Bayern Munich rest stars, put nine goals on Hamburg

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Mario Mandzukic, Thomas Müller, Mario Gomez and Franck Ríbery came into the day having combined for 39 Bundesliga goals, but with a Tuesday trip to Juventus ahead for Germany’s eventual champions, Jupp Heynckes elected to start a second-choice attack against visiting Hamburg. Claudio Pizarro got the call up top, while Xherdan Shaqiri played wide in Bayern Munich’s 4-2-3-1. Along with Luiz Gustavo at left back and Jerome Boateng starting in the middle of defense, almost half of Bayern’s team differed from their choice XI.

source: Getty ImagesThat’s what makes Saturday’s final score so scary: 9-2. With three goals in the first 30 minutes, five by halftime, and their final goal at the 79-minute mark, Bayern put up their most convincing performance of what’s becoming a ridiculously dominant season.

Consider where their league record stands after today’s avalanche. They have 23 wins in 27 games, having only lost once. Bayern have scored 78 times and, only conceding 13 goals, have a +65 goal difference. Break out your TI-85s and you’ll see FCB’s on pace for a 90-point season and 98 goals.

Perhaps as scary as the scoreline was the quality of opponent. Hamburg did not play well on Saturday, but having recovered from a slow start to the season, they’re a solid mid-table club. The 34 goals they allowed coming into today’s match put them in top third of Bundesliga defenses. Rene Adler is considered one of the best goalkeepers in Germany, yet starting with Shaqiri’s fifth minute opener, Bayern put in nine goals in 74 minutes: Pizarro had four, Arjen Robben put in two, while Bastian Schweinsteiger, Ribery, and Shaqiri each scored once.

Juventus fans will be hoping Bayern used all their goals on Saturday, but ahead of the teams’ Tuesday meeting in UEFA Champions League, München’s only affirming the notion they’re the class of Europe.

Report: Southampton could sell Tadic to Ajax for $20m

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Could Southampton be selling one of its most creative forces?

Dusan Tadic, 29, is in the middle of a World Cup run with dark horse Serbia, but the Saints star is also being talked about as a purchase item for Ajax.

[ MORE: Serbia tops Costa Rica ]

The celebrated Eredivisie has traditionally been a selling club for the Premier League, but could be a $20 million buy for Ajax.

The report says director of players Marc Overmars and financial director Jeroen Slop have flown to Southampton to work out a deal.

Tadic starred for Dutch sides Groningen and Twente between 2010-14 before moving to St. Mary’s for a reported $12 million.

He’s scored 24 goals with 35 assists in 162 appearances for Saints, 21 and 30 of which came in the Premier League.

Toronto locks down USMNT backstop Bono with extension

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Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono is going to stay Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

The newly-capped USMNT backstop, 24, has been attracting interest from abroad since breaking past Clint Irwin to win the TFC job and guiding the club to multiple MLS Cup Finals.

Now general manager Tim Bezbatchenko has locked down his young goalkeeper to an undisclosed contract extension. From TorontoFC.com:

“Alex was a big part of our success last season. He set club records for wins and clean sheets and was a critical piece of our championship team,” said Toronto FC Sr. Vice-President, Soccer Operations & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Since joining the club as a first round pick in 2015, Alex’s ability to make key saves in big moments has been critical to our success.”

The Syracuse-born product of Syracuse University has made 64 appearances for the Reds.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 8 — Argentina on the edge; France aims for berth

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France, Denmark, and Croatia can clinch knockout round berths on Thursday in Russia, the last nation also holding the opportunity to help deprive the World Cup of an extended Lionel Messi run.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Messi’s Argentina drew Iceland in its opener, the megastar infamously missing a penalty, and will look to beat a Croatian side that looked quite good in dispatching Nigeria.

That’s the final match of the day, which begins with Denmark facing Australia and continues with a tasty match-up between France and Peru.

Below is Thursday’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 – Wednesday, June 20

Group C
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group D
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Halted World Cup flip-throw heard around the world

AP Photo/Sergei Grits
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Milad Mohammadi knew the time was right for something special, but special isn’t always good.

And good is a subjective term. Cause to us this is very good, Milad.

The Iranian national team defender failed with a flip-throw bid in the final moments of a 1-0 loss to Spain on Wednesday at the World Cup in Russia.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

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

And this wasn’t like he illegally flipped or broke some other rule. No, like a kid trying an audacious jump into the deep end, Akhmat Grozny star Mohammadi just bailed and climbed in from the side (so to speak).

The kiss, the look skyward, the headbutt… all integral parts of a wonderful World Cup moment.