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Pochettino: Spurs won’t sell any key players this summer

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Two seasons in a row now, Tottenham Hotspur has been the only club to come close to challenging for the Premier League title in any month that comes after February.

[ WATCH: Kane scores 4 to take charge in Golden Boot race ]

Most impressively, Tottenham have done it with a squad of players that’s A) the youngest in the PL (average age: 25.7 — nearly a full year younger than Liverpool, the PL’s second-youngest squad), and B) heavily reliant upon a core of English players (five of 11 first-choice starters — four of whom made their England debut since Mauricio Pochettino took over at White Hart Lane).

With success — make no doubt about it, what Spurs have done under Pochettino has been a major success, trophies or no trophies — comes recognition. With recognition comes interest from any number of “bigger” clubs from all around Europe. While the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid may be interested in the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Toby Aldeweireld and Kyle Walker, Spurs won’t be forced into any sales that weaken the first-team squad — quotes from the BBC:

“The players we want to keep will be here next season. If any players leave, it’s Tottenham’s decision.”

“I think we are so, so, so calm about our big players and they are so happy here. We are building a very exciting project. The players must feel they are part of us and want to share in our success.”

On the other end of the transfer market, there won’t be any shortage of players lining up to sign for Spurs this summer. With one or two key additions to the squad another title challenge looks to be no the cards, in the event of a serious uptick in results at Wembley Stadium, of course.

[ RECAP: Kane gets 4, Son gets 2; Spurs increase record points total ]

As for Kane, who bagged four goals on Thursday to take total control on the 2016-17 Golden Boot race, Pochettino remains convinced (with evidence spewing out of his eyes, ears and nose) that the 23-year-old academy product ascended to world-class heights long ago:

“Harry Kane’s a special player, he loves Tottenham.”

“Harry Kane means a lot for the team. I tell you always that he’s one of the best strikers in the world. His performances show that we are right.”

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Typically quick to praise his teammates and place team success above his own statistics and accolades, Kane was rightly beaming after his four-goal performance and basking in the possibilities of winning his second straight Golden Boot:

“It is the first time in my professional career that I’ve scored four. There has been a bit of build-up in the race for the Golden Boot and I wanted at least one or two to put the pressure on, but to get four is amazing.

“I think this is my best season. I missed 11 weeks and worked hard during my injury to ensure I came back in better shape than I started.”

VIDEO: Wild first half in Moscow sees Lukaku, Hazard on board

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Romelu Lukaku (2) and Eden Hazard scored for Belgium before Dylan Bronn answered for Tunisia, as dominant Belgium holds a 3-1 lead with three goals gracing the games first 18 minutes on Saturday.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Lukaku led an early break that led to a Thomas Meunier shot collected by Tunisian keeper Farouk Ben Mustapha.

Hazard won a penalty in the fifth minute, just inside the 18. He converted the chance low and to the right of Ben Mustapha.

Ben Mustapha was fortunate when Hazard’s 12th minute shot of a terrific Lukaku pass was substandard.

Lukaku then scored a beauty in the 16th minute, sent into the 18 by Dries Mertens, when he clinically slid a shot inside the far post.

Tunisia got a surprise answer a minute later when Bronn turned a free kick past Thibaut Courtois and into the back of the net.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

Lukaku would chip the keeper after Meunier played his perfect run to feet.

https://twitter.com/TelemundoSports/status/1010498221116801024

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

Enrique has rare brain tumor removed, faces battle

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Former Newcastle and Liverpool defender Jose Enrique is now an agent, but the headache that came with a manager meeting had nothing to do with the conversation.

[ MORE: Lozano to Barcelona? ]

Enrique had a “brutal” headache following a meeting with Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton, his former manager, and tests revealed a rare brain tumor (Spanish language link).

Enrique underwent brain surgery to remove the tumor and now faces 35 sessions of radiotherapy, only available in two European cities.

He lost more than a dozen pounds in a single week, calling it “the toughest time of my life.”

WATCH: World Cup, Day 10 — All eyes on Germany

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Many of the favorites in the 2018 World Cup have disappointed, but until Argentina fell 3-0 to Croatia on Thursday, Germany was the only one to suffer a defeat.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Die Mannschaft fell to Mexico in their opening match, with El Tri carving up the German midfield on the counter. Now, Joachim Low has had ample time to make the adjustments needed to go for victory as the Germans take on Sweden as they chase a spot in the knockout stages among Group F.

Meanwhile, Mexico looks to prove they’re not a one-hit wonder as they take on South Korea in Rostov. Juan Carlos Osorio has received plenty of praise – and rightly so – for his tactics in the upset victory, and that leaves El Tri with a chance to clinch a spot in the knockout stage with a win.

Before all that Group F craziness, Belgium takes the field in the morning against Tunisia as they look to follow up its comprehensive 3-0 victory over Panama in the opening round. A victory for the Red Devils would not only book a place in the knockout round, but also eliminate Tunisia from contention.

Below is Saturday’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 – Saturday, June 23

Group F
South Korea vs. Mexico: Rostov-on-Don, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Germany vs. Sweden: Sochi, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group G
Belgium vs. Tunisia: Moscow, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Kluivert junior leaves Ajax for Roma in $21m transfer

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ROME (AP) — Roma signed Justin Kluivert, the son of former Milan and Barcelona forward Patrick, from Ajax on Friday for a fee that could rise to 18.75 million euros ($21.8 million).

The 19-year-old Dutch international forward has agreed a five-year contract with Roma.

“I’m very happy. I’m at an incredible club,” Kluivert said. “I cannot wait to start. I believe that Roma is the ideal team for my growth, which will allow me to play at the highest levels.”

Kluivert junior made 56 appearances and scored 13 goals for Ajax. He has one cap for the Netherlands.

He joins Roma for an initial 17.25 million euros ($20.1 million) and performance-related clauses could see the price rise by 1.5 million euros.