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This was the sound across Paris last night when the French soccer team beat Belgium 1-0 and clinched a place in the World Cup final.

(CHEERING)

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Updated at 8:26 a.m. ET

The men's World Cup soccer tournament is down to the final two games that matter.

A day after France advanced to Sunday's final in Moscow with a 1-0 victory over Belgium, the focus of the tournament is now turning to the other semi-final game, England against Croatia in Moscow.

A win for England would help erase World Cup futility. The English claim to have invented the game, or at least the modern version of it. But England has not been in the final since 1966, when it won its only World Cup title.

The NFL had intended for its rule to achieve a resolution.

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And it's time now for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Pro Athlete To Nun

Jul 7, 2018

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Tour De France Kicks Off

Jul 7, 2018

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The World Cup Quarterfinals

Jul 6, 2018

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And we are down to just six teams left in the World Cup. Today was the start of the quarterfinals. Belgium is through. That's thanks to a 2-1 win over Brazil. France is also on its way to the semis after defeating Uruguay 2-nil.

Wander into any bar in Rio de Janeiro at present, and you are sure to meet one of the world's greatest soccer talents.

He or she might be young or old, short or tall, a beer drinker or a fan of the head-spinning cachaça spirit made from sugar cane.

Yet they'll have one thing in common.

He or she will be wearing the bright yellow No. 10 shirt identified with Neymar — the man long seen as the Brazilian national team's finest performer, who's now also its funniest.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET Friday

One of the upsides to hosting the World Cup is the hordes of international tourists and their bulging wallets that will inevitably descend. One of the downsides is the logistics of accommodating those tourists and their corporeal needs, including bathing.

At least, that's one of the adjustments the Russian city of Samara is trying to make.

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Congressional committees have been looking into the issue of sexual abuse in Olympic sports, with a particular focus on gymnastics. Now stories of alleged abuse are emerging in swimming. Last month, former Olympic athlete Ariana Kukors Smith sued her former coach, Sean Hutchinson, for allegedly abusing her. She also sued USA Swimming and the U.S. Olympic Committee because she says they failed to protect her.

My father parks the car and gestures toward the ground-level window of a squat red-brick apartment building, pocked with jutted-out balconies.

"This was my room," he says. "Mom would send me off to do homework, but I'd go quietly to the window — hop! — and off to the stadium."

As in: a few leaps to cross the street, jump the fence and there you are.

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Let's go now to northern Thailand. Reporter Michael Sullivan is in Chiang Rai, and he's joining us now via Skype. Hey there.

MICHAEL SULLIVAN, BYLINE: Hi.

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And here's the exchange heard round the world...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: How many of you?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: They're all alive.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: Thirteen.

Final 8 World Cup Teams Set

Jul 3, 2018

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The quarter finals are now set at the World Cup in Russia. It has been quite the tournament so far with some surprising upsets. Joining us now from Moscow is Grant Wahl. He is covering the World Cup for Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports and also for us. Grant, how you doing?

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Four-time Tour de France title winner Chris Froome has been cleared of doping by cycling's international governing body, paving the way for him to compete in this year's race starting Saturday.

The proceedings against the U.K.'s Froome started after a sample he provided last September at the Vuelta a España was reported to contain a higher concentration of the asthma drug salbutamol than is permitted by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

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Last night, Russians celebrated as if their team had just won soccer's World Cup. The host nation has only qualified for the quarterfinals so far, but they're doing far better than expected. NPR's Lucian Kim joined the party in downtown Moscow.

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LeBron James is leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for a 4-year, $154 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.

His agency Klutch Sports Group announced the move in a release on Sunday, less than 24 hours after the NBA's free agency market opened.

For the second time in his 15-year career, James will part with his home state team. In 2010, the free agent bolted to the Miami Heat to win two titles over four years, before returning to Cleveland.

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