tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN July 14, 2018 1:00am-2:00am PDT
a bombshell in the russia meddling probe. the special counsel indicts 12 russian military officers. we'll have the details. plus thousands in london protest the u.s. president's visit to the uk as mr. trump prepares for his meeting with russia's president vladimir putin. also ahead this hour, a violence campaign in pakistan, voters there preparing to go to the polls. live from cnn world headquarters in atlanta, i'm george howell. "cnn newsroom" starts right now.
at 4:00 a.m. on the u.s. east coast, the u.s. president is now in scotland, mr. trump spending the weekend at one of his two golf resorts there. but you tthe shockwaves in the e still reverberating. and the meeting with vladimir putin monday and now a new bombshell, the indictments of 12 russian military officers, new proof that russia interfered in the 20 elect. it lays bare the question, will president trump challenge mr. putin in defense of the united states or sweep this under the rug in order to make a new friend? our chief white house correspondent jim acosta as the reporting for you. all right . >> reporter: as the president was greeted by the queen, mr. trump was again met with the unwomu unwelcome guest that never leaves his side, the russia
investigation. >> i think we're being hurt very badly by i would call it the witch hunt, the rigged witch hunt. >> reporter: at a news conference the president again slammed the russia probe despite he had been briefed that the justice department was preparing an indictment against 12 russians. >> the president is fully aware of the department's actions today. >> reporter: on the defensive, the white house released a statement noting the charges included no allegation of knowing involvement by anyone on the trump campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result. this is consistent with what we've been saying all along. the president said he would raise the issue of election meddling when he meets with russian leader vladimir putin on monday. >> i know you'll ask will we be talking about meddling, and i will absolutely bring that up. i don't think you'll have any, gee, i did it, you got me. there won't be a perry mason here i don't think. >> reporter: still mr. trump complained the russian investigation complicates his
relationship with moscow. >> we do have a political problem where in the united states we have this pure stupidity, but it makes it hard to do something with russia. anything you do, it is always going to be oh, he loves russia. i love the united states. >> reporter: as the president said at the nato summit, he wants to be friends with putin. >> he's not my enemy. and hopefully some day maybe he'll be a friend. it could happen. >> reporter: but the president told cnn he will insist that the r russians cease their attacks on american democracy. following the nato summit where he outranked some allies, mr. trump irritated his hosts in britain, criticizing the prime minister's handling of brexit to "the sun." >> i would have done it differently. i actually told theresa may how to do it, but she didn't listen to me. she wanted to go a different route. >> reporter: a rare moment of contrition, the president said
he was sorry . >> i said i want to apologize because i said such good things about you. >> reporter: but no apologies for his harsh rhetoric on immigration. >> i know it is politically not necessarily correct to say that, but i'll say it and ii'll say i loud. and i think they better watch themselves because you are changing culture. it is a he very sad situation. it is very unfortunate. but i do not think it is good for europe and i don't think it is good to our country. >> reporter: as for russia meddling, all eyes will be on the president to see if he will in fact tell putin to stay out of u.s. elections. and now perhaps a more critical question, will he demand that putin turn over the russians who have been indicted in the u.s. that demand will only make his hopes for a friendship with putin that much more complicated. jim acosta, cnn, london. now a little more on the indictments, naming 12 russian military officers.
it accuses them of seeking to undermine candidate hillary clinton. their alleged offenses include identity theft, conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to commit computer crimes. the indictment charges that these russian officers stole data on 500,000 u.s. voters, installed malware on campaign computers, and kept up their hacking operation until one month before the election. there have been demands by some members of do you think for the summit to be called off, the white house says that will not happen, the summit will go on as planned. from russia's perspective, the nation's foreign ministry says there is no evidence that the 12 russian officers indicted were involved, they called the indictment a, quote, bogus story aimed at spoiling the atmosphere before the summit with president putin. jeremy diamond is traveling with the president and joining us
from glasgow. a pleasure to have you. there has been a lot of question about how this meeting will play out, but the bigger question here, any new reaction from either the president or his people about the fallout of these 12 russians indicted? >> well, we have not heard from the president on this topic, but the white house did yesterday put out a statement in the name of the deputy white house press secretary. and i'll read you you a portion of that right now. she writes, today's charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result. this is consistent with what we have been saying all along. i think first of all it is notable that the statement is coming from the deputy white house press secretary and not the press secretary sarah sanders and certainly not a statement in the president's own name. and also the focus of the statement here is not really looking at the indictments of these russians, it is not
looking at the wrongdoing that they have allegedly committed or the hacking that took place. in fact, the statement says the alleged hacking. something that the intelligence communities in the united states and law enforcement communities have long acknowledged occurred, this hacking was not alleged, but there was indeed a hacking that took place. so clearly the focus of the white house here is kind of a defensive mode pushing back on any suggestion that there would be any ties in this matter to the white house or to the trump campaign saying as we've said all along, it involved perhaps russians, but certainly nobody in the campaign and not the president himself. >> at the very least, the stench from the bombshell certainly front and center as president trump plans to meet with president putin. looking ahead, how might this play into mr. trump's meeting this stench with president putin? >> reporter: yeah, it certainly is going to be a factor.
apparently the president knew days before this indictment came out, he was warned by the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein that these charges would be coming down. so that is very notable. but i think as we prepare for this meeting between the president and vladimir putin, one of the real key points is something that the president said just yesterday when he said things that are getting in the way of the u.s./russia relationship improving, he wasn't pointing to these kinds of indictments, he wasn't pointing to the wrongdoing that russia has committed, their aggressive actions in ukraine in the middle east. instead, the president pointed to stupidity in american politics. the partisanship surrounding this investigation, one that he has branded a witch hunt. so it is notable to see the blaming lack of improvement in u.s./russia relations on the actions of democrats and this special counsel investigation back in washington. >> essentially blaming the united states, yeah, as he heads
into this meeting with president putin. jeremy diamond, thank you for the reporting. now let's get some context on all of this with the international politics professor at city university in london. let's talk more about what we have seen here coming out of these indictments. does this box president trump in a bit as he has this meeting with vladimir putin? >> well, i don't think it boxes him in because in the end the whole affair has been going on for some time. there is nothing particularly different if quality to this. and i think that it will basically just be another sort of element there. but i don't think that it will box him in particularly. these allegations have been running a long time. so basically the timing of the release of this i guess suggests a kind of general unease within
american foreign policy about these upcoming talks. and there are those who oppose the very idea of negotiating or talking, having a dialogue with russia at the moment because of the things that we know about in terms of ukraine and crimea. and clearly for the president and many of his key advisers, they disagree with that idea of no dialogue with russia. and i suspect that there is a larger kind of geopolitical picture and there is disagreement about exactly how the u.s. should deal with rising powers or powers which are becoming much more assertive than they were before. >> and on that topic, this question. we heard president trump say on the podium there in the uk that he will bring it up with president putin, this issue of russian meddling. he said there may not be a perry mason moment that russian president vladimir putin may not say i did it, maybe he will,
maybe he won't, who knows. but the greater question here, do you suspect president trump will be as ser differensertive this issue in defense of the united states or will he sweep it under the rug? >> that is a difficult question to answer. i suspect that it will come up. the key issue really is that there is that kind of noise if you like about this whole matter, the collusion, meddling and so on, but we have to remember, he has just come fresh off a meeting at nato. and when we look at the communique which was signed by president trump and the other nato leaders, then we see that communique's contents very much place russia within the cross hairs of nato itself. and you look at the 30 times four concept which has been put forward that within the space of 30 days, 30 warship squad rants, 30 military divisions, 30 warships could be deployed in any emergency, it actually does
target russia. so i'm not sure that if you like that noise is going to do very much to detract from that. and i suspect president putin and the russian bureaucracies will have seen those actions and i think those actions will speak very loudly. the way in which president trump raises the matter in a way is almost irrelevant because there is not going to be any could confession from anybody and great powers tend to meddle in each other's affairs on a fairly routine basis. >> let's talk just a bit more about president trump's time with the british prime minister. the plus/minus really of that interaction, miss may certainly under pressure given brexit. did the president either help or hurt her on that issue.
>> >> i doni don't think he's h very much. he clearly has soured relations and as the press conference yesterday showed, he stepped way back from the kinds of things that he said in that "sun" interview. but i think that there is a dynamic which is a domestic political dynamic in britain which is far more important. president trump's words would have strengthened the hard brexitee brexiteers, but i think there is a domestic political context. within the conservative party, that kind of -- that sort of division continues. but in the end also there is a dynamic between the conservative party government and also the jeremy corbyn-led labor. and i think hard brexit is more afraid of a corbyn-led labor government than they are of sort of a fighting against theresa may. so they will negotiate, but i think that they will want to avoid a collapse of the may government. what president trump wants is a hard brexit, to peel the uk away
from the european union, thereby we can weakening both to line them up for hard trade negotiations which will probably benefit america a lot more than they would benefit britain or the eu. britain has very few if any experienced trade negotiators. and i think any hard brexit will line up britain for a very tough trade negotiation and i think we're heading in a way towards a low wage, low tax economy, more military spending, probably greater cuts in health care and so on and welfare. and i think that will be very dangerous for order working people in britain and i think the may government is kind of -- is implicated in that kind of movement overall. and i think president trump has not helped it either. >> a look ahead what the we expect with this upcoming meeting of president trump and hindsight of his time in uk. thank you very much for your perspective. and speaking of london, on the streets of that city, people
welcome back. more now on the u.s. president's time in the uk. it was a rather quick but eventful trip to england. mr. trump and mrs. trump capped off their visit on friday by meeting with queen elizabeth. the queen has met with every u.s. president since 1952 with the exception of president johnson. after hand shakes and a bit of small talk, the president and queen inspected the front rank of the guard of honor, they also went inside the castle for tea. earlier president trump met with the prime minister of the nation theresa may, that was after again that explosive interview in the british tabloid "the sun" which mr. trump slammed the prime minister's negotiation of brexit. during a joint news conference though, mr. trump did something he rarely does, let's take a
look. >> i said very good things about her. i didn't think they put it in, but that is all right. they didn't put it in the headline, i wish they put it in the headline. and she's a total professional because when i saw her, i said i want to apologize because i said such good things about you. she said don't worry, it is only the press. i thought that was very professional. i might add though -- that is called -- don't worry. they have been doing to me and i do to them. >> all right. let's sort it out with dominic thomas, cnn's european affairs commentator live this hour from berlin. thank you for your time today. president trump's comments there on the podium, this coming obviously after an interview that left a sting but the question here, as he shrugged it all off, what is your read on how he handled this situation with america's closest ally? >> well, he handled it very poorly. and i think can you just imagine if the situation was reversed
and if theresa may arrived on a state visit to washington and started to openly criticize the president on for example his immigration policy or his supreme court pick. so it was an absolute diplomatic faux pas. what is of concern really in this particular situation is where donald trump gets these ideas from and speaking to "the sun" newspaper is already a questionable choice. this is a tabloid sensationalist right wing newspaper. but to use that particular platform in this context when theresa may had just emerged from one of the most if not the most complicated week of her prime ministership where her foreign secretary boris johnson, one of the architect he is as a brexiteers had step down, and talking about him as a wonderful potential prime minister, was really incredibly awkward and insensitive. and this came on the heels of having made all kinds of comments about immigration in
britain and other sensitive issues. and so it is obviously -- [ inaudible ] maintain a soft brexit, it was really, really an awkward situation. >> it was interesting president trump basically as you point out giving these comments to the british tabloid, the right leaning british tabloid, and then calling the comment that we heard him say, calling those comments fake news. let's talk more about theresa may under pressure. certainly after a rough week with brexit. is the burden now on her to ensure that the relationship with the u.s., with president trump, remains strong especially with regards to securing u.s. trade relations? >> this is the main problem really. and so of course she's being heavily criticized for not having responded in a more forceful manner to donald trump. and in many ways one would say
she's caught between a rock and a hard place. the absolute central argument that she has been making is that once we go through with brexit, the united kingdom will be freed up from all of these hindrances, bureaucracy, legal jurisdiction of brussels and will be able to engage in free trade bilateral agreements which will help relaunch what she's been describing repeatedly as a global britain. so for donald trump to essentially threaten her with that, i think was very interesting. and in fact as many people have already commented and pointed out one of the very reasons why the european union is such an important organization is that it allows the 28 member countries to sit at the negotiating table with an important economic leader like the united states and so people are very concerned about the kind of vulnerability of this prime minister as she goes forward into these negotiations. both with europe and across the
atlantic with the united states. >> and this time with president trump will certainly be key, an important question to see how it plays out. but do people there across the uk see her having stood up to president trump or being passive with him? we'll have to see of course. dominic thomas, thank you for your time and we'll stay in touch with you. let's talk about what happened on the streets of london. tens of thousands of people marched in protest of president trump's visit. most notably there was a giant orange balloon of mr. trump as a baby that floated above the crowd outside parliament. as erin mclaughlin shows us. >> reporter: anti-trump protests handing across london. here you can see they stopped just outside of downing street, a mini version of the trump baby balloon. we're asking people here one simple question. why are you protesting? >> because it is our opportunity to make our voices heard that we disapprove of pretty much everything that donald trump is
and stands for and has done so far as president. that is it. as simple as that. we can make our voices heard. hopefully someone will notice. i don't suppose it will change his mind about anything, but it makes us feel a great deal better. >> why are you protesting? >> i'd like my children to grow up in a world that cares about people and cares about the planet and i don't think trump represents either of those things. >> we're basically protesting because we don't welcome trump, we don't welcome his politics, we don't welcome his xenophobia. and he is stoking the fires of racial hatred and xenophobia all over the world. >> and we're asking one simple question. why are you here? >> i'm here because i'm the mother of two daughters. i'm here because trump is against everything from breast feeding being assumed from the u.n. to climate change to the future of the world. to taking other people's children away from them. and i have to stand up because what kind of a world are they going to end up with if we
don't. >> it's always been the gay community's fight or it's been black people's fight or refugees' future separately. and i think this is the first time that i can recall where all of us got something really important that will unify us and together we'll make a bigger difference. >> erin mclaughlin with that report. we're now hearing from the members of the rescued thai football team, they are speaking out for the first time since the terrifying ordeal. the boys and their coach are recovering in the hospital still, but the health ministry says that they will be released come thursday. earlier they went on camera one by one sending thanks for the support that they received from around the world. >> hello. now i am very fine.
thank you. thank you so much. >> translator: hi, i am healthy. thank you for getting inside the cave to help me. don't worry, i am safe. >> translator: hi, my name is titan. my body is starting to return to normal. i want to eat sushi. i want to thank the s.e.a.l.s. thank you for everyone supporting us. >> so good to hear them. earlier this week, a team of international divers bravely where he is cued them from a flooded cave where they had been trapped. finland has a lot of experience dealing with russia. we will tell you what advice they have for the u.s. president as he meets monday with the leader of russia, vladimir putin, in the finnish capital. plus a former trump adviser talks to cnn about his contact with russian hackers who have
now been indicted by the u.s. my name is jeff sheldon, and i'm the founder of ugmonk. before shipstation it was crazy. it's great when you see a hundred orders come in, a hundred orders come in, but then you realize i've got a hundred orders i have to ship out. shipstation streamlined that wh the order data, the weights of , everything is seamlessly put into shipstation, so when we print the shipping ll everything's pretty much done. it's so much easier so now, we're ready, bring on t. shipstation. the number one ch of online sellers.
come from your business number. them, not so much. we let you keep an eye on your business from anywhere. the others? nope! get internet on our gig-speed network and add voice and tv for $34.90 more per month. call or go on line today. coast to coast across the united states and to our viewers around the world, you are watching c"cnn newsroom." i'm george howell with the headlines we're following for you. on the streets of london, tens of thousands of people filled the streets in protest telling t u.s. president he wasn't welcome there. they released a giant orange colored balloon of trump as a baby above the crowd. outside parliament.
n in pack so pakistan, an a attack wounded 200. and at least two other deadly incidents were also reported ahead of pakistan's general election in less than two weeks time. a bottle discovered inside the home of novichok victim charlie rowley, we know it is the source of a nerve agent that killed his partner. police opened a murder investigation in salisbury after dawn sturgess died sunday from exposure to the poison. rowley remains in hospital. the u.s. justice department on friday announced the indictment of 12 russian military officials who were meddling in the 2016 election. the u.s. alleges they hacked in to several servers to undermine hillary clinton. one person at the intersection of the hackers and the trump campaign is roger stone. he has acknowledged having contact with one of the online
personas used by the lacquk hac. and it now appears stone is the unnamed individual in the indictments. here is what he told chris cuomo. >> you are the man suggested in the indictments. i know you said you don't think you are, but what is your answer? >> earlier daifrd before i had a chance to read this extensive document, i wasn't sure. but i certainly acknowledge that i was in touch with trump campaign officials. and i have testified under oath to the house intelligence committee that i certainly had a 24 word exchange with the persona lucifer 2.0 over twitter direct messages. any objective person who will read that exchange which is included in the indictment will see that based on content -- context and timing, it is benign. it is innocuous. >> roger stone there speaking
with chris cuomo. the u.s. president has routinely dismissed the russia investigation. he calls it a witch hunt. even though says that he will bring it up when he meets on monday with russia's president in helsinki. to talk more about this, matthew chance is live there. give us a sense here of how russia is responding to this bombshell indictment. >> reporter: well, they responded in a way which we entirely expected, which is that they denied it, they denied the allegations in the past and they have taken this opportunity to deny them again. but they are doing it once again using the same kind of language that donald trump himself uses when he describes the allegations of collusion with russia, a statement from the russian foreign ministry released last night saying washington is struggling to reanimate old fake news about the allegations of russian meddling in the presidential election. in the past they called it a witch hunt. that is the term that donald trump mass used to describe it. this time they say it is just
from a heap of conspiracy.used . this time they say it is just from a heap of conspiracy. the purpose of the bogus story the statement goes on is to spoil at loss fear before the russian/american summit. and of course they meet monday a couple days from now where president trump says that he will raise this issue. but because the russians have consistently categorized this as political interference, politically motivated conspiracy to undermine both their standing and the standing of president trump, it is likely that it is not going to be a confront confrontational meeting, it is likely that they could agree on this issue. they both see it as a politically motivated attack. >> it will be interesting of course to see how this meeting comes together given the new information of this indictment. but matthew, where you are there in helsinki, talk to us about what it is like. this is a big summit. what have you seen with regards to preparations there? >> reporter: the security
preparations are under way. the main meeting will be held at the presidential palace which is just a short distance behind me. and of course the fact that helg si helsinki has been chosen is significant. it has a long russian border. vladimir putin will be at the world cup final on sunday, will have to come here for the meeting on monday. but it is just not proximity. finland is unique in the sense that it has always struck a delicate balance between the interests of its giant neighbor russia and the west where it is a member of the eu. and so finland sits on that geopolitical fault line between russia and the west. and that is the reason perhaps most of all that it has been chosen as the venue. >> this is one of the entrances to the facility. >> reporter: this is finland's
last line of defense. vast network of underground bunkers deep beneath helsinki, designed to shelter tense of thousands in the event of a military attack. >> we are taking care of the whole population in this country. and when we are defending the country, we also have the proper civil defense. >> you are defending against russia? >> that is a potential enemy, yes. >> reporter: with its long russian border and painful history of invasion from moscow, there are no illusions down here at least about the threat and who poses it. this ceiling above us, this is all solid granite? >> yes. very nice solid granite. >> reporter: but above on the streets of the finnish capital, preparations are now under way to host an extraordinary summit, a meeting at this presidential
palace of two eunpredictable president trumps. it is not clear yet what will be agreed here in helsinki or even discussed inside this building. there is no shortage of issues though including allegations of russian meddling in the u.s. elections, the shootdown of a civilian airliner in 2014, or the recent use of a russian nerve agent in britain. all of which moscow of course denies involvement. the kremlin says it expects arms control and the conflict in syria to be on the agenda. but there is also a possibility of an unexpected concession. president trump recently suggested he would discuss suspending military exercises in the baltic if vladimir putin requests it. making concessions to russia for the sake of getting on is something finland has turned into a fine art. for decades striking a delicate balance between the interests of its giant neighbor and its own
independence. the advice from here, talk to moscow, but beware. >> you can kind of see finland's approach russia is about dialogue and deterrent. but you have to be ready to defend yourself. >> is that a lesson do you think that donald trump could take from finland's experience as he prepares for this summit with vladimir putin? engage but also prepare for the worst? >> i think so. absolutely. >> reporter: it is how tiny finland has survived in the dark shadow of its russian neighbor. the united states with its vast wealth and power could soon follow suit. >> george, we won't have to wait long to find out because president trump and his wife arrive here tomorrow night on sunday night local time. and they will be meeting on monday morning. the finnish president before
having that one-on-one summit with president trump where they will discuss we understand a range of issues. and after several hours, we're expecting a joint press conference, news conference, with the two leaders. although there may be something that stops short of that. so we'll see what happens. >> juxtaposing preparation with progress. fascinating report. thank you so much. pakistan gears up for a general election as the country faces an uptick of violent attacks. we are live there ahead. you don't want to live with mom and dad forever, do you? i'm making smoothies! how do i check my credit score? credit karma. don't worry, it's free. credit karma. give yourself some credit.
holiday in fwrarance. it was at turning point in the french revolution celebrated every year with military parades and flyovers. in pakistan, at least 128 people have died in a suicide attack targeting the convoy of a political candidate. it is just the latest violence attack ahead of the country's general election that is set for later this month. cnn is live in islamabad. and our producer, sophia, is on the story. tell us more about the incident and implications given the violence we've seen of late. >> well, george, this happened in a very remote part in the southern tip of pakistan. the death toll is extremely high. it was a suicide attack. and it was an attack that wasn't expected. i mean everybody though there is violence in previous election cycles, this wasn't something that militancy has not been the focus of pakistan's political observers or journalists in the
previous weeks. to have a summary of what campaigning has been so far, let's have a look at what has happened in the weeks leading up to the elections the 25th of july. targeting the convoy for political candidate, it is pakistan's deadliest terror strike of the year and the third this week to target political campaigners. just 12 days before voters go to the polls, a high stakes election has become more violent. meanwhile further north, police deployed large numbers as protesters marched in defiance of city orders. supporters of the ousted prime minister who returned with his daughter in a high stakes gamble to rouse their struggling party. >> translator: pakistan is at a decisive juncture and i have done what is in my power and what was in my power. i know that i was sentenced to ten years in prison and i am to be directly taken to jail. i want to tell pakistanis that i
have been doing this for you. i'm making the sacrifice for your future generations. >> reporter: sharif and his daughter had been sentenced on corruption charges last week in a case represented to the panama papers. they were apprehended quickly on charges he denies and his supporters lambaste as politically motivated. >> translator: let them do whatever police and their bullies want to do. we are here to face it. we will not turn back. >> reporter: he could shake up a fast approaching election. his brother leads the ruling party which is fighting for surviv survival. particularly against their arch rival who is a cricket legend. he has campaigned hard on promises to he said persistent corruption in pakistan. a message that has resonated with some after sharif's ousting last year. but this election has been
marred by accusations that pakistan's powerful military is working to could you tskew the khan's favor. something he rejected outright. >> the public is demanding accountability of leaders of political parties. now each time there is an attempt to hold them accountable, they all get together and start saying it is anti-democratic. and in this case they are saying it is people rigging. >> reporter: but sharif reporters are onnot the only on claiming it. others similarly criticized what they called pre-poll rigging. when a criminal case against its core chairman and husband was reopened. and at the helm, his 29-year-old son campaigning for the first time despite the violent end to his mother's political career. more than a decade has passed since his mother's death.
tragically political violence still plaguing pakistan's elections. george, this death is in everyone's minds considering the violence that happened yesterday and a couple days before that. these political candidates have been attacked, political rallies that have been targeted. and now with just less than two weeks left before the election, a lot of conversation and fear about what will happen regarding the safety of these major political players in the country. >> certainly a great deal of concern around it. sophia, thank you for the report. we'll keep in touch. let's talk more about france taking on croatia. it isn't the only world cup game this weekend. we look at the third place match between belgium and england up next. my day starts well before i'm even in the kitchen.
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without asking your prescriber. get medical help right away if you have trouble breathing, fast heartbeat, extreme drowsiness, swelling of your face, tongue or throat, dizziness, or confusion. ask your health care provider if you're tresiba® ready. covered by most insurance and medicare plans. ♪ tresiba® ready ♪ the stage is set for football's biggest game. france taking on croatia sunday the world cup final in moscow. but first we have england versus belgium to decide third place.
let's talk about all the football action. alex thomas live in moss do you. let's start with the third place match-up, belgium and england. >> reporter: george, this is the game no country wants to play because it means you missed out on the chance of world cup glory, you were eliminated at the semifinal stage just one win away from reaching that world cup final with a chance of lifting the trophy. so on belgium lost to france on tuesday night in st. petersburg. i was there. this is a golden generation of players for belgium. high hopes that this was the chance they could win the world cup for the first time in their history. instead they lost and you could see the look of desolation on their faces and body language. yet they have to hang around for four days to play another match in the same city later on saturday. and joined by england who suddenly thought having come into the tournament without very high hopes that the stars were perhaps aligning for them to win
for the first time since 1966. instead, it is france and croatia that will get that chance here on sunday. >> and let's talk about france versus croatia. an unexpected match-up, fair to say? >> reporter: yeah, massive david v goliath. croatia in the final for the first time in their history. and a nation of just over 4 million people. that is fewer than the u.s. state of alabama. it will be the biggest upset in sporting history since, well, it could be the biggest -- certainly going to be the biggest in world cup history in my opinion. but the difference being with any football match, often there are so few goals scored that upsets can happen and we've seen that in this tournament plenty of times. with germany not even getting out of the group stage. spain surprising losing to the
host russia, lowest ranked team. portugal and argentina didn't get out of the round of 16. so croatia winning would be a huge fairy tale story for them. much more likely is france winning it for the second time on the 20th anniversary when they first did it back in 1998. that rear t ye that year the team captain is now the coach. >> and a gosh, what crowd if croatia were to win. but i hate to put you on the spot. you've watched these matches. of course you know the most about these teams, the players. what is your pick? >> reporter: i think i have to go with the favorites, france. i think it could be a narrow win. 1-nil perhaps. france like usain bolt, just
doing enough to get through each round, saving all that energy in the tank for the final when it matters. i think france will go through the gears if they need to and just have enough for croatia who played three successive game as of extra time, so their legs will be pretty tired. >> and final question. you're right there in moscow. what has this been like for that nation, certainly a big written for ru -- win for russia. >> reporter: it has been more successful than many estimated. some of the problems that were talked about haven't materialized. and if they put on a good show on sunday, i think everyone will go back happy. >> alex thomas, thank you so much. it's been a pleasure to watch your reporting. we'll see what happens when these two teams come together. thank you for being with us here. i'm george howell at the cnn center in atlanta. let's reset. the day's top stories just ahead after the break. this is not a bed.
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