Owen Coyle fired as Wigan Athletic manager, sacking season in full flow

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After less than six months in the job, Owen Coyle left Wigan Athletic by ‘mutual agreement’on Monday as the Championship club struggle to mount a promotion charge back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

Coyle took charge of just 23 games for Wigan since replacing Roberto Martinez in the summer and becomes the seventh manager in the last eight days to lost his job in the English leagues, as owners and chairman display their ruthless streaks.

According to a statement on their website, Wigan said that the agreement to terminate Coyle’s deal was mutual and that both parties felt things weren’t working out. Coyle was particularly disappointed that the FA Cup holders were struggling with life in England’s second-tier after being relegated from the PL last season.

“It is with great sadness that we have made this decision,” Coyle said. “I would like to thank all my football staff and the staff at the club, who have been very supportive of me in my time here. I am confident that with this set of players, the team can keep moving in the right direction.”

What next for the Latics? Well, they have a strong squad that still has a chance or progressing to the knockout stages of the Europa League, sit six points off the playoffs in the Championship with a game in hand and have a solid financial grounding thanks to Dave Whelan’s shrewd business model.

Coyle wasn’t doing a bad job but it wasn’t that great either. Whoever comes in at Wigan next will likely reap the benefits of a rejuvenated squad ready to prove they can make it back to the PL. Replacing Martinez was always going to be a tough task and Coyle couldn’t live up to the expectations.

Who will the new boss be?

Ian Holloway is the 5/4 favorite to be the next Wigan manager, Sir Alex Ferguson’s former assistant Mike Phelan is at 3/1, former Wigan manager Paul Jewell 10-1, while some interesting names such as Roberto Di Matteo, 14-1, and Paolo Di Canio, 25-1, suggest the race to become the Latics new managers is wide open.

This trend of firing managers has heated up in the last week or so, as seven managers have lost their job in the last eight days.

With the intense festive period coming up and teams eager to give themselves a change of staying up, going up or consolidating, directors across the English Football League are getting trigger happy and have cut the chords with plenty of managers.

Fulham got rid of Martin Jol on Sunday after the Cottagers were hammered 3-0 by West Ham, Sheffield Wednesday fired Dave Jones after a poor run of form in the Championship, David Flitcroft was fired by Championship strugglers Barnsley on Saturday, Sean O’Driscoll left League One Bristol City and Guy Whittingham was fired by League Two Portsmouth.

Most of these clubs have gone through plenty of managers in an extremely short space of time, when will they learn that good results will likely come from continuity? Too often, especially in English soccer, the need to ‘freshen things up’ stunts the growth of teams and throws them backwards as they aim to move forward.

The ruthless and cold world of soccer management is not for the faint-hearted. Job security, especially at this time of year, is at a premium.

So, who is next on the chopping block?

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.