Argentina have Agüero, di María available for the final

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Argentina have received a boost ahead of this afternoon’s World Cup final against Germany. Ángel di María and Sergio Agüero are both fit, and could play a role in helping the side to the trophy.

The news isn’t all rosy, however. While di María, who’d picked up a thigh injury, returned to training yesterday, he’s unlikely to be fit enough to start. The Real Madrid man scored against Switzerland to put the albiceleste through to the quarterfinals, but came off against Belgium after providing a pass that allowed Gonzalo Higuaín to score the only goal. He played no role in the semifinal against Netherlands.

(READ MORE: PREVIEWING THE 2014 WORLD CUP FINAL)

Agüero, however, could well start. The forward came off after just 38 minutes played in Argentina’s eventual 3-2 win over Nigeria. He sat out the first two games of the knockout round, but returned in the 82nd minute against Netherlands.

Alejandro Sabella now has a dilemma. In the first game, against Bosnia and Herzegovina, he elected to go with a less attacking lineup, fielding five defenders. Argentina won, but certainly didn’t look their best. Yet since that game, the supposed Fantastic Four (di María, Higuaín, Agüero and Lionel Messi, of course) have yet to live up to their billing. The albiceleste have come this far by switching to a more organized, defensive system.

Will Sabella play it cautious? If so, Agüero could still start, stepping in for Ezequiel Lavezzi. If Argentina pin their hopes on this attack finally gelling, Agüero will of course play, but Lavezzi should remain in the lineup.

Either way, Argentina have a tough match ahead of them. It remains to be seen if they can come close to matching the Germany side that thrashed Brazil 7-1. Then again, they do have Messi, who is always capable of moments of magic.

Mexico receives FIFA fine for insulting chant

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FIFA handed a $10,400 fine down to Mexico on Wednesday for “discriminatory and insulting chants” that occurred during El Tri’s 1-0 victory over Germany.

[ MORE: Spain tops Iran after overruled goal ]

The FIFA disciplinary committee reportedly levied the fine to Mexico for directing a derogatory chant towards German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) with a fine of CHF 10,000 for the misconduct of a group of Mexican fans (cf. art. 67 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code) in relation to discriminatory and insulting chants during the first half of the 2018 FIFA World Cup match played between Germany and Mexico,” FIFA declared in a press release.

The Mexican Football Federation has aimed to eliminate an ongoing epidemic of homophobic chants that supporters have screamed during goal kicks for some time.

El Tri was sanctioned 12 times during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying for those chants.

Ronaldo explains his new chin hair at World Cup

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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.