Watch Live: West Ham United vs. Manchester United (Lineups and Discuss)

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Can Manchester United carry forward the momentum sustained by advancing in the Champions League, riding it to a win over West Ham at Upton Park? (Watch live on NBCSN at 1:30 p.m. ET and online via Live Extra).

Leaving aside the highly unlikely prospect of the Champions League trophy, all United have left to play for this year is a spot in next season’s Europa League. Currently they’re in seventh place, three points back of Everton and with one more game played. Last week’s 3-0 loss to Liverpool (complete with three penalties) must have rattled the Red Devils, but after beating Olympiakos midweek, they head to East London in much better spirits.

(READ MORE: WEST HAM – UNITED PREVIEW)

West Ham look solidly safe in 12th, but that’s just six points off the drop zone, and doesn’t include all those pesky make up games that Sunderland still have to play. Will Sam Allardyce play this one cautiously, not wanting his side to slip to their third straight defeat? Or will we see the Irons side that stormed to four consecutive victories (conceding just one goal in the process) before being stopped by Everton?

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The visitors are without Robin van Persie up top, but rather than introducing Danny Welbeck in his place, David Moyes is keeping Wayne Rooney alone up top. He’s also using Michael Carrick at center-back. All in all, Moyes made six changes to the side that beat Olympiakos 3-0. Will they pay off?

Allardyce hasn’t made many changes to the side that lost to Stoke last time out. The attack remains the same, with Andy Carroll up top and Mohamed Diamé, Kevin Nolan and Stewart Downing supporting. Antonio Nocerino and Winston Reid drop to the bench, with Jameses Tomkins and Collins replacing.

LINEUPS

West Ham United: Adrian, Demel, Collins, Taylor, McCartney, Noble, Tomkins, Diame, Nolan, Downing, Carroll

Subs: Reid, Jarvis, Armero, Jaaskelainen, C.Cole, J.Cole, Nocerino

Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Jones, Carrick, Buttner; Mata, Fletcher, Fellaini, Young; Kagawa; Rooney

Subs: Evra, Lindegaard, Chicharito, Nani, Welbeck, Cleverley, Januzaj

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

Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images
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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