Bolton loans U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden to Sheffield Wednesday

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Big news this morning on U.S. international Stuart Holden, whose ongoing efforts to fight past injury and get his career moving again just took a fascinating turn.

Bolton announced via Twitter today that Holden has joined second-tier club Sheffield Wednesday.  The loan deal lasts about a month, set to expire on April 24.

Holden has seen only sporadic action since getting back on the field for Bolton in January; his original injury traces back to March of 2011.

The two-way U.S. man got into a reserve match for Bolton back in early January. Not long afterward Bolton used Holden in an FA Cup contest as the Wanderers won over Sunderland. And then in late February he climbed a significant rung on the comeback ladder by getting into a league match for the first time in almost two years.

But regular work has been difficult to come by; Bolton FC is peddling mightily to get into the playoffs for promotion – most certainly a lucrative one – into the venerable Premiership.

Sheffield Wednesday is in fight of  its own, currently one spot from the drop zone into third-tier soccer in England.

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Sheffield Wednesday manager Dave Jones is clearly happy to have use of Holden, and could put him on the field as early as Saturday in a match against Barnsley. What Jones told BBC Radio Sheffield: “He just wants to get going again, that is the most important thing to him…. He’s quality on the ball, he’s got an eye for a goal and if hadn’t had the injuries he’s had then we wouldn’t have been able to get him.”

VIDEO: Tunisia equalizes on controversial penalty kick

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England centerback Kyle Walker put his arm up to halt the forward progress of Fakhreddine Ben Youssef. Unfortunately for Walker, Ben Youssef was in the box and Walker’s elbow caught Ben Youssef’s face.

Referee Wilmar Roldan quickly whistled for a penalty kick and despite the protests from a half-dozen of England players and a check from the VAR, the called stood. Ferjani Sassi’stepped up to the spot and found the lower-left corner, just barely beating Jordan Pickford to tie the game in the 35th minute.

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How will England respond?

VIDEO: Captain Kane puts England on the board early

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It may be the easiest goal-scoring opportunity Harry Kane‘s ever had in an international competition, and he finished it as easy as you’d like.

Kane side-footed home after Tunisia goalkeeper Mouez Hassen made a terrific save on John Stone’s header off a corner, but the save was directed right into a wide-open Kane who was standing ready inside the six yard box. The 11th minute goal will surely settle some of the Three Lions’ nerves as they open their World Cup bid in Russia.

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After slow start, Belgium takes care of business against feisty Panama

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All it took was one goal to bring Belgium to life.

Following a frustrating first 45 minutes, in which Belgium put a pair of shots into the side netting and forced saves from Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, Dries Mertens 47th minute goal opened the floodgates, as Belgium went on to defeat Panama, 3-0, Monday afternoon in Sochi.

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But Panama never made it easy for the Belgians. From the opening whistle the CONCACAF nation showed its incredible spirit, chasing down Belgium all across the field and making life incredibly difficult for Belgium attackers Romelu Lukaku, Mertens and Eden Hazard. Hazard was hacked down all over the field, and while he did earn fouls and a few yellow cards were issued to Panamanian players, it was enough to get in Hazard’s head.

Two minutes into the second half, everything changed. A wonderstrike from Mertens opened the game, and forced Panama to attack and try and tie the match, which gave Hazard, de Bruyne and Lukaku more space to operate.

In the heat and humidity of the Sochi summer, Panama’s veteran defense began to tire, allowing de Bruyne the space to deliver a terrific assist to Lukaku in the box, putting Belgium up 2-0 in the 69th minute.

 

Six minutes later, Lukaku was put through on the break, chipping over Penedo to confirm the victory.

With the win, Belgium moves to the top of Group G. Up next for Belgium is Tunisia on Saturday, while Panama takes on England on Sunday.

VIDEO: de Bruyne delivers gorgeous assist on Lukaku goal

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It took a little bit of patience, but Romelu Lukaku finally got on the scoresheet at the 2018 World Cup, thanks to a delicious assist from crosstown club rival Kevin De Bruyne.

The Manchester City playmaker delivered a spectacular outside-of-the-boot cross into the box, where Lukaku’s head met it and guided it towards the far post for Belgium’s second goal of the day.

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