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So… where does Swansea City turn now?

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Swansea City are in dreaded company after firing Bob Bradley on Tuesday, with none of the last three clubs to fire two managers inside one Premier League season holding onto its top flight status.

[ MORE: Bob Bradley speaks to PST on firing ]

Swans have two massive matches in the next seven days, six-pointers against Crystal Palace and Bournemouth, with caretaker manager Alan Curtis at the helm.

After that, it’s a brutal run of matches which includes Arsenal, Liverpool, Southampton, and Manchester City.

Given the instability at the club, Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins will have a hard time convincing a big name to take the helm. Francesco Guidolin was given the job after keeping the team safe but not allowed final say on transfers, and Bradley didn’t even get one window despite leaving his job at Le Havre.

[ MORE: Firing Bradley pre-window is baffling ]

Swansea simply have to open up the war chest and their trust tree for the new boss. Another Andre Ayew or Ashley Williams cannot be sold without a tested replacement. And frankly, Swans fans should be worried that players like Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente could ask to leave the mess behind.

Already the same names are being recycled as possibilities to take the job: Welsh heroes Ryan Giggs and Chris Coleman, as well as recently fired Palace boss Alan Pardew.

It’s worth noting that, in addition to only being first chair on a caretaker basis at Manchester United, Giggs has never been in a relegation campaign as a player or coach anywhere… ever.

Coleman would be a worthwhile risk and has hero status after guiding Wales in EURO 2016, but would he leave the national team gig despite his goal of helping them to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Pardew is available and will certainly believe he could handle the job. But his penchant for leading streaky teams should probably cool Swansea’s interest. It’s big risk/reward with “Pardiola”.

Other candidates tabbed for the gig are Roy Hodgson, who could go head-to-head with fellow ex-England boss Sam Allardyce in a relegation race, and many seem to think former Birmingham City boss Gary Rowett could be the man for the job.

And how about this one? Former USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann is listed by the oddsmakers as an option to replace Bradley. Surely that would also be deemed to big of a risk, as Klinsmann is another man who’s not afraid to ruffle his players and also hasn’t been involved in too many relegation skirmishes.

Then again, can’t you hear the phone calls from Wales to Germany?

“Timmy Chandler, it’s me, Jurgen… I’m getting the band back together.”

 

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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.

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