Category: uiffllixgjut

Norway’s oil fund sees first inflows since 2015

first_imgNorway’s sovereign wealth fund – which manages oil-related revenues – received its first capital inflows for three years in June, after a period of strong recovery for oil prices.Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which runs the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), reported second-quarter financial results this morning, including a 1.8% overall return.The fund’s total assets increased to NOK8.3trn (€860bn) by the end of June, but the 1.8% investment return for April to June was 0.2 percentage points below the GPFG’s benchmark, NBIM reported.The fund’s equities allocation produced 2.7% in the second quarter, real estate made 1.9%, and fixed income investments were flat. Trond Grande, deputy chief executive of NBIM, said the fund still recorded a net outflow for the whole of the second quarter, despite the NOK1.85bn inflow in June.According to NBIM’s interim report for the fund, the GPFG had a net withdrawal of capital amounting to NOK2bn in the second quarter.NBIM was not immediately available to comment on the reasons behind the inflow, but it followed after a period of rising oil prices.Oil prices fell to a trough at the end of 2015, with ICE Brent crude futures trading at around $28 (€24) a barrel, but have since recovered, hitting a high of $79 towards the end of June.Remarking on its investment activity in the second quarter, NBIM said prices on global stock markets had increased in three-month period, thereby reversing the negative performance at the beginning of the year.“North American and European stocks had a positive development in the quarter despite the prospect of increased trade barriers,” Grande said.The Norwegian krone depreciated against the US dollar during the quarter, which helped boost the value of the fund by NOK47bn, NBIM said.At the end of June, 66.8% of the fund was held in equities, 2.6% in unlisted real estate and 30.6% in fixed income, with asset allocation having undergone a slight shift towards equities and property since the end of March.last_img read more

BCPO: Streets of Bacolod now free of vendors

first_imgBACOLOD City – After the holiday seasonended, sidewalks and downtown roads in this city will be totally free of vendors,according to the Bacolod City Police Office. Mayor Evelio Leonardia, for his part,said the city government was lenient with sidewalk vendors during the holidayseason, citing that in neighboring Iloilo City, Mayor Jerry Treñas did notadopt the same leniency to street vendors. “We will need the cooperation of thecity legal in order to carry the items off the sidewalks,” Biñas said. Biñas said they were lenient tosidewalks vendors during Christmas and New Year as they were given leeway inplying their trade in the downtown area. But this time, according to Biñas, policeofficers together with personnel of the City Enforcement Team of the City LegalOffice (CLO), will start apprehending those who will violate the road clearingdirective. The city top cop however clarified thatpolice are not allowed to confiscate the items of erring vendors. However, Bayatan said should suchincident occurs, he advised the vendors to file a complaint in his office andhe will have it investigated and place those involved for disciplinary action. “I hope vendors in the city will takenote of this, we really gave them room,” he added./PN “But if they will continue to be stubborn,then we will [fully] enforce the law.” BCPO chief Colonel Henry Biñas said startingthis week, police officers will launch a stricter crackdown against illegalvendors plying the streets. “We will first ask vendors to vacant thecity streets. Should they refuse to follow our order, our next move would eitherissue them a citation ticket or arrest them,” said Biñas. City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan saidthey will only seize the goods for repeat offenders and the confiscated goodswill then be donated to charitable institutions operating in the city. Bayatan also denied the allegations thatCLO personnel were taking home the seized goods as they are strictly monitoringthe operation against erring vendros.last_img read more

Lautaro’s hat-trick in Inter friendly

first_img Loading… Gagliardini returned the favour with his cross for Lautaro Martinez’s header, then Eriksen drilled in a daisy-cutter. read also:Inter to meet with Lautaro’s entourage on Barca move Lautaro Martinez then completed his hat-trick with two goals in three minutes, the first by running from midfield, shrugging off a defender and beating the goalkeeper at the near post, then he was at the far stick to meet a Hakimi cross. The second half was considerably quieter and had only one goal, Eriksen completing his brace with a rare header on Danilo D’Ambrosio’s assist. Inter (3-4-1-2): Handanovic (Radu 46); D’Ambrosio, Bastoni (Pirola 65), Kolarov; Hakimi (Dalbert 65), Barella (Agoumé 65), Gagliardini, Perisic; Eriksen; R Lukaku (Salcedo 65), Lautaro Martinez (Alexis Sanchez 65) FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Promoted ContentIs This The Most Delicious Food In The World?Best Car Manufacturers In The World10 Risky Jobs Some Women DoThe Highest Paid Football Players In The World10 Phones That Can Work For Weeks Without RechargingBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever MadeWho’s The Best Car Manufacturer Of All Time?Top 7 Best Car Manufacturers Of All TimeCouples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable Way6 Interesting Ways To Make Money With A Drone8 Superfoods For Growing Hair Back And Stimulating Its Growth7 Black Hole Facts That Will Change Your View Of The Universecenter_img Inter thrashed Serie C side Pisa 7-0 in this evening’s pre-season friendly, with a Lautaro Martinez hat-trick and Christian Eriksen brace. Antonio Conte will not begin his Serie A campaign until next weekend, as the 2019-20 campaign only finished in late August with the Europa League Final. Eriksen was used in a trequartista role behind Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, with Achraf Hakimi on the right-wing and Ivan Perisic on the left. It took five minutes to break the deadlock with Lukaku, left unmarked to tap in a Perisic cross at the back post. Roberto Gagliardini finished off another good move, in which Lautaro Martinez had surged forward to set up Lukaku, laying it off for the midfielder.Advertisementlast_img read more

Ivy Tech Community College releases Fall 2018 Dean’s List

first_imgBatesville, In. — More than 250 students were named to the Dean’s List for the Fall 2018 semester at the Ivy Tech Community College Lawrenceburg and Batesville campuses. The college names to the Dean’s List any degree-seeking student who has accumulated 12 or more earned credit hours, is enrolled in a minimum of six credit hours during the term involved, and earns a grade point average of 3.5 or higher.The following area students, listed by their hometowns, were among those named to the Dean’s List.Aurora: Daniel Baitz, Casey Baker, Brian Berry, Angela Carnes, Rachel Dorion, Karisa Good, Justin Gray, Cassandra Haring, Brittany Herrmann, Conner Hinkle, Nina Hoffman, Desiree Hulsey, Eric Johnson, Matthew Lafollette, Ryan Leonard, Alexius Lyons, Ian Manor, Justin Metzger, Nicolas Pickett, Alexis Ramsey, Bethany Roberts, Bree Roberts, Jonathan Sanders, Samantha Scott, Caroline Siekman, Zachary Sparkman, Victoria Stevenson, Ashley Stevenson, Ashley Velie, Matthew WaldonBatesville: Ashley Bolser, Stacey Davis, Haley Diaz, Sawyer Donk, Catherine Duerstock, Katherine Fledderman, Merissa Gerdowsky, Abigail Gomien, Jacob Gutapfel, Patrick Hartman, Kyle Hountz, Laura Jordan, Jessica Karafin, Tiffany Kurtz, Samantha Lecher, Raymond Lecher, Sarah Massey, Tia McConnell, Sara Pate, Edwin Perello, Ariel Pevlor, Sarah Riehle, Leah Riffle, Jimmy Snellings, Rachel Urban, Jennifer Walker, Gaige Wintz, Vanessa ZinsBennington: Natalie Newman, Amanda Norfleet, Justine WarnerBrookville: Jenna Anderson, Katlyn Campbell, Caige Geier, Gregory Rouse, Sade SchulerBurlington, Ky.: Kevin BryantCincinnati, Oh: Hannah Campbell, Emily Doone, Lucas Narayan-Burns, Cheranta TaylorCleves: Hallie Morris, Renae Roof, Sarah TamaskaCovington, Ky.: Ryan LawrenceDillsboro: Cara Hesselbach, Bryant Housemyer, Anna Liming, Stephen Martini, Micah McLain, Fisher Percival, Haley Ridlen, Kayla Rogers, Kelly Ryle, Dawson VilardoFlorence, Ky.: Andrew Flaugher, Jeff HunterFlorence: Marci LeapFriendship: Danielle McGeeGreendale: Kyle Callahan, Ashley Clapp, Nicole Dell, Bradley Dietrich, Timothy Hollan, Twyla Kinnett, Cory Knoll, Shayla Peters, Julie Prost, Crystal Quicksall, James Rudisell, Shelby Scalf, John UllrichGreensburg: Rick Baker, Megan Buening, Kathleen Ertel, Draven Hall, Bradley Lunsford, Shalan Shamblin-Krekeler, Amy Shook, Lynn Trenkamp, Danielle Underhill, Ayla ZiegenfusGuilford: Jennifer Jung, Elizabeth Kern, Leah SteinerHarrison, Oh.: Samantha Bell, Donald HallHebron, Ky.: Steve CoxHolton: Jonah MerschIndependence, Ky.: Jenny GarlockLake Charles, La.: Shane LoftinLaurel: Lisa French, Samantha RogersLawrenceburg: Brock Abdon, Wendy Al Tawaha, Cody Ashcraft, Rebecca Barga, Mark Buschle, Matthew Childers, Ashley Craig, Ashley Davidson, Sophia Davis, Kaitlyn Duff, Jessica Duvall, Shelbea Eckel, Riley Erickson, Emily Feckter, Mitchell Hogue, Andrew Ingram, Meghan Jones, Caleb King, Shaunda Krentz, Austin Lattire, Steven LeCount, Hannah Lopez, Kelly Manis, Brandon McKnight, Abigail Meyer, Michael Mobley, Gregory Morton, Ashley Munt, Alec Newell, Kendra Phiester, Madyson-Tailor Pineda, Bethany Radenheimer, Richard Richardson, Megan Roland, Jacob Rosenberg, Kendall Schlemmer, Rebecca Schondelmayer, Jillian Seiwert, Haylie Smallwood, William Smith, Joshua Snelling, Marti Stevens, Bettina Thompson, Jessica Tremain, Felisha Tschaenn, Michael Wilson, Michael Windholtz, Christopher WooddellMadison: Amanda ChathamMetamora: Maria Ison, Markie MappesMilan: Lauren Casada, Lauren Chapman, Cherokee Davidson, Grant Depoy, Bryan Forwalt, Sealey Hyatt, Richard Jarrett, Hannah Roth, Kyle Short, Lauren VanDuyn-Garard, Matthew Wilkening, Courtney WitteMoores Hill: Destiny Conrad, Kane Curry, Samantha Getz, Anthony Kern, Jacob Polak, John TedescoMorris: Whitney McCrayMuncie: Dustin MinthNapoleon: Audrey AdamsNoblesville: Kiana WhiteNorth Bend, Oh.: Hailey SiefertOldenburg: Joseph Bohman, Courtney Ison, Sandra Markland, Kristen Murray, Kelsey RoellOsgood: Natalie Cox, Katelyn England, Chelsi MarcumPatriot: Chantel Ballard, Brittney JonesRising Sun: Mollie Baxter, Jennifer Clark, Samantha DuVall, Kendra Hudson, Carla Jones, Jennifer Jordan, Brittany Meyer, Janessa Potter, Jennifer Richey, Zachary Scudder, Caleb Valentine, Lauren Williams, Cody WilsonRushville: Robert HancockSunman: Brittany Bleich, Brandon Byrd, Sheila Byrd, Shaye DiMeglio, Andrew Dwenger, Shawn Fox, Camryn Gutapfel, Candace Hammond, John Herring, Ashli Hornberger, Michael Kilby, Allison Luers, Alyssia Murray, Olivia Nagele, Samantha Richter, Katie Vetter, Derek Walls, Julia Weber, Aimee WyattUnion, Ky.: Neal Inskeep, Danielle McGrawVersailles: Ranae Cole, Donald Emery, Emily Montgomery, Whitney Sechrest, Alyssa YoungVevay: Trey Bradshaw, Raymond Cuneo, Derrick Keith, Neil WashnockWest Harrison: Eric Blomer, Harley Calvert, Alaina Carlisle, Victoria Costa, Alexandria Jivoin, Robin Long, Christopherlast_img read more

Barca chief Bartomeu criticises disloyal Neymar

first_imgBy Richard MartinBARCELONA, Spain (Reuters) – Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu hit out at Neymar’s lack of loyalty to the club yesterday and criticised the Brazilian for staying silent up until his world record 222 million euro ($261 million) move to Paris St Germain.The speculation about Neymar’s eventual move to France overshadowed the club’s pre-season tour of the United States in July and, while his teammates were inundated with questions about the player, the forward made no comment on his future until the move was confirmed last Thursday.“His way of doing things was not the best, it was not the behaviour we expect of one of our players,” Bartomeu said at Barca’s annual supporters’ congress yesterday.“We were always clear and we would have liked a bit more clarity from him. Values are very important to us and players need to feel like they are at the best club in the world.”Bartomeu said the club was now ready for life without Neymar, who scored 105 goals in four seasons with Barca and won two Liga titles, three King’s Cups and the 2015 Champions League.He contrasted the Brazilian’s fleeting loyalty with one-club men Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta.No player is above Barca; everything has a limit and that is why we did what we did. Messi’s loyalty should be an example for everyone who wants to wear our colours, as should Iniesta’s,” said Bartomeu.The Barca chief said the club had suspected Neymar might leave one day when he agreed a new contract in 2016.“We predicted Neymar could leave so we raised his buy-out clause to 222 million so we would have a stable future. When we started to doubt he would stay, we remained calm because whatever happened would have been good for Barca,” he said.“If he’d stayed we would have kept an exceptional player, and if he went we’d be able to guarantee we could sign other players.”Bartomeu added that the team would move away from its recent axis of Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez, the most prolific front three of all-time, to focus on building a stronger team overall.“Now we won’t be talking about the Barca of the trident, we’ll be focusing more on the team,” he said.last_img read more

Police, Camptown to clash in Turbo Final

first_imgPOLICE Football Club will face Camptown FC in the final of the Turbo Knockout Football competition.Following semi- final action last evening, both sides had vastly different paths to the final, with Camptown pipping Pouderoyen and Police railroading Grove.It was Richie Richard who scored Campton’s lone goal in the semi-final just on the stroke of half time and try as they may, the West Bank side could not find the equaliser.In the second game, it was a railroad by Police on the Grove Hi-Tech team with a 3-1 margin.Quincy Holder stepped up to the plate to score the lawmen’s first goal and returned to score the second four minutes into the first half of injury time.However, immediately on the return, Mervin Squires started what looked to be a comeback for the Hi-Tech side.That comeback however was quelled by Rawle Haynes in the 78th minute as Police went 2 goals up for the 3-1 score line.The final will take place on December 3.last_img read more

Mighty Marnus hits new Test-rankings high

first_imgMARNUS Labuschagne’s golden summer has seen him jump up to third spot in the latest ICC rankings to sit behind only Virat Kohli and Steve Smith among the world’s Test batters.Labuschagne’s double of 215 and 59 in the third Domain Test at the SCG completed a record-breaking summer of run-scoring that has seen him move ahead of New Zealand’s Kane Williamson in the latest rankings.And David Warner’s second-innings hundred in Sydney has seen him move up two spots to fifth, meaning there are three Australians in the top five batters.It’s been a remarkable rise from Labuschagne, who was ranked 107th in the world after last year’s Sydney Test.On a bowling front, Mitchell Starc has been rewarded for his impressive summer with a move up to fifth (behind teammate Pat Cummins, who retains top spot), while Nathan Lyon has leaped from 19th to equal 14th after he took 10 wickets in Sydney.Elsewhere, Ben Stokes has been rewarded for his player-of-the-match performance against South Africa in Cape Town with a move up to 10th spot in the batting rankings, while he’s also up to 27th among the bowlers.Check out the full ICC rankings hereICC Test batting rankings1) Virat Kohli (India)2) Steve Smith (Australia)3) Marnus Labuschagne (Australia)4) Kane Williamson (New Zealand)5) David Warner (Australia)6) Cheteshwar Pujara (India)7) Babar Azam (Pakistan)8) Joe Root (England)9) Ajinkya Rahane (India)10) Ben Stokes (England)ICC Test bowling rankings1) Pat Cummins (Australia)2) Neil Wagner (New Zealand)3) Jason Holder (West Indies)4) Kagiso Rabada (South Africa)5) Mitchell Starc (Australia)6) Jasprit Bumrah (India)7) James Anderson (England)8) Vernon Philander (South Africa)9) Ravichandran Ashwin (India)10) Mohammad Shami (India)last_img read more

No. 1 Virginia sinks Syracuse with 5 goals in ACC opener

first_img Published on September 20, 2015 at 4:45 pm Contact Michael: Syracuse and goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan allowed more than two goals for the first time in 2015 on Sunday. The Orange surrendered five goals and SU’s (4-5-1, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) attack couldn’t counter with any goals of its own in a 5-0 loss to No. 1 Virginia (7-0-1, 1-0) at Klöckner Stadium in both teams’ conference opener.The Cavaliers got the scoring started in the 17th minute, when Kaili Torres assisted Makenzy Doniak on a goal. The score stayed at 1-0 into halftime, but the Cavaliers broke open the game in the second half. Brittany Ratcliffe, Kristen McNabb and Alexis Shaffer combined to score three goals in six minutes, starting with Ratcliffe’s goal in the 55th minute. McNabb then added another goal in the 83rd minute.Meanwhile, the Orange registered just one shot on goal in the game’s full 90 minutes. That shot came off the foot of Erin Simon. On the other end of the field, Brosnan came away with three saves on the eight shots on goal she faced.The game was the first of three in a row for SU against teams that are ranked in the top 10 of the NSCAA Coaches Poll. Syracuse will next play Thursday against North Carolina, the No. 3-ranked team in the country.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Leader by nature: Kayla Overbeck is the perfect captain for USC’s young squad

first_imgBut Overbeck made the national team, and her team went on to win silver at the FIBA U19 World Cup that summer. She credits the atmosphere on the international stage for making her time with Team USA one of the most challenging yet valuable learning experiences she could have had as a freshman. (Photo: Ling Luo, Design: Sophia Quintos | Daily Trojan) “Instead of going to the bench and feeling sorry for herself, she was the loudest cheerer on the bench,” Shanon said. “I think given Kayla’s support, you know, their top player on the bench supporting them, it just fueled them to get the win.” Only three players on the USC women’s basketball team earn a “C” on their jersey. This honor is  usually reserved for a fourth-year senior or a longtime USC veteran, but for senior forward Kayla Overbeck, all it took was one year as a Trojan to earn that coveted letter. “I really thought it helped me grow more as a leader and [in] really trying to get to know people that I’m not really comfortable with,” Overbeck said. “We [were] on a completely new team for a month, and [it taught] me how you can talk to different players in different ways and try to bring the most out of each other in any type of setting.” Senior forward Kayla Overbeck has recorded 413 points and 259 rebounds during her two seasons with USC. (James Wolfe | Daily Trojan) USC head coach Mark Trakh said Overbeck’s focus both on and off the court has helped her develop into one of the Pac-12’s best defenders. “Sometimes it can be a dance move, sometimes she can just yell, acting like she’s yelling to somebody but just yelling out loud,” Caldwell said. “Having them [in L.A.] is so much better than having them come for a weekend for the whole year,” Overbeck said. “[At Vanderbilt], it was just months of not being with my family, and that I just didn’t really like. It wasn’t the best for me as a person or as a player.” According to Shanon, Kayla has always set an example for her teammates. Shanon remembers that Kayla wasn’t discouraged after fouling out of a highly contested high school playoff game her senior year. After two seasons with Vanderbilt, Overbeck decided to transfer to USC. The Newbury Park native said being closer to home was a big incentive for her to choose the Trojans. She now has at least one family member in attendance at each home game, and her parents have made road trips to watch her play in Northern California and Arizona. While Overbeck has been a vocal leader throughout her basketball career, her play also speaks for itself. She was named a Pac-12 All-Defensive Honorable Mention on Tuesday after a senior season during which she averaged 7.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists.  “I will miss the craziness the most,” Caldwell said. “Kayla is the most interesting teammate I have ever had, and she will always hold that title, but the passion that she plays with is just unmatched.” When she came to USC, Overbeck brought a fresh perspective from her time with Team USA about how to be a leader on and off the court. This season, she was tasked with creating chemistry among a team with only three returners: herself, sophomore guard Desiree Caldwell and redshirt sophomore guard Shalexxus Aaron, who has not competed this season due to a foot injury. For example, Caldwell said the team never knows what to expect out of Overbeck when she gets an and-1. Editor’s note: A previous version of this article misspelled Shanon Overbeck’s first name. The Daily Trojan regrets this error. “Creating cohesion with Kayla has always been very easy,” Caldwell said. “She’s all about team, and she’s all about loving her teammates. So just having that natural chemistry with her has just been really easy since I first started playing with her.”  Although Overbeck is a fierce, focused threat on the court, her family and teammates also suggest there is a humorous, softer side of her that fans don’t always get to see. “Given my experience with the sport, I tried to get her in as many competitive leagues [as possible] and some boys’ leagues and just worked with her as much as I could,” Kayla’s mother, Shanon, said. “[We] just provided avenues for her to play club and [on] some of the top AAU teams in Southern California just to get her what she needed to get her to the next level.” Overbeck said her goal has been to create a dynamic that her teammates really want to be a part of as they navigate the balance between their academic, social and athletic demands. Caldwell, who has played with Overbeck during her two seasons at USC and is also a team captain, said Overbeck’s leadership made welcoming new faces — including seven freshmen and two transfers — much easier. The pair had to step up to guide the newcomers after co-captain and graduate transfer guard Stephanie Watts missed most of the season with a knee injury. “I didn’t even really know anything about [the] USA [team],” Overbeck said. “Growing up [and] in high school, it wasn’t really a thing. I wasn’t on the AAU circuit as early as other players.” “Kayla’s intense,” Trakh said. “I think she’s one of the best defensive players in the conference … super kid, great student [and] really has done a great job for us.” Long before Overbeck became captain of the USC basketball team, though, she tried out every sport she could as a kid: soccer, softball, track, basketball, volleyball and gymnastics. But with two former college basketball players for parents, Overbeck was primed for a future in hoops. Overbeck entered Vanderbilt in 2016 as a three-star recruit ranked No. 19 in the country at her position according to ESPN. However, she did not stay under the radar for long, earning SEC All-Freshman Team honors, leading the conference’s freshmen with 7.2 rebounds per game and averaging a solid 9.5 points per game. After her breakout freshman performance, Overbeck was invited to try out for the United States’ U19 National Team. She was surprised to receive the invitation but attended the tryout after receiving encouragement from her coaches at Vanderbilt. It’s these three sides to Overbeck — the team leader, the intense and talented defender and the boisterous teammate — that will make her so missed by her teammates after she graduates this spring. Although Overbeck also played volleyball through her four years of high school, she realized after her freshman year that she might be capable of competing in basketball at the next level. She began training with her high school coaches, who recommended she join a top-tier team to help her pursue a college career. “I just try to make it a type of atmosphere that you want to be in, you want to start, you want to be there,” she said.last_img read more

Brazil 2014: Previews and Predictions of all groups

first_imgGroup A: Brazil’s Neymar In The SpotlightTEAM-BY-TEAMBRAZI: The Confederations Cup victory placed the hosts as favourites for the real deal in 2014. Scolari will attempt to become the second coach to win two World Cups. Only Vittorio Pozzo, with Italy in 1934 and 1938, managed that feat. There is little point in looking beyond Neymar as the expected star, though he has a fine supporting cast. One weakness may be the lack of a striker in the finest traditions of Careca or Ronaldo, but expect Brazil to breeze through this group. Beyond that, they must win a sixth title on home soil. Or else.CROATIA: They needed a playoff to get to Brazil and were the bad guys in holding off the romantics’ choice of Iceland. For such a young nation, they are experienced campaigners in this competition, though only the fervent patriot would suggest they have the strength to match the third place they reached in 1998. The absence of star Mario Mandzukic with a probable two-game suspension may prove costly, but they still have the skills of midfielder Luka Modric to call on. Former captain Niko Kovac replaced Igor Stimac but is perhaps the least-experienced coach in the tournament.MEXICO: Just like last time, they are drawn in the same group as the host. Brazil clearly represent a far greater challenge than South Africa did. Mexico almost missed out on their habitual place in the finals during a ruinous qualifying campaign and had to rely on a playoff with New Zealand to make it. Mexican football looked on the rise when they won the Olympic final at Wembley in 2012, beating a Brazil team made up of many of the expected squad for the finals. Getting past the last 16 is, as ever, their goal.CAMEROUN: The Indomitable Lions no longer live up to their name. And in their seventh World Cup, they are no longer the wild cards they were in 1990, when they announced Africa’s challenge on the world stage. They will need to improve on their hugely disappointing performance in South Africa, where they were the first team to exit. The star remains Samuel Eto’o, back after a very public fallout with the Cameroon authorities that was resolved only when the government stepped in. Eto’o is not the player he was, and neither are Cameroon as enticing a prospect.Group B: Spain Face Tough Title Defence TEAM-BY-TEAMSPAIN: They already have breached new horizons by winning three championships in a row. To win in Brazil would take them beyond immortality. They would have to become the first European team to win in the Americas, and the first team to retain the title since Brazil in 1962. One thing in their favour is that they cannot meet the host until the final if they win the group as expected. Brazil humiliated them in the final of the Confederations Cup.NETHERLANDS: The previous time the World Cup was held in South America, they lost in the final. They return with a similar status, and have something to prove after their behaviour in 2010’s final besmirched what had previously been a fine tournament. Coach Louis van Gaal has at least made up for the embarrassment of failing to make it to 2002’s final, but in his second spell, he is working with a squad that is undergoing a regeneration. Euro 2012 was an utter disaster.CHILE: In 2010, they were a delight to watch, and continue to be so. Coach Jorge Sampaoli has revived the practices of Argentine compatriot Marcelo Bielsa, and his team are a danger to anyone, as England found out last month at Wembley. Barcelona star Alexis Sanchez is the key man, just as he was four years ago, and he is finding form at his club after two seasons of doubt. Premier League followers will recognise Gary Medel, Cardiff City’s dastardly anchorman. Three wins from four secured their place in the final 32 after Sampaoli replaced the more defensive Claudio Borghi.Australia: Being in the final 32 is becoming a happy habit after those years in the wilderness from 1974 to 2006. They enter their third straight World Cup with a third different coach and after some upheaval. Unlike the previous two times, the coach will not be a Dutchman, or a German, after Holger Osieck was removed following consecutive friendly defeats to Brazil and France. In came Ange Postecoglou, who is the first A-League boss to get the national job, and the first Australian to manage them in the World Cup.Group C: Colombia In Tricky Group TEAM-BY-TEAMCOLOMBIA: A hugely formidable side that combines physicality with awesome forward power, most conspicuously in the rampaging Radamel Falcao. Most eyes will be on him, but that in itself creates other avenues for the Colombian attack. If opposition sides can weather that, however, Jose Pekerman’s side does have flaws that ensures they were just seeds but not quite favourites. Issues at centre-back remain.GREECE: Fernando Santos’s team remain as resilient and resolute as ever, but have added one quality they have lacked since 2004: a prolific forward. Konstantinos Mitroglou has been in free-scoring form for both Olympiakos and through qualifying. It ensures that teams who have generally dominated play against the Greeks now have to be a little more cautious not to leave an abundance of space behind.IVORY COAST: They may have moved on from the perceived golden generation of 2006 and lost some of that squad’s stars, but they have at least — and at last — also lost their capacity to be drawn in the Group of Death. This is a much more inviting pool for the Ivorians than either 2006 or 2010. With a player like Toure at the absolute peak of his career, and Didier Drogba still so dangerous, they should finally feel confident of the end of an unfortunate run.JAPAN: At first glance, they are not one of the two sides you would expect to get through this pool, but a deeper look also reveals some real substance to their squad. In the respected Alberto Zaccheroni, they have a manager well capable of tactical flexibility and who also has already won an Asian Cup. In the likes of Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda, they have a fine technical team.Group D: Brutal Draw For England TEAM-BY-TEAMURUGUAY: The feeling is that they’re not quite the side that enjoyed such a successful run over 2010 and 2011, but one still well capable of forging a route to the semifinals, as they did in South Africa in 2010. An attack featuring Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani certainly indicates that. The question will be over how they’re backed up by the rest of the team, given that the Confederations Cup revealed some issues, not to mention how they navigate a tough group. A status as seeds did not do too many favours.COSTA RICA: They qualified rather easily, and largely because their back line is rock-hard. A run of 476 minutes without conceding a goal helped them claim the best defensive record in CONCACAF. Their main weakness is at the other end, where they lack much flair or forward capacity beyond Bryan Ruiz, who was their top scorer in 10 games of qualification with just three goals.ENGLAND: An awkward side but quite far from an excellent one. Hodgson has constructed a framework that has made England hard to beat, but also ensured they often find actually claiming victory rather difficult. That could be a particular issue in what would be considered the most winnable game, against Costa Rica. Yes, they have two or three players who are world-class level, such as Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere, not to mention some valuable different options up front, but there is a reticence to their play. They’ll need to develop something more rousing here.ITALY: The 2006 champions may not have the youth structures of countries such as Spain and Germany, or the fundamental star quality of Argentina or Brazil, but they do retain this supreme coaching school that has produced a manager of the caliber of Prandelli. The manner in which he overcame some of Italy’s squad imbalances to reach the final of Euro 2012 was an illustration, and means that they remain a very dangerous side, if no longer one of the domineering favourites.Group E: France Get Lucky TEAM BY TEAMSWITZERLAND: It is hard to believe that in Ottmar Hitzfeld’s first competitive game as Switzerland boss, the Nati suffered a humiliating loss to Luxembourg in qualifying for World Cup 2010. Switzerland have huge strength in the goalkeeping department with Diego Benaglio and Yann Sommer, and some of the world’s brightest midfield players in captain Gokhan Inler, Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri.ECUADOR: Reinaldo Rueda’s side have had a rough year, struggling for form and mourning the tragic death of striker Chucho Benitez. Their greatest strength — much as with the Swiss — lies in midfield, with Manchester United’s Luis Antonio Valencia and Dynamo Moscow’s Christian Noboa adding quality and penetration. Felipe Caicedo and Jefferson Montero are dangerous up front, although neither has really built on the early promise shown in European club football.FRANCE: Having scraped into the draw for Brazil by the skin of their teeth, France have the quality to go deep in this competition, with members of the long-feted 1987 generation such as Karim Benzema and Samir Nasri expected to step up. There are doubts over whether Didier Deschamps really knows what his best team is, and their defending can be occasionally shambolic, so expect captain Hugo Lloris to see a bit of action between the posts, too.HONDURAS: They will not be fancied but are used to holding their own in competitive fixtures against Mexico, the U.S. and Costa Rica, so they are no pushovers. There is creativity and industry in Wilson Palacios and Roger Espinoza, while Maynor Figueroa is well-known as a doughty competitor. The reliable Carlo Costly and New England Revolution’s Jerry Bengtson will be required to chip in with some goals.Group F: Favorable Draw For Messi TEAM-BY-TEAMARGENTINA: Undoubtedly one of the favourites to win the entire tournament, the Lionel Messi factor is enough to put an almighty fear into most opponents in a tournament that the Barcelona man hopes will help define his incredible career. Yet to focus solely on him would be foolish. Argentina have probably the greatest attacking arsenal on the planet, with Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Ezequiel Lavezzi among those in tow, with Javier Mascherano and Angel Di Maria among the midfield talents. There are defensive doubts, though, with no obvious choice at left-back — Sporting Lisbon defender Marcos Rojo is the current favourite.BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA: Susic’s squad may not have Argentina’s illustrious personnel, but Bosnia-Herzegovina aren’t slouches in the attacking department, with Edin Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic capable of scoring goals against anyone, and cultured players like Miralem Pjanic of Roma and Hoffenheim’s Sejad Salihovic in midfield. Bosnia-Herzegovina don’t have too much depth in defence, so goalkeeper Asmir Begovic might be busy in a tournament that could act as a springboard to his joining one of Europe’s biggest clubs.IRAN: Many will look at Queiroz’s mainly home-based squad and expect an easy ride for the other three teams in the group, but if Iran finish bottom of this group, it will not be for their own lack of quality. Led by experienced midfielder Javad Nekounam — a popular figure at Osasuna after his spell in La Liga — Iran have a good mix of youth and experience, and some cutting edge in the final third. Ashkan Dejagah of Fulham provides pace on the flank, and Standard Liege striker Reza Ghoochannejhad could be one of the surprise hits of the tournament.NIGERIA: Stephen Keshi’s side have strength wherever you look, beginning with formidable goalkeeper and captain Vincent Enyeama, who has been outstanding for Lille in France this season. He also takes penalties — and has 18 career goals — which could be interesting in a shootout come the knockout rounds. Anchored by John Obi Mikel in midfield, there are also numerous goal scorers available to Keshi, including Emmanuel Emenike of Fenerbahce and Brown Ideye of Dynamo Kiev — plus Newcastle United’s Shola Ameobi, who has recently joined the Nigeria squad.Group G: USA Draw Group Of Death TEAM-BY-TEAMGERMANY: They should have enough to top the group. A goal from Mesut Ozil helped them overcome Ghana in the 2010 group stage and one from Mario Gomez saw off Portugal at Euro 2012. Portugal finished as runners-up to Brazil in the 2010 group stage. That experience, you feel, will stand both the Germans and Portuguese in good stead. The U.S. seem more likely than Ghana to make things difficult.PORTUGAL: They have made a habit of making life difficult on themselves in qualifying — often reaching major tournaments through playoffs — and there’s a tendency to wonder where they’d be without Cristiano Ronaldo. Though dependent on him, they’re more than a one-man team and tend to perform better than expectation once they qualify. A robust back line and a skillful Joao Moutinho-orchestrated midfield, plus pace and trickery on the wings — with the favourite for the 2013 Ballon d’Or on one of them or up front — mean encounters with Portugal can get uncomfortable.GHANA: The Ghanaian FA has set coach Kwesi Appiah a target of reaching the semifinals, but that seems unrealistic. No African nation has ever reached the last four of a World Cup, and while Ghana deserved to get that far in South Africa four years ago — remember the Luis Suarez handball, the subsequent penalty miss and shootout despair — it’s unlikely they’ll go as far. Their midfield — comprising the unretired Kevin-Prince Boateng, Kwadwo Asamoah, Sulley Muntari and Michael Essien — is a powerful one, and their attack has pace and skill in the Ayew brothers, Christian Atsu and Asamoah Gyan. However, one fears the back line won’t hold up to much scrutiny.UNITED STATES: They have come a long way since the last World Cup in Brazil in 1950, when they finished bottom of their group but famously shocked England 1-0. Qualifiers for every tournament from 1990 onward, they are an established World Cup nation now. Under Jurgen Klinsmann, their play has become more expansive; there’s greater depth, and mentally they seem prepared. Question marks remain, though: Has Klinsmann really transformed them? And how much can really be expected of a team that lost to Jamaica, Costa Rica and Honduras in recent memory, not to mention a near defeat to Panama?Group H: Belgium Can Go FarTEAM-BY-TEAMBELGIUM: Like Colombia, they are a team blessed with a golden generation, but Belgium’s feels more complete. They have a top goalkeeper in Thibaut Courtois; excellent centre-backs in Jan Vertonghen and Vincent Kompany; a dynamic midfield featuring Marouane Fellaini, Axel Witsel and Mousa Dembele; pace and invention wide and between the lines in Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens and Kevin Mirallas; then Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke up front. There’s depth too. Qualifying was a breeze and there’s a lot of hype. You just question whether to believe it. On paper, there’s no reason they can’t make the last four as they did in 1986.ALGERIA: The future looks relatively bright. Granted, they don’t have a Rabah Madjer, but Nabil Ghilas, who has followed in his footsteps by joining Porto, was a powerhouse of a goal scorer in Portugal last season and poses a threat. Ishak Belfodil is the proverbial big man with a good touch, who broke through at Parma last season and won a move to Inter, where he’s joined by his former Bologna teammate, midfielder Saphir Taider. Algeria are known for pulling off World Cup shocks. Remember they stunned eventual finalists West Germany in 1982, narrowly fell to Brazil in 1986 and held England in 2010.RUSSIA: After the disappointment he had with England in South Africa, a sensation Fabio Capello has not felt too often over a successful career, will things be better with Russia in Brazil? He’s been impressive enough for there to be a new four-year contract on the table. How so? Well, by making Russia hard to break down. Their defence has been a weakness in the past, but only conceded five goals in qualifying and is now a strength. Roman Shirokov, Igor Denisov and Viktor Fayzulin form a balanced midfield, while their attack is movement-based and can be a handful. Were they to have the Andrey Arshavin of Euro 2008, who inspired them to the semifinals, perhaps there’d be more confidence around them.SOUTH KOREA: Two knockout appearances in the past three World Cups suggest we should expect South Korea to get out of their groups. Capable of playing neat and tidy football, there are some fine technicians in the middle of the park, notably Cardiff City’s Kim Bo-Kyung and Sunderland’s Ki Sung-Yueng, who can even play as a ball-playing centre-back as he did for Swansea in last season’s League Cup final. The most talented of them all, however, is undoubtedly Son Heung-Min, Bayer Leverkusen’s record transfer, a forward that rivals Japan, bereft of a goal scorer, would surely love to have in their own ranks.last_img read more