Four Countries. Two Games. One Goal.

Watching the World Cup semifinals brought together fans across France, Belgium, England and Croatia who never set foot in Russia.

Clockwise from top left: World Cup fans in Croatia, Belgium, France and England.CreditClockwise from top left: Zoran Marinovic; Virginie Nguyen; Pete Kiehart; Andrew Testa, all for The New York Times

They gathered beneath giant screens in London, packed out bars in Brussels, filled the Old Town in Dubrovnik and the Vieux Port in Marseille. They painted their faces and wrapped flags round their shoulders. They bought plastic glasses of beer to throw in celebration, or down in sorrow. They crossed their fingers, and they held their breath.

Abdel Benzaim hands a France flag to a patron outside his shop in Marseille, France, before the World Cup semifinal between France and Belgium.CreditPete Kiehart for The New York Times
A bar in Saint-Gilles, close to Brussels city center.CreditVirginie Nguyen for The New York Times
A cafe in London before the match.CreditAndrew Testa for The New York Times

From early Tuesday morning until late Wednesday night, Belgium and France, England and Croatia came almost to a standstill, nervously anticipating the World Cup…

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