Arsene Wenger bullish as Arsenal aim for massive win at Borussia Dortmund

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When Arsenal travel to the Westfalenstadion on Wednesday to square off against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League group stages, they’ll do so with one thing on their mind: attack.

Following their 2-1 loss at home to Dortmund in the last round of UCL play, Wenger spoke out about his sides “naivety” as they pushed for the winner when drawing 1-1.

Robert Lewandowski then bagged a late winner for BVB to stun the Emirates crowd who’d seen the Premier League leaders dominate their German opponents for most of the game. But that late lapse won’t deter Wenger’s men going for broke at the intimidating home of last years Champions League runners up.

Far from it.

After all the Gunners did beat reigning UCL champs Bayern Munich 2-0 away from home last year, but weren’t quite able to overturn a 3-0 first-leg deficit in the knockout stages. Arsenal’s French manager believes his side can fed off that performance against Bayern to try and take down Borussia on Wednesday.

“We took belief from the 2-0 win at Bayern,” said Wenger. “We play everywhere to win, and that will not change of course. We will have a positive attitude in our approach to this game. Maybe we had not the same belief at home sometimes because we failed in a few big games. There was a bit more skepticism, less belief. Hopefully that is behind us now with the Liverpool game.”

(MORE: UEFA Champions League Preview – Arsenal seek to recover points at Borussia Dortmund; politics in focus at Milan)

A lack of belief around Arsenal’s credentials to seriously challenge for the PL and UCL titles will only strengthen if they get beaten by BVB but when looking back to their first group F meeting, you have to say that the Gunners were incredibly unlucky.

Before Lewandowski’s late winner, Arsenal were pouring forward and battering Borussia with wave after wave of intricately fabricated attacks. Santi Cazorla smashed a wonderful curling effort off the bar, as the English side stamped their authority on the game but failed to get the killer blow.

Dortmund’s late sucker-punch was disheartening but with group F incredibly tight, as the Gunners, Dortmund and Napoli are all locked on six points from four games, it will go down to the last game.

Hopefully Arsenal will learn their lesson from the first game vs. BVB, as Wenger admitted his side will set themselves up to control the tempo and manner of the game. He also believes his side learned a valuable lesson in that loss, something that should hold them in good stead for Wednesday’s monster clash.

“I believe we lost the first game because we wanted to absolutely to win at any cost and we exposed ourselves,” said Wenger. “Neither of the keepers had a save to make. It was a midfield battle but, in the end, we got caught on a counter-attack because we were all up front and did not cover ourselves. We were not happy with a draw. But I feel that result will strengthen the resolve of my team to come out and show a different level.”

Ronaldo explains his new chin hair at World Cup

AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
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Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has taken to sporting a reasonable hairstyle atop his head, people are talking about the foliage on his face.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

Ronaldo, 33, drew speculation when he stroked his chin following a goal in his hat trick performance against Spain in the World Cup opener. Some said he was demonstrating defiance against Lionel Messi posing with a goat (Greatest Of All Time) in a recent photograph.

Ronaldo scored again on Wednesday, and there was seemingly little doubt his goatee was a wink to the speculators. But what did it mean, CR7? From ESPN:

“This goatee? It’s a joke I had with [Ricardo] Quaresma. “We were in the sauna [before Friday’s match against Spain] and I started to shave and I left the goatee. I said if I score tomorrow, I would leave it for the rest of the tournament. And it gave me luck.

“I scored in that game, I scored in this one, so it stays.”

Personally, I like to imagine Ronaldo starting to get as wild with his facial hair as he did his head hair.

Perhaps a beatnik style, or something like Serj Tankian from System of a Down. Get nuts, C-Ron.

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