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Catherine Ivill/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- France overwhelmed Croatia 4-2 in Moscow to win the world's biggest international soccer tournament for the second time.

France had been among the favorites to win the tournament from the outset and proved too much for Croatia, who dominated possession but were undone by an early own goal and a penalty given away before halftime.

Croatia pulled two back, including one from a goalkeeping error, but it wasn't enough with a French win cemented in the 65th minute by 19-year-old Kylian Mbappé.

France's win brings to a close one of the most unpredictable tournaments in recent years in which many of the sport's giants fall by the wayside and underdogs exceed expectations.

Croatia, while never a complete outsider, was nonetheless one of those, with a team of world-class but older players digging deep to get their country to its first World Cup final. Along the way, they dispatched two favorites going into the competition, beating the European champions, Portugal, and running roughshod over Argentina in a spectacular 3-1 win. They also ended the host Russia's unlikely World Cup run, defeating them in the quarterfinals.

France, by contrast, started as a favorite and have driven toward the final with a single-minded determination that's produced results, if not always excitement. A young team flush with talent, they have turned their brilliance on and off when required -- winning a stunning 4-3 victory against Argentina, coming from behind with some of the most spectacular goals of the tournament. But in the final group-state match they settled for an infuriating 0-0 draw with Denmark where both sides essentially agreed not to play, needing just 1 point each to qualify for the following round. In the semifinal, France elected to smother a creative Belgium, suffocating its attack and relying on a single goal.

French President Emmanuel Macron attended the game in Moscow's Luzhniki stadium, as did Russian President Vladimir Putin. Macron and Putin will met for talks first in the Kremlin.

The final brings to an end a World Cup for Russia that has also, for a month a least, transformed the cities in which it was held, with a party atmosphere reigning and fans from a bewildering combination of countries dancing in the streets and partying every night for weeks on end. In Moscow, residents have been stunned at what has been permitted during the competition, and the light touch of police, who stood by and allowed the party to go on, including drinking that's normally forbidden in public areas, and wild scenes right up to the Kremlin.

Fears that the competition would be marred by violence from soccer hooligans -- over-emphasized by some media before the tournament -- never materialized thanks to an aggressive crackdown by Russia's security services. Fans arriving in Moscow also enjoyed the city, which has received a colossal makeover in recent years, and some were surprised at the thriving restaurants and bars that have appeared to replace the post-Soviet gloom many expected.

The tournament has without doubt been a boon for the Kremlin in altering the country's perception on the world stage, temporarily competing with headlines about its bombing campaign in Syria, war in Ukraine, nerve-agent poisonings in Britain, political repression at home and election meddling in the United States and elsewhere.

But few expect the spell will last far beyond Sunday's final when the last fans begin to leave Moscow and Putin on Monday heads for Finland for his first summit with Trump.

Russian Police have already said that drinking laws will be reasserted, waving flags in the Red Square will likely be ill-advised and climbing lampposts to shout probably will end in arrest. Even during the tournament, two prominent human rights activists were detained for holding signs calling for the release of Oyub Titiev, who leads the rights group Memorial in Chechnya and who is currently on trial.

That case and others will remain once the tournament ends, including that of Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian film director who has been on hunger strike in a Russian jail for 63 days while demanding the release of three dozen other Ukrainian political prisoners.

The World Cup though will perhaps leave a mark on Russia, beyond the stadiums built or refurbished in 11 cities across the European half of the country. It will also be remembered for Russia's own team's shocking success, reaching the semifinals for the first time since 1970 by beating Spain, having been dismissed even by their own fans as likely not to even reach the knockout stages.

"Moscow will never be like this again," one woman shouted in joyful amazement to a reporter after that match.

It will perhaps also be remembered as a moment when Russia and the rest of the world could have fun together.

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Clive Mason/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Less than a year after having a baby, Serena Williams fell just short of winning Wimbledon.

The tennis star lost the championship Saturday in a stunning two-set match to Angelique Kerber.

Kerber, who was ranked No. 11, beat Williams 6-3, 6-3 at the final at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London. Williams was vying for an eighth career Wimbledon title, after missing the Grand Slam tennis tournament last year while pregnant.

"I was really happy to get this far," a visibly emotional Williams said in a post-match interview. "For all the moms out there, I was playing for you today and I tried, but Angelique played really well."

Williams struck the ball into the net during the final point, and Kerber fell on the grass court in a show of victory. The two hugged from across the net after the game.

It's Kerber's first Wimbledon title and third Grand Slam title in her tennis career.

Williams, 36, had last faced Kerber, 30, in the 2016 Wimbledon final, where she was victorious.

"You're such an inspiration for everybody," Kerber said to Williams during her post-match interview Saturday. "Congrats again for coming back."

It was Williams' 10th final at the All England Club. A win would have tied her with Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles.

Williams was ranked No. 1 in the world when she took her maternity leave before welcoming a daughter in September with her then-fiance, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. The couple wed in an intimate ceremony in New Orleans three months later.

She was ranked No. 183 after returning to the pro tour in March.

"Unfortunately, in the '90s, they changed the rule whereas if you were injured -- then you come back, you lose your seeding," Williams told ABC News' Good Morning America during an interview last month in New York City.

"But they never took into account women that left No. 1" due to pregnancy, she added. "And left not for an injury, but to have a great life and not give up tennis, but to come back."

Williams played unseeded at the French Open in Paris this May, eventually pulling out of the Grand Slam tournament in the fourth round due to an injury.

She was seeded No. 25 in Wimbledon this year after the All England Club amended the rules and ranked her in the tournament, instead of following the ranking list that doesn't take into account players going on maternity leave.

Speaking to reporters after Saturday's match, Williams again praised her opponent's game, saying Kerber played "unbelievable." She also explained that she was unsure "how I would be able to come back" after taking time off to be a new mom, and that making it to the Wimbledon final was a "great opportunity."

"It was such a long way to see light at the end of the road," Williams said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Friday’s sports events:

Colorado 10, Seattle 7
L.A. Dodgers 3, L.A. Angels 2
San Francisco 7, Oakland 1

Texas 5, Baltimore 4
Cleveland 6, N.Y. Yankees 5
Toronto 13, Boston 7
Houston 3, Detroit 0
Minnesota 11, Tampa Bay 8
Chicago White Sox 9, Kansas City 6

Pittsburgh 7, Milwaukee 3
Philadelphia 2, Miami 0
N.Y. Mets 4, Washington 2
Arizona 2, Atlanta 1
Cincinnati 9, St. Louis 1
Chicago Cubs 5, San Diego 4, 10 Innings

Connecticut 91, Phoenix 87
Washington 88, Chicago 72
Atlanta 98, Indiana 74
Las Vegas 85, Minnesota 77

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Thursday's sports events:

Philadelphia 5, Baltimore 4

Oakland 6, Houston 4
Boston 6, Toronto 4
N.Y. Yankees 7, Cleveland 4
Minnesota 5, Tampa Bay 1
L.A. Angels 11, Seattle 2

Colorado 5, Arizona 1
Pittsburgh 6, Milwaukee 3
Washington 5, N.Y. Mets 4
L.A. Dodgers 3, San Diego 2

Dallas 92, L.A. Sparks 77

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ABC News(LONDON) -- Three hundred and fourteen days after becoming a mother, tennis champion Serena Williams earned her spot in the finals at Wimbledon.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion beat out German player, No. 13 seed Julia Goerges, Thursday in a 6-2, 6-4 victory to advance to the women's final.

This will be Williams' 10th final at the All England Club, according to Wimbledon, putting her in position to tie Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles.

In Saturday's final, Williams, 36, will compete against another German player, No. 11 seed Angelique Kerber, herself a two-time Grand Slam champion. The two faced-off in the 2016 finals, where Williams was victorious.

Williams was ranked 25th in this year's tournament after giving birth to a baby daughter in September. The All England Club amended the rules and seeded her, instead of following the ranking list that doesn't take into account players' taking a break for maternity leave. She was ranked No. 1 when she took her maternity leave and was ranked 183rd in the world after returning to the tour in March.

The tennis champion and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, welcomed a daughter named Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. Three months later, Williams and Ohanian, 35, wed in an intimate New Orleans ceremony.

Ahead of the tournament in London, Williams told Good Morning America that her body had changed after the baby.

"It wasn't as tight as I was used to," she said last month. "I've played tennis for over 30 years, so I'm so used to [being] incredibly fit. But I realized everyone is different."

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@serenawilliams/Instagram(NEW YORK) -- Serena Williams only lends her megawatt celebrity to shine a light on causes she believes in. And one such cause is domestic violence, an issue plaguing women in their most intimate spaces.

"I've been fortunate enough not to experience domestic violence, but one in every four women either experience it [in their lifetimes] or know someone who's been through it," she told Good Morning America last month inside New York City's Tictail Market.

Williams, 36, was in the Lower East Side marketplace to help unveil a nearby street mural commissioned by Allstate Foundation Purple Purse. The 23-time Grand Slam tennis champion and the program's ambassador is partnering with Purple Purse to raise awareness of domestic violence paired with financial abuse.

Purple Purse has helped more than 1.3 million domestic violence survivors, who are also suffering from financial abuse, since 2005. The foundation has invested more than $60 million toward survivor services such as curriculum around asset-building along with job-training and job-readiness programs.

Williams told GMA that after she read these statistics, she wanted to get involved to raise awareness.

"I need to let people know. Like, how do I not know about this?" she asked rhetorically. "I want to be a part of making other people aware of it because we need to bring those numbers down. That's way too high... that's shocking."

It's a topic that is ever close to Williams' heart, especially since she's raising her own young daughter.

The tennis star and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, welcomed their daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. in September. Three months later, Williams and Ohanian, 35, wed in an intimate New Orleans ceremony.

"I have a daughter and she could potentially be in a situation like this," Williams said.

"I want her to be able [to] speak up about it," she continued. "I want her to know that she doesn't have to be in this situation. I want her to know there's a way out."

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@AJFrancis410/Twitter(LOS ANGELES) -- New York Giants defensive lineman A.J. Francis has called out the TSA on Twitter for how it handled his luggage at Los Angeles International Airport - specifically, he says, a container with the ashes of his mother inside.

But the TSA, while expressing condolences, is pushing back on his account.

His tweet, full of foul language, says the next time the TSA feels "the need to go through my mother's ashes for no reason make sure you close it back so her remains aren’t spilled on all my clothes."

Carrie Leanne Francis, who died on June 26, was only 46 years old.

During the screening of Francis’s checked bag, the TSA said, video review showed an alarm was called for an unidentified object, described as an “opened, unmarked ceramic container, wrapped in aluminum foil inside a small bag.”

Upon further inspection of the checked bag, the TSA said in a statement, the container was loosely packaged, unmarked and the contents were unknown to the TSA officer.

After an officer completed screening of the checked bag - clearing it to continue to its destination – the container was carefully repacked and put into place, the agency said.

A photo in Francis’s tweet shows clothing in his luggage covered in what he said were his mother's ashes and a notice of inspection bag from TSA.

“TSA understands how painful losing a loved one is, and we express our sincere condolences to Mr. Francis,” TSA told ABC in a statement. “TSA officers are trained to treat all travelers’ belongings with care and respect.”

For passengers traveling with cremated remains through a checkpoint, TSA recommends securing them in a container made of a lighter weight material, such as wood or plastic.

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iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Hedge fund billionaire David Tepper finalized a deal to purchase the Carolina Panthers of the NFL for $2.275 billion, according to an ESPN report.

The franchise's former owner and its founder, Jerry Richarson, finalized the sale after he was fined $2.75 million for sexual and racial workplace misconduct on June 28. Allegations of the inappropriate behavior surfaced in late 2017. Shortly after the public learned of the allegations, it was announced Richardson would sell the team.

Tepper said in a statement:

"I am thrilled to begin this new era of Carolina Panthers football and am humbled by the overwhelming excitement and support for the team. On behalf of the fans and myself, I thank Jerry Richardson for bringing the team to the Carolinas and for entrusting me with its future."

Richardson also released a statement on behalf of he and his wife Rosalind:

"[We] are grateful to the Carolina community for the love and support you have shown your Panthers. Your enthusiasm for football and devotion to the team has been a source of strength for us and for everyone who calls the Carolinas home."

Tepper has now taken over the day-to-day operations of the team.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New York Giants defensive lineman A.J. Francis lashed out against the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on social media Monday, alleging they mishandled the urn carrying his mother's ashes.

ESPN reports Carrie Leanne Francis died in late June. On Twitter, Francis posted a picture of clothes covered in what appear to be ashes. In a profanity-laced claim, he says the agency did not close the urn and her ashes spilled onto his clothes.

The TSA Twitter account responded to Francis' photo, writing that the urn containing ashes should not have been opened.

Francis did not accept their apology, and told multiple media outlets he would not comment further on the situation.

Francis joined the Giants this offseason, having previously played with the Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins, and Seattle Seahawks.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from yesterday's sports events:

Cincinnati 7,  Cleveland 5

Baltimore 5,  N-Y Yankees 4
Boston 5,  Texas 0
Tampa Bay 10,  Detroit 9, 10 Innings
N-Y Yankees 10,  Baltimore 2
Oakland 2,  Houston 0
Minnesota 3,  Kansas City 1

N-Y Mets 4,  Philadelphia 3, 10 Innings
Pittsburgh 6,  Washington 3
Miami 4,  Milwaukee 3, 10 Innings
Philadelphia 3,  N-Y Mets 1
L-A Dodgers 8,  San Diego 2
San Francisco 2,  Chi Cubs 1, 11 Innings

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