France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris celebrates after the quarterfinal match between Uruguay and France at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, Friday, July 6, 2018. France defeated Uruguay by 2-0. (AP Photo/David Vincent)

France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris celebrates after the quarterfinal match between Uruguay and France at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, Friday, July 6, 2018. France defeated Uruguay by 2-0. (AP Photo/David Vincent)


Croatia national soccer team players celebrate after a penalty is saved in a shootout during the quarterfinal match between Russia and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Fisht Stadium, in Sochi, Russia, Saturday, July 7, 2018. Croatia won the match 4-3 on penalties after the game ended 2-2 after extra time. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)


England's Harry Maguire, center, celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side opening goal during the quarterfinal match between Sweden and England at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Samara Arena, in Samara, Russia, Saturday, July 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)


MOSCOW (AP) — The World Cup semifinal stage is beginning with the all-European lineup being celebrated by soccer’s governing body on the continent.

Belgium and France play in St. Petersburg on Tuesday and then Croatia and England meet the following night in Moscow.

It is the fifth time the last four has featured only European teams.

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin says “even though some of our traditional contenders such as Germany, Spain and Portugal were eliminated, there are other teams which have surpassed expectations and can now win the title.”

In a statement to The Associated Press, Ceferin added “these results validate all the work that is being done across the continent to develop football, and they also showcase the strength and quality that exists across the whole UEFA region.”

France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris celebrates after the quarterfinal match between Uruguay and France at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, Friday, July 6, 2018. France defeated Uruguay by 2-0. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/07/web1_120911398-1dccd49856ff46079d5b2f2341dc6b88.jpgFrance goalkeeper Hugo Lloris celebrates after the quarterfinal match between Uruguay and France at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, Friday, July 6, 2018. France defeated Uruguay by 2-0. (AP Photo/David Vincent)

Croatia national soccer team players celebrate after a penalty is saved in a shootout during the quarterfinal match between Russia and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Fisht Stadium, in Sochi, Russia, Saturday, July 7, 2018. Croatia won the match 4-3 on penalties after the game ended 2-2 after extra time. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/07/web1_120911398-fe14ba4239ab4355be0a76497075d3ec.jpgCroatia national soccer team players celebrate after a penalty is saved in a shootout during the quarterfinal match between Russia and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Fisht Stadium, in Sochi, Russia, Saturday, July 7, 2018. Croatia won the match 4-3 on penalties after the game ended 2-2 after extra time. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

England’s Harry Maguire, center, celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side opening goal during the quarterfinal match between Sweden and England at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Samara Arena, in Samara, Russia, Saturday, July 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/07/web1_120911398-cb679a77aa384933b53ccb12b9883e26.jpgEngland’s Harry Maguire, center, celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side opening goal during the quarterfinal match between Sweden and England at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Samara Arena, in Samara, Russia, Saturday, July 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)