England Can Get Even Better And It Will Need To

When Eric Dier drove his penalty kick just past the outstretched fingers of Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina and into the back of the net, he broke a 22-year English streak of losing on penalty kicks. The obvious question now is whether England can break a far more important streak that’s lasted even longer: 52 years without winning a World Cup.While every team in the quarterfinals has a nonzero chance of lifting the cup, this question presses on England particularly for two reasons. First, England got a massively fortunate draw. The two powerhouse teams remaining in the tournament, Brazil and France, are both on the opposite side of the bracket. Spain was supposed to block England’s path to the final, but it lost on penalties to Russia. This leaves just Sweden and either Croatia or Russia standing in the way of The Three Lions.And second, it’s not like England had to knock off the world’s best to get here. Drawn into a group with Tunisia and Panama as well as Belgium, England was hugely favored to reach the knockouts. Colombia as a round of 16 draw was difficult on paper, but the absence of superstar James Rodriguez meant that even this match was not against a true equal.According to FiveThirtyEight’s Soccer Power Index as a measure of the quality of competition,1We used the pre-tournament SPI ratings. Uruguay and Belgium have had the lightest schedule, but each would likely have to get through both Brazil and France to make the final. England has faced the third weakest set of opponents to date, and its run to the final is projected as the second easiest of all the remaining contenders, ever so slightly behind Croatia.2Future opponents’ SPI represents a weighted average of each possible opponent’s SPI in the semifinals and finals and the likelihood of that team advancing that far. These probabilities were taken before the start of play Friday. England’s easy road will remain easyThe eight World Cup quarterfinalists by average SPI of tournament opponents so far and a weighted average of potential future opponents TeamAvg. Opponents’ SPI so farFuture Opponents’ SPI* Wilfried Zaha0.280.56+0.28 Kylian Mbappe0.770.97+0.20 Expected Goals & Assists Per 90 min. Harry Kane0.640.86+0.23 Future opponents’ SPI represents a weighted average of each possible opponent’s SPI in the semifinals and finals and the likelihood of that team advancing that far. France74.082.8 England’s two breakout starsPlayers under age 27 in the big five European leagues who showed the most improvement from the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons to 2017-18 in expected goals plus assists Belgium67.885.3 2015-172017-18Difference Russia71.282.6 England70.579.2 The big five are the Premier League (England), Ligue 1 (France), La Liga (Spain), Serie A (Italy) and the Bundesliga (Germany).Source: Opta Sports Mohamed Salah0.721.10+0.38 Raheem Sterling0.600.90+0.31 Willian Jose0.360.58+0.22 Lucas Ocampos0.370.56+0.19 Croatia74.879.2 As manager Gareth Southgate has said, this success in set plays does reflect effective attacking play, forcing opposition teams to give up fouls in dangerous areas. In other words, England is doing a good job of progressing the ball into the final third, and the team is being rewarded with set piece opportunities.However, these tactics do not suit one of England’s best players. England isn’t a legitimate World Cup contender simply because Harry Kane happened. At the same time that Kane was developing into one of soccer’s best pure strikers for Tottenham, Raheem Sterling was making the leap at Manchester City and becoming an elite inside forward. But it’s not just luck for England. As Bobby Gardiner highlighted for FiveThirtyEight, England has developed a legitimately good team with a coherent tactical identity based on pressing immediately after a turnover to win back the ball in dangerous areas.As Gardiner outlined, this tactic was developed in part because most of England’s players ply their trade at some of the highest-pressing sides in the world. But that’s not the only reason: England also lacks a proper creative midfielder. None of the top 30 ball progressors in the big five leagues is English, and the 31st, Jack Wilshere, did not make the squad.The hope is that by forcing turnovers, England can get the ball in advanced positions without asking less expansive passers like Dier or Jordan Henderson to provide progression from deep areas.So far the results have been mixed. England was dominant against Tunisia and created a number of clear chances from open play. But against Panama, Belgium and Colombia, England relied primarily on set plays to get chances. So far in the World Cup, according to data analytics firm Opta Sports, England has 30 shots from set plays, the most in the tournament — Spain is second with 28. Where England has particularly excelled is in winning fouls in dangerous areas to get shots from free kicks, either with direct attempts on goal or designed set plays. The Three Lions’ 17 shots from free kicks are by far the most at the World Cup, with Spain and Argentina trailing at 12. Neymar0.991.19+0.20 Sweden76.282.9 Son Heung-min0.490.71+0.22 Uruguay66.985.4 Florian Thauvin0.460.76+0.29 Brazil73.282.8 The incredible season that Mo Salah had for Liverpool somewhat obscured Sterling’s massive improvement in production — 22 goals and 12 assists in a little over 3,000 minutes in the Premier League and the Champions League. But set pieces aren’t Sterling’s game. While Kane attempted 26 headed shots last season in the Premier League, Sterling attempted just one. Sterling excels at receiving balls at his feet — he was second in the league in progressive passes received with 6.5.Though England’s set plays have been good for Kane — as his two goals against Tunisia demonstrated — they’ve done nothing for Sterling, who has no goals and just one assist in his three games played. The best way to get Sterling involved would be to develop an open-play strategy for getting the ball into the penalty area and allowing him to create. So long as England depends on set plays, the team sidelines one of its most dangerous attackers.The Three Lions have made it this far through an easy draw with the press and set play plan. But if England intends on defeating a superpower like Brazil or France and lifting the cup, it will need both of its forwards in the game.Check out our latest World Cup predictions. read more

Tourism Investment officials cite benefits of Sandals chain

first_img Recommended for you Barbados Prime Minister speaks to country ahead of Tropical Storm Dorian; said country is preparing for 6-12 feet storm surge Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 22 Jul 2015 – A huge effort by the Sandals Resorts International company as the Turks and Caicos delegation now enters day three of what was supposed to be a three island FamTrip of the Eastern Caribbean properties of the resort conglomerate; the tour has broadened to include two more island nations, namely: Antigua and Barbuda and Jamaica. Hotel and Tourism Association executive Stacy Cox is on the trip, we spoke to her in Barbados. “This experience so far and much more to go has been, somewhat, an awakening of senses and what Beaches brings to the table. It is a strong brand and it does so much for the region itself and just to hear it from the other side of the region is quite commendable and it is a pure indication of what is being done in the Turks and Caicos, we are not alone and we have the opportunity also to speak to people around the region to see what works well in Beaches or Sandals…”Also in Barbados, the Tourism Investment agency President, Stuart Layne, who concurred with their Tourism Minister and agri-businesses that Sandals brings a diversity of opportunities; we asked him how having the Sandals and a coming Beaches helps Barbados specifically. “First of all we are happy that based on comments, from at least one carrier, that carrier has expanded its airlift just because Sandals is here so that is the sort of proof we are looking in terms of a justification for having Sandals here. We also know that Sandals has a fairly steady demand throughout the year so that also adds to the number of visitors on the island, it adds to stability in terms of employment.”First stop of the fam trip was Grenada, home of Sandals La Source and yesterday afternoon was spent touring two of three Sandals resorts in St Lucia. Multi-millionaire Barbados businessmen arrested in $3m drug bust, yacht suspected in drug trafficking Stinky sargassum blamed for marine disaster; dolphins, flying fish and turtles trapped Related Items:ANTIGUA, Antigua and Barbuda, barbados, beaches, grenada, jamaica, la source, sandals, St Lucia, stacy cox, stuart layne Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more

Video Barcelona celebrate 15year anniversary of Messi debut

first_imgBarcelona uploaded special footage of a fresh-faced Lionel Messi making his club debut 15 years agoOn 16 November 2003, a 16-year-old Messi made his first-team debut as a 75th-minute substitute in a friendly against José Mourinho’s FC Porto.The game was in commemoration of Porto’s new Estadio do Dragao for the upcoming EURO 2004 competition on Portugal.In the footage released by Barcelona on Twitter, it shows a young Messi coming on the field and his reaction after costing himself a chance of scoring a double on his debut.The Argentine managed to create two chances on goal in the game and, while he wasn’t so pleased about the outcome, it was enough to convince Barcelona to have him train with the reserve and senior teams on a weekly basis.The match in Portugal ended in a 2-0 defeat.Messi’s former Barcelona teammate Ludovic Giuly would later comment on how remarkable the teenager was in his first training session with the senior side.Sergio Ramos, Real MadridZidane reveals Sergio Ramos injury concern for Real Madrid Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Zinedine Zidane has put Sergio Ramos’ availability for Real Madrid’s trip to Sevilla next weekend in doubt after withdrawing him against Levante.“He destroyed us all… They were kicking him all over the place to avoid being ridiculed by this kid, he just got up and kept on playing,” said Giuly.“He would dribble past four players and score a goal. Even the team’s starting centre-backs were nervous. He was an alien.”Messi would finally make his official debut for Barcelona in October 2004 against Espanyol in La Liga.💙❤ Leo #Messi✨15 years since the 👑 made his debut! pic.twitter.com/6jAoHMLeK0— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 16, 2018last_img read more

OBITUARY Peter J Michals III 80

first_imgTEWKSBURY, MA — Peter J. Michals III of Tewksbury passed away peacefully after a brief illness on July 19. He was 80 years old.He was born and grew up in East Cambridge, graduated from Rindge Technical School and Cambridge High and Latin. An altar boy in his youth, Peter was a devout Catholic all of his life, and attended Mass each week as a parishioner at St. Williams Church. At age 19, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served from 1957 to 1960. He was a member of the Air Police and was stationed in Germany and France. He often recalled his service and the traveling he did with the Air Force as among his fondest memories. When he returned from service abroad, he married his sweetheart, Camille Samaria (Michals), who waited for him. Together, they had three children.Peter attended and held degrees from Boston University, Lowell Tech, and Lowell State University, now UMass Lowell. He was a caring family man who worked as an accountant and had a small tax preparation business until his retirement a few years ago. He loved his family, enjoyed playing sports with his son, and spent 15 years as a volunteer coach for Tewksbury Little League baseball. He was also a member of the Tewksbury-Wilmington Elks.He is survived by his beloved wife of 57 years, Camille; daughter Debra Michals and son-in-law Mark Antinoro of Newburyport; son Peter and daughter-in-law Kelly Curley of Contoocook, NH; grandson Cori Michals and granddaughter Ashley Michals of New Hampshire; step-grandchildren Sarah Antinoro and Melanie Antinoro of Acton, MA, and Casey Curley of Pensacola, FL.; his sister Janet Tosto of Tewksbury; and many nieces and nephews. His was predeceased by a daughter, Camille Marie “Camie.”Memorial Visiting hours will be on Wednesday, July 25, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. at Tewksbury Funeral Home, corner of 1 Dewey and 975 Main Sts. (Rte. 38) TEWKSBURY CENTER, followed by a Memorial Funeral Mass at 11:30 a.m. in St. Williams Church, 1351 Main St. (Rte. 38) Tewksbury. Burial will follow at St. Mary Cemetery, No. Tewksbury. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, P.O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38148-0142 or visit http://www.stjude.org. Peter’s family would like to extend their gratitude to the caring staff of Woodbriar Health Center in Wilmington.Peter J. Michals III(NOTE: The above obituary is from the Tewksbury Funeral Home.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedOBITUARY: Elizabeth J. “Betty” (Kilpatrick) Valente, 75In “Obituaries”OBITUARY: Donald R. Donahue, 80In “Obituaries”OBITUARY: Brandon M. Long, 27In “Obituaries”last_img read more

UN might make peacekeeping operations more costeffective

first_imgUN secretary general António Guterres has said the UN is working hard to make all peacekeeping operations cost-effective and is constantly finding ways to reform, restructure and drive costs down.  “At the same time, UN peacekeepers are relentless in searching for new ways to build sustainable peace,” he said in a message marking the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers being observed today (Monday). Looking forward, the secretary general said they are aiming to do more to end operations that have achieved their goals. “We’re also reforming and adapting our peacekeeping missions to improve their effectiveness in the increasingly challenging environments in which they work.” The UN chief said peacekeeping operations have evolved from simply monitoring ceasefires to protecting civilians, disarming ex-combatants, protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law, supporting free and fair elections, minimising the risk of landmines and much more. He said they also work to ensure that women are fully represented in peace processes, political life, and in branches of government. “All these investments are fundamental to building lasting peace.” The UN secretary general paid tributes to more than 113,000 ‘Blue Helmets’, UN Police and civilian personnel deployed to 16 missions, according to the message received here from UN Information Centre here. “We acknowledge the contribution made by an ever-growing number of Member States to our operations,” said the UN chief in his message laying emphasis on investment in peace around the world. More than one million women and men who have served under the UN flag with professionalism, dedication and courage throughout our history. “And we honour the memory of more than 3,500 peacekeepers who lost their lives while serving,” said Guterres. Last year, he said, 117 peacekeepers paid the ultimate price and they included military, police, international civil servants, UN Volunteers and national staff from 43 countries. “So far in 2017, twelve peacekeepers have been killed.” “Our partnership is central to the success of peacekeeping missions, since Member States decide where troops go, what they will do, and what resources will support them,” said the UN chief. He said close cooperation from Member States is vital if they are to deliver on the promise of lasting peace, while peacekeepers create conditions on the ground to enable solutions to emerge and take root. “I’ve also prioritised ensuring that women play a far more active role in peace operations, as troops, police and civilian staff. Gender parity is essential for its own sake, and the presence of women increases the chances of sustained peace while reducing incidences of sexual abuse and exploitation,” the UN chief mentioned. The secretary general said for nearly 70 years, UN peacekeeping has proven to be one of the international community’s most effective investments in peace, security and prosperity. The demand for UN peacekeepers has risen steadily over the years, and deployment is now near an all-time high, said Guterres adding that peacekeeping has had a positive impact on the lives of millions of people around the world.last_img read more

Trump Democrats spar as government shutdown looms

first_imgUS Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (2nd R), alongside US Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn ®, Republican of Texas; US Senator John Barrasso (L), Republican of Wyoming; and US Senator Orrin Hatch (2nd L), Republican of Utah, speaks after a meeting between US President Donald Trump and the Republican Senate Caucus at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Photo: AFPUS President Donald Trump clashed with Democratic leaders in dramatic fashion Tuesday, heaping pressure on Congress to craft a compromise on federal spending or face a crippling government shutdown in 10 days.Hours after the president suggested a funding deal with Democrats may be impossible, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer pulled out of a planned White House meeting with Trump that they said would be fruitless.“Given that the president doesn’t see a deal between Democrats and the White House, we believe the best path forward is to continue negotiating with our Republican counterparts in Congress instead,” the pair said in a statement.Trump shot back that he was not surprised the Democrats rejected his offer, saying they were “very far apart” on several issues like immigration.“They’ve been all talk and they’ve been no action. And now it’s even worse, now it’s not even talk,” Trump declared during the meeting, which went ahead with Republican congressional leaders-an empty chair on either side of the president underscoring the absence of their Democratic counterparts.The rare public rejection of White House talks ratcheted up tensions in Washington over a 2018 spending bill that must pass by a December 8 deadline, and served as a stinging rebuke to a president who often mocks his rivals on Twitter.The spat heaps pressure on Congress to craft a compromise or face a crippling government shutdown next month.And it muddied the waters on the same day Trump headed to Congress to urge fellow Republicans to unite behind his tax overhaul, a controversial bill that he wants on his desk by year end.Trump lunched with Senate Republicans for an hour, answering questions from Ron Johnson and Susan Collins, who have concerns about the bill.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, addressing reporters afterwards, acknowledged the challenge in getting at least 50 of his chamber’s 52 Republicans on board, likening it to solving “a Rubik’s Cube.”‘Chuck and Nancy’Behind the tough talk, Trump needs Schumer and Pelosi to rally their party’s votes to keep government running through the next 10 months.But the self-styled master dealmaker Trump derailed Tuesday’s plans for a bipartisan White House meeting on the challenge ahead when he hit the two top Democrats-whom he called “Chuck and Nancy”-in a morning tweet.“Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes,” he added. “I don’t see a deal!”Schumer later said Democrats would meet with Trump “any time, anywhere, any place,” so long as he was serious about a deal.“But there is an alternative; when the president stays out of it we seem to do much better.”The White House expressed disappointment at the no-show, urging Democrats to “put aside their pettiness” and “grandstanding,” and saying Trump’s invitation remained open.High priceBut McConnell did not hide his irritation at the snub, calling it “a lack of seriousness” about the prospect of a looming government shutdown.In 2013, a similar spending feud caused 850,000 government officials to be sent home temporarily, and as much as half a percentage point was shaved off economic growth.Trump has staked much of his fragile political reputation on being a good steward of the economy, so failure could be damaging. But Democrats are demanding a steep price for their support.They say funding for Trump’s border “wall” must be stripped out, and Trump must honor the Obama administration’s pledge to allow migrants brought to the country as children to remain.The issue, as tricky as it is, is not the only problem on Trump’s plate.Tough sleddingIn December, a “debt ceiling” deadline is also looming-if missed, the US government could be hurtling towards a technical default in the new year.And beyond the spending fight, Trump’s primary task will be to pass tax cuts, which Republicans see as absolutely vital to keep voters and donors happy.Having so far failed to pass health care, immigration or infrastructure reforms, Trump faces a party revolt if he cannot make tax cuts law.With the party controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress, the task should be straightforward. But little is straightforward in Washington these days.The administration has struggled to convince the public that the tax cut will help middle-class families, and a Harvard-Harris Poll showed a majority of voters oppose the bill.Democrats portray the proposals as good for big business but bad for ordinary Americans, while half a dozen Republican senators have publicly expressed doubts about the plan, which the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects would increase the national debt by $1.4 trillion by 2027.The White House argues the cuts will boost growth, in turn increasing tax revenue, although most economists disagree.last_img read more