How Tony Pulis removal at Stoke City may affect U.S. internationals Cameron, Shea and Edu

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It is too early to tell how Tony Pulis’ removal at Stoke City could affect the trio of U.S. internationals there, Geoff Cameron, Brek Shea and Maurice Edu.

But it’s hard to see how this will be good for one of them (Cameron). It could go either way for another one (Shea). And it can only be good for the third (Edu), for whom things went pear-shaped pretty much from the moment he arrived at the Britannia.

The soccer around the Britannia will improve. Pulis’ negative tactics were generally effective, but they were brutal on the eyes. As for our chief interests on this side of the Atlantic …

Cameron was a Pulis favorite from the moment he landed in the midlands. He had to switch positions, from center back to outside back, but that was hardly a stretch for the  former Houston Dynamo man, who had been an outside midfielder and central midfielder before he was a center back for Dominic Kinnear in Houston.

But Cameron was an immediate starter, named to the first XI just days after arrival. So, hopefully Cameron is OK under a new manager – but he was already in the safe zone under the old guy.

(MORE: Another EPL manager goes, as Tony Pulis is out at Stoke City)

Shea was practically in the witness protection program at Stoke, a fact that never sat well with U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann, who wondered aloud why the player made a move to a place where he wasn’t more certain of time on the field. But Pulis said all along that Shea came in carrying an injury and that his winter arrival was mostly about 2013-14.

He seemed to fancy Shea and what the lefty winger could do – even though “wingers” were never really part of the vocabulary around the Britannia under Pulis. “Getting stuck in” was always prioritized under Pulis over “getting forward.” Shea could prosper if the new man actually uses wingers, or he could be seen as surplus under a new man who wants “his guys” to get the minutes.

As for Edu, he never really got a chance, sentenced to languish on the bench before a loan into Turkey spelled reprieve. But he remains Stoke property … and now he presumably gets a fresh start.

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.