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"Beautiful game' offers NATO respite from ugly divisions

AFP  |  Brussels 

came to the rescue of tense leaders at a summit today, providing them with a welcome diversion from the tensions roiling the transatlantic alliance.

The group is facing one its most difficult meetings in years due to US Donald Trump's criticism of the organisation and his targeting of German leader

But with semi-finals in NATO's traditional adversary made up exclusively of members of the western alliance, the heads of state and government in were able to turn to to lighten the atmosphere.

British exchanged a team jersey with her Croatian counterpart ahead of today's night's England-semi final clash.

tweeted a pictured of May smiling with Croatian Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, saying that everything was "still all ok" between the on-pitch rivals.

The Croatian also gave May a shirt -- and one to Trump with his surname emblazoned on the back, even though the did not compete in finals.

Belgian meanwhile teased French President about yesterday's game between their countries that saw win 1-0 to book a place in the final on Sunday.

"Frankly Emmanuel, yesterday the French team was very lucky," Michel said with a smile.

But he suggested the sport could provide an example to the alliance.

"Like in football, fair-play and team spirit are what we need more than ever," he said. declined to say which team he was supporting when asked by reporters.

"Representing 29 nations I will not pick any specific team I would like to win," he said, adding that his own country had not qualified for the finals in

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, July 11 2018. 20:15 IST