanese Football Association has announced that Japan is withdrawing its bid, just days before football's world governing body holds a vote to determine the successful candidate.

Following an executive board meeting on Monday, the JFA withdrew its candidacy and decided to support the Australia/New Zealand bid which will go up against a bid from Colombia.

Earlier this month, FIFA rated the joint Australia/New Zealand bid as the best to host the tournament, with Japan in second place.

England players given parking spots

The German-owned supermarket chain has reserved spots for the Three Lions, ensuring the likes of Gareth Southgate, Harry Kane, Jordan Pickford and Kieran Trippier can shop hassle-free in their hometowns.

Kane's image adorns a space at Lidl's Chingford store, just a few miles from where the World Cup Golden Boot winner went to school, while manager Southgate can find his own parking spot in his hometown of Crawley.

Croatia greeted by 550,000 fans

Despite the undoubted individual quality available to coach Zlatko Dalic, few expected Croatia to go as far as they did in Russia.

Croatia's preparations for the tournament were by no means perfect, considering Dalic was only appointed as the replacement for the sacked Ante Cacic last October with one last qualification group game to go.

He ultimately led them into the play-offs and then to Russia, where they picked up three wins in the group stage – including a brilliant 3-0 triumph over Argentina.

France 4 Croatia 2

Following a tournament packed with thrills and drama, the final at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium lived up to what preceded it from the moment Les Bleus hit the front through an 18th-minute own goal by Mario Mandzukic – a cruel role reversal for Croatia's extra-time hero in the semi-final win over England.

Zlatko Dalic's side had started the stronger and levelled through a fine Ivan Perisic strike before the Inter player was harshly adjudged to have handled in the box, as VAR made its first impact upon a World Cup final.

Belgium 2 England 0

Having fallen one match shy of a maiden final appearance in Tuesday's slim 1-0 defeat to France, the Red Devils' vaunted golden generation lifted themselves off the canvass to improve upon the fourth-place finish managed by Enzo Scifo, Jan Ceulemans and company in 1986.

Meunier was the unlikely hero early on as his close-range finish in the opening exchanges denied England what would have been their best tournament result since lifting the trophy 52 years ago.

Brussels homecoming for Belgium

The Red Devils missed out on a first World Cup final appearance after Samuel Umtiti's solitary goal helped France to a slender semi-final win on Tuesday.

Roberto Martinez's side now face England - who they beat 1-0 in the group stages - on Saturday in the play-off to determine third and fourth place in the tournament.

And it has now been revealed the game will be followed the next day with an event starting at the Royal Palace and finishing in the capital's iconic Grand Place.

Mandzukic hails final 'miracle'

Kieran Trippier and Ivan Perisic scored in regular time, before the Juventus forward lost his marker in the 109th minute to net the winner and his second goal of the tournament.

The win puts Croatia into the decider against France on Sunday and Mandzukic, 32, said his country showed great courage in the come-from-behind win.

"This is a miracle. Only great teams can be as brave as we were and fight back from a goal down against teams like England. We've played our hearts out throughout the tournament," he said.