Clint Dempsey talk; because we love Clint Dempsey talk

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If there were any lingering doubts that well-heeled pursuers will wave stacks of cash at Fulham for American striker Clint Dempsey during the summer transfer period, Saturday’s latest display surely put them to rest.

Two more goals against Bolton (in Saturday’s 3-0 win) gives Dempsey 21 for the year, as he keeps ticking off the the accomplishments:

  • Saturday’s pair gives Dempsey 15 in Premiership play this year, a new club record. His total betters Louis Saha’s 13, set eight years ago at Craven Cottage.
  • He has 12 goals for Fulham since New Year’s. Plus, Dempsey threw in a game-winner in the U.S. national team’s 1-0 February win over Italy.
  • A week ago, Dempsey’s 13th strike in English Premier League action broke his own record for EPL goals by an American, 12, set in the 2010-11 campaign.

Dempsey has 16 months left on his Fulham contract. So this summer is the time for the little club in West London to capitalize. Who will come calling?

It may not be Manchester United or Chelsea, although the biggest of the Premiership biggies cannot be ruled out.

Dempsey could end up traveling East, into the continent. Would a German club, for instance, a near-the-top side such as Schalke 04, see Dempsey as a way to make hay in next year’s Champions League?

Dempsey might not see much point in a joining a club in the “good but not great” universe, a side like Stuttgart or Bayer Leverkusen. They might get into Europa League play next year, but Dempsey’s checked the box on that one.

Back in England, clubs like Liverpool and Newcastle fall in the same category. Playing in Champions League seems to be Dempsey’s primary motivation for wanting to graduate out of Craven Cottage, a place dear to the man’s heart, but one he has outgrown.

What says “outgrown,” by the way, like setting records around the ground?

Dempsey’s goals, the breakdown:

League matches: 15 goals, 33 appearances

UEFA: 3 goals, 7 appearances

FA Cup: 3 goals, 2 appearances

Total: 21 goals, 42 appearances

Hazard, Lukaku help Belgium to rout

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Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard each scored a pair of goals and Michy Batshuayi also scored as Belgium clobbered Tunisia 5-2 in Moscow on Saturday.

Dylan Bronn and Wahbi Khazri scored for Tunisia.

Belgium leads the group ahead of England’s Sunday match against Panama.

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Romelu Lukaku led an early break that led to a Thomas Meunier shot collected by Tunisian keeper Farouk Ben Mustapha.

Eden Hazard won a penalty in the fifth minute, just inside the 18. He converted the chance low and to the right of Ben Mustapha.

Ben Mustapha was fortunate when Hazard’s 12th minute shot of a terrific Lukaku pass was substandard.

Lukaku then scored a beauty in the 16th minute, sent into the 18 by Dries Mertens, when he clinically slid a shot inside the far post.

Tunisia got a surprise answer a minute later, with three goals gracing the games first 18 minutes. Bronn turned a free kick past Thibaut Courtois and into the back of the net.

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https://twitter.com/TelemundoSports/status/1010498221116801024

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Belgium was knocking on the door for most of the half, and a wobbly Kevin De Bruyne missed Lukaku with a stoppage time cross which should’ve led to a third.

Lukaku got his third courtesy of Meunier a moment later.

Hazard scored his second after the break, and Youri Tielemans assisted Batshuayi’s marker to round out the scoring for Belgium. Ex-Sunderland man Khazri scored late for Tunisia.

VIDEO: Wild first half in Moscow sees Lukaku, Hazard on board

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Romelu Lukaku (2) and Eden Hazard scored for Belgium before Dylan Bronn answered for Tunisia, as dominant Belgium holds a 3-1 lead with three goals gracing the games first 18 minutes on Saturday.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Lukaku led an early break that led to a Thomas Meunier shot collected by Tunisian keeper Farouk Ben Mustapha.

Hazard won a penalty in the fifth minute, just inside the 18. He converted the chance low and to the right of Ben Mustapha.

Ben Mustapha was fortunate when Hazard’s 12th minute shot of a terrific Lukaku pass was substandard.

Lukaku then scored a beauty in the 16th minute, sent into the 18 by Dries Mertens, when he clinically slid a shot inside the far post.

Tunisia got a surprise answer a minute later when Bronn turned a free kick past Thibaut Courtois and into the back of the net.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

Lukaku would chip the keeper after Meunier played his perfect run to feet.

https://twitter.com/TelemundoSports/status/1010498221116801024

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Enrique has rare brain tumor removed, faces battle

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Former Newcastle and Liverpool defender Jose Enrique is now an agent, but the headache that came with a manager meeting had nothing to do with the conversation.

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Enrique had a “brutal” headache following a meeting with Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton, his former manager, and tests revealed a rare brain tumor (Spanish language link).

Enrique underwent brain surgery to remove the tumor and now faces 35 sessions of radiotherapy, only available in two European cities.

He lost more than a dozen pounds in a single week, calling it “the toughest time of my life.”

WATCH: World Cup, Day 10 — All eyes on Germany

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Many of the favorites in the 2018 World Cup have disappointed, but until Argentina fell 3-0 to Croatia on Thursday, Germany was the only one to suffer a defeat.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Die Mannschaft fell to Mexico in their opening match, with El Tri carving up the German midfield on the counter. Now, Joachim Low has had ample time to make the adjustments needed to go for victory as the Germans take on Sweden as they chase a spot in the knockout stages among Group F.

Meanwhile, Mexico looks to prove they’re not a one-hit wonder as they take on South Korea in Rostov. Juan Carlos Osorio has received plenty of praise – and rightly so – for his tactics in the upset victory, and that leaves El Tri with a chance to clinch a spot in the knockout stage with a win.

Before all that Group F craziness, Belgium takes the field in the morning against Tunisia as they look to follow up its comprehensive 3-0 victory over Panama in the opening round. A victory for the Red Devils would not only book a place in the knockout round, but also eliminate Tunisia from contention.

Below is Saturday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Saturday, June 23

Group F
South Korea vs. Mexico: Rostov-on-Don, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Germany vs. Sweden: Sochi, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group G
Belgium vs. Tunisia: Moscow, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE