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Around the Forest: World Cup Final is set: France vs Croatia

Also: Midterm grades, Whitecaps reaping the benefits of Kei Kamara, what are teams biggest needs this transfer window, Antonio Conte sacked and more!

Soccer: World Cup-England vs Croatia Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Portland

Inside PTFC | The latest lessons from another chapter in the Thorns FC's pressing approach | Portland Timbers
The camera caught the frustration on Laura Harvey’s face in the sixth minute of Friday’s game, streaming it out via Go90 for the whole NWSL world to see. Her Utah Royals FC were already down a goal to the Portland Thorns, having seen a first-minute Katrina Gorry giveaway turn into a Tobin Heath score.

Major League Soccer

Whitecaps are getting full value in Kamara’s productive leadership | The Province
When you’re a management group that’s looking to build a strong Major League Soccer team on a budget, you can’t afford to miss. So far, the Whitecaps haven’t on Kei Kamara.

Stejskal: New York Red Bulls' Tyler Adams close to move to RB Leipzig | MLSsoccer.com
The sources said that it’s most likely that Adams will remain with New York for the remainder of the MLS season before joining former Red Bulls head coach and newly-minted Leipzig assistant Jesse Marsch in Germany.

Stejskal: Chicago Fire permanently acquire Aleksandar Katai from Alaves | MLSsoccer.com
The Chicago Fire have permanently acquired midfielder Aleksandar Katai from La Liga club Alaves, a source confirmed to MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. The news was first reported earlier Wednesday by a Serbian outlet.

Armchair Analyst: Handing out the grades for every team at midseason | MLSsoccer.com
We’re just about halfway through the 2018 MLS regular season, so it’s time to hand out midterm grades to all the kids. As in school, we’re going in alphabetical order.

Doyle and Warshaw on your team's biggest needs as transfer window opens | MLSsoccer.com
The summer transfer window is open, which means it’s time to break out the checkbooks and do some shopping – or, since this is MLS, a little bit of trading. And it’s worth remembering, of course, that thanks to the rising cap and an influx of Targeted Allocation Money, MLS GMs have more cash to use than at any prior point in the league’s history.

Sporting KC summer transfer window targets, 2018, striker | The Kansas City Star
The pursuit of a striker was postponed last offseason, Sporting Kansas City content to wait until summer and shift its resources to surrounding positions.

FO enters ‘busiest four weeks’ of year, as Sounders try to add another TAM player - Sounder At Heart
With Raúl Ruidíaz already signed and the summer transfer officially open as of Tuesday, the Seattle Sounders have moved their focus to acquiring a second impact player who can hopefully propel them toward a 10th straight postseason.

World Cup

England fans console team, themselves with stadium rendition of Oasis classic
England lost 2-1 a heartbreaker to Croatia in extra time Wednesday to fall one game short of the World Cup final. It was an abrupt end to a run that rejuvenated England’s soccer program and fell two wins short of the country’s first World Cup title since 1966.

Photographer gets dog-piled as Croatia celebrate winning goal against England
The Croatia World Cup squad was understandably elated after Mario Mandzukic blasted in a goal deep into extra time, giving Croatia a 2-1 lead over England that put it in position to advance to Sunday’s World Cup final.

What to watch for in Sunday's World Cup final between France and Croatia
The 2018 World Cup final is this Sunday, July 15, with France set to meet Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. There may be no Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, but the final is still the single biggest sporting spectacle in the world.

World

Reports: Chelsea sacks Antonio Conte after 2 successful but strange seasons
One year ago, Antonio Conte was a Premier League champion and one of the hottest commodities on the managerial market. A year later, according to widespread reports Thursday, he is without a job.

Fiat workers call for strike over Ronaldo transfer
There are few things in the sport of soccer that could upstage a World Cup semifinal between European powerhouses France and Belgium. The announced transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid to Juventus, however, is apparently one of them.