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ALMOST by tradition, there was some World Cup diplomacy at the European Union summit yesterday.
Every four years, the leaders of the EU are locked in meetings while one or more of their teams are playing in a World Cup match. At the start of the summit, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel gave British counterpart Theresa May a Red Devils shirt before last night’s match between Belgium and England.
The jersey had No 10 on the front, a possible reference to May’s residence at Downing Street or Belgium forward Eden Hazard.
When Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar was asked who he would root for, he picked Belgium.
“I am here in Brussels in Belgium so of course I am going to be cheering for the home team,” he said.
England and Belgium have already qualified for the knockout rounds, so they played for first place in Group G.
Given the results from yesterday afternoon’s Group H matches, the winner of Group G would play Colombia while the loser could look forward to facing Japan.
In the build-up to the fixture, it was believed the loser of the match would actually benefit with an easier draw in the knockout stages, which led Varadkar to say: “If Belgium wins, England will probably get an easier ride in the next round, so perhaps it is one of those win-win scenarios.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived for the summit in the same green colours the German team wore during its humiliating early exit from the tournament on Wednesday. She made no World Cup references going into the summit.
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