Samara (Russia), July 8: The 2018 FIFA World Cup now has its four semi-finalists after a typically thrilling set of quarter-finals. Here are four things we learned as eight contenders for the title were reduced to four, reports Xinhua news agency:

1. Courage can only take you so far: Russia bowed out of the World Cup in a heroic and painful style following a penalty shootout against Croatia. Right now the Russians will be feeling the disappointment of their exit, but they should be proud of a squad of players who performed well above themselves and allowed their supporters to dream. The win against Spain was a minor miracle and fruit of their hard-work, courage and a necessary bit of luck. But if you want to get into the last 4 you need a bit more than that and a talented Croatia deserved to progress.

2. Let's talk about goalkeepers: The World Cup tends to be about strikers: Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, Lukaku and Harry Kane, but the quarter-finals have been as much about goalkeepers as attackers. Belgium's Thibaut Courtois made a string of brilliant saves to keep Brazil at bay, England's Jordan Pickford made three magnificent stops to keep Sweden out, Hugo Lloris made out a great save against Uruguay for France when the score was still 0-0 and Danijel Subasic was once again an intimidating presence in the penalty shootout as Croatia got past Russia. Keepers win you matches just as much as strikers.

3. Be flexible: Belgium coach Roberto Martinez produced a masterstroke to help his side beat Russia, swapping the 3-4-2-1 he has used for most of the World Cup, for a 4-3-3 against Brazil. The different formation allowed Belgium to stretch Brazil down the flanks, especially the Brazil right and clearly caught Brazil by surprise. Meanwhile Fellaini was a threat in the air that Brazil struggled to deal with. Brazil's excellent coach, Tite, countered Martinez's strategy at halftime, but by then Belgium were 2-0 ahead; too much of a lead for a team that good to surrender.

4. France continue to improve: Didier Deschamps' side didn't look entirely convincing in their first two group games, making hard work of Australia and Peru, but World Cups with a possible 7 games in four weeks are all about evolving and growing as a team in a short span of time. France have done that and a team that looked disjointed in mid-June looks compact, solid and threatening after the first week of July: of course they have a fulcrum called N'golo Kante holding things together for them, allowing Paul Pogba, Griezmann and company to shine.



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New Delhi (PTI): The BJP on Friday moved the Supreme Court, challenging a Calcutta High Court order that refused to interfere with a single-judge verdict directing the party not to publish any advertisement violating the Model Code of Conduct during the Lok Sabha election process.

The matter was mentioned for urgent listing before a vacation bench of Justice Bela M Trivedi and Justice Pankaj Mithal.

Advocate Saurabh Mishra, who mentioned the matter, told the bench that a division bench of the high court passed the order on May 22.

"Why don't you move the next vacation bench?," the bench asked.

The counsel told the bench that the high court has restrained the BJP from issuing advertisements during the Lok Sabha polls till June 4.

"Kindly have it on Monday (May 27)," the lawyer requested the bench.

"We will see," the bench said.

On May 22, a Calcutta High Court division bench refused to interfere with a single-judge order in the matter.

Observing that a "laxman rekha" should be adhered to, the division bench had said there should not be any personal attack on the part of any political party.

Refusing to interfere with the May 20 order of the single judge, the division bench had said the BJP could move the single judge, seeking a review or recall of its order.

The BJP had moved the appeal before the division bench, claiming that the single judge passed the order without giving it any hearing.

The party's counsel had also stated that the Constitution provided that the Election Commission was the appropriate authority for redress in case of any dispute during a poll process.

The high court on May 20 issued an injunction, restraining the BJP from publishing advertisements that violated the Model Code of Conduct until June 4, the day the Lok Sabha election process ends.

The court also restrained the BJP from publishing advertisements mentioned by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in its petition, claiming unverified allegations against it and its workers.