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How The World Cup Semifinalists Match Up

Source: Football Whispers England is striking gold from the set pieceTeams with the best rate per 90 minutes of shots from set pieces (corner kicks and free kicks) in the World Cup TeamPasses per possessionRank teamGOALSSHOTSSHOTS ON GOAL Portugal0.693.880.69 Croatia3.194 Croatia has conceded only one goal from a set play — Russia’s equalizer in extra time of the quarterfinals. But it has conceded 22 shots from them so far, which is tied for the most in the tournament. This suggests that some luck has been involved — Russia, for instance, gave up the same number of shots from set pieces as Croatia did, but five of those shots resulted in goals against.The game will probably be tense and closed off, with England’s willingness to patiently pass the ball in its own half combined with Croatia’s indifference to pressing high resulting in an overall lack of openness. The beauty of high-stakes knockout stage soccer, though, is that one goal can change everything.Check out our latest World Cup predictions. France3.636 England4.3621 Croatia, which takes on England in the other semifinal, had just a 3 percent pre-tournament chance of winning the tournament and an SPI of 80.4, according to FiveThirtyEight’s predictions. The team is now at 18 percent with an SPI of 82.0, which reiterates the impressive run it’s been on, despite having to ride its luck in two consecutive penalty shootouts. Gareth Southgate’s young England squad, up to 85.2 in SPI, has fulfilled its pre-tournament dark horse expectations, taking advantage of a relatively easy draw to increase the chances of it finally “coming home.”The brutal truth of knockout soccer, though, is that team strength counts for only so much; just ask Spain and Brazil, which went out to Russia and Belgium, respectively. Soccer is a random game, and this is exacerbated in situations where one win carries such importance.Tactics also play a big part. Belgium was lucky in its 2-1 win over Brazil, to the extent that the South Americans had 3.01 expected goals to Belgium’s 0.52. But Roberto Martinez set his side up in a way that was designed to exploit Brazil’s limited weaknesses. Romelu Lukaku — normally the team’s central striker, with four goals already this World Cup — was moved out to the right wing to exploit the space behind Brazil’s marauding left back, Marcelo. Kevin De Bruyne, whom Martinez had underused in a deep midfield role, was shifted to the “false nine” position — in which an attacking midfielder plays nominally as a striker but drops deeper than typical to receive the ball — so that he could receive the ball behind the Brazilian midfielders and launch counterattacks quickly. The Red Devils may have ridden their luck, but they had a plan.In the two semifinals, the stylistic clashes should make for an entertaining spectacle.Belgium vs. France: divergent defendingBelgium and France are both comfortable teams on the ball. They both average more than four passes per possession, according to soccer media and technology company Football Whispers, putting them both in the top third of teams at this World Cup. The Red Devils tend to be slightly more patient, holding the ball for about 1.5 seconds more when they get it than France does, and they switch play from side to side more, with possessions that are wider (in terms of the distance between how far right and left they go) by about 3 yards. How England and Croatia match up stylisticallyNumber of per-possession passes (for and against) and where that ranks among World Cup teams Germany0.304.231.51 TeamPasses per possessionrank Off the ball, both teams implement an aggressive press — but in subtly different ways. England looks to stunt its opposition’s attacks, allowing it to cycle the ball in its own half but not advance much: The Three Lions regain the ball, on average, 54.81 yards away from their own goal, the second highest distance of any team in Russia this summer, but they allow their opponents well more than four passes per possession. Zlatko Dalic’s team, on the other hand, regains the ball in the attacking third just 1.8 times per game compared with England’s 5.6, but Croatia allows its opposition only a little more than three passes per possession, the lowest of any side remaining. In other words, it’s easy to pass into Croatia’s half but difficult to do anything once you get there.The stylistic factor most likely to influence this semifinal matchup, though, is England’s skill when it comes to set plays (corners and free kicks). Southgate has spoken about his focus on them as an opportunity for England to gain an advantage over opponents, with this strategy bearing fruit: England has scored five goals from them already, nearly half of of its total so far. From Set Pieces (Per 90 Minutes) Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group Australia0.003.730.31 England4.846 The World Cup in Russia has become one of European dominance. The four teams that remain all hail from the continent: France, Belgium, England and Croatia will be battling in the semifinals Tuesday and Wednesday for a shot at glory in the final Sunday in Moscow. In this World Cup of Upsets, the French are the only consistently successful team left. Croatia and Belgium have never reached the final, while England’s only appearance was in 1966.The first semifinal, France vs. Belgium, features the two strongest teams remaining in the competition, each with a Soccer Power Index rating of 87.5, according to FiveThirtyEight’s model. Belgium’s rating has improved steadily from before the tournament began, when it stood at 85.4, to after the dramatic quarterfinal win against Brazil, the tournament favorite. France, meanwhile, has strolled to the semifinals relatively easily, apart from a dramatic 4-3 victory against Argentina in the round of 16. While Les Bleus’ World Cup average of 1.12 expected goals per 90 minutes is the worst of the remaining teams, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group, their 0.67 expected goals conceded per 90 leads the semifinalists and is fourth best in the tournament: Spain0.645.341.07 When they don’t have the ball, the two teams behave very differently. Belgium is much more willing to press high up the pitch, taking risks and committing men in the hope of a valuable turnover: They’ve regained the ball in their attacking third 5.2 times per game compared with France’s 2.6, while their possessions start an average of 48.92 yards from their own goal, compared with France’s 47.28 yards.The downside to this sort of pressing, though, is that if the initial Belgian press is broken, its opposition can keep the ball under a lot less pressure and start to probe in attack. Belgium’s opponents have the ball for 2.61 seconds longer on average than France’s opponents do. Belgium’s opponents average well over four passes per possession, whereas Didier Deschamps’ side allows opponents just 3.63 passes, the sixth lowest of all teams in Russia.Martinez will need a characteristically proactive game plan to avoid allowing France the room to counter that Argentina did — speedster Kylian Mbappe needs no second invitation. Martinez will also have to find a replacement for Thomas Meunier — his first choice to play right wing-back, who is suspended for receiving his second yellow card against Brazil — in a squad thin on full-backs. Deschamps will probably avoid tinkering, hoping that his balanced side will frustrate Belgium while relying on individual talent in attack.England vs. Croatia: intense pressing and set playsDespite being blessed with arguably the most talented midfield in the competition, Croatia doesn’t dawdle when it gets on the ball, moving it to the attackers quickly: Croatia has had the fewest passes per possession of the four teams remaining. England, conversely, has had the most. Some of this is because of the quality of opposition each side has faced, but it’s also a fair reflection of their respective directness: Gareth Southgate’s men hold the ball for more than 3 seconds longer when they get it, often using possession as a defensive tactic. Croatia3.8916 TeamOpponent’s passes per possessionRank France4.2212 Brazil0.184.231.10 Uruguay0.924.601.84 Belgium4.689 Belgium4.3822 Source: Football Whispers Argentina0.233.930.69 Morocco0.303.951.22 England0.865.711.73 TeamOpponent’s passes per possessionRank How France and Belgium match up stylisticallyNumber of per-possession passes (for and against) and where that ranks among World Cup teams Switzerland0.233.670.46 read more

The Growth of a Regional Magazine Company Open Sky Media

first_imgAfter the acquisition of San Antonio, Austin Monthly and Austin Monthly Home, Hadley Capital, a private equity firm specializing in acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, management buyouts, recapitalizations and add-on acquisitions, among other things, founded Open Sky Media in March 2011. That summer, Open Sky Media acquired an Oklahoma City title, Slice, and in November of that year it bought California-based Marin. Open Sky Media (OSM) is hoping to reach its goal of having 10 to 12 regional titles in its portfolio in the next few years. As of this summer, it appears to be on its way. In early August, OSM acquired several properties from Florida-based Gulfshore Media LLC, including monthly magazines Gulfshore Life and Gulfshore Business, and annual titles like Gulfshore Life At Home, Forever Young, the Southwest Florida Guide to the Arts and several custom publications for local Florida organizations.The opportunities for Open Sky Media will come in smaller markets within second-tier cities that give better pricing opportunities for the company. When looking to buy, OSM’s parent company, Hadley Capital, looks for properties that have a revenue between $5 million and $30 million, cash flow between $1 million and $3 million, and at least one of the following assets: a proven management team; a leadership position in a niche market; a quality brand name; an established, proprietary product line; a strong regional presence.The company is following a somewhat standard regional magazine formula with a print-first approach and a slower build out of digital. Here, FOLIO: checks in with OSM’s CEO, Dick Franks, who has a background in local news and was formerly the president and CEO of American Community Newspapers. Franks explains how OMS’ national advertising strategy was executed for his brands around the country, and the company’s plans for the local event space that will be used to compliment his print and digital assets. FOLIO: Describe the opportunity to acquire the Gulfshore Media properties. Dick Franks: We had been working with several magazine publication brokers in the industry and we also let it be known through the industry grapevine that we were interested in acquiring quality properties in quality places. We had the opportunity to speak with [Gulf Shore Media president] Dan Denton a year or so ago. At that time, he had decided he really wasn’t in a position to sell off the magazine, but we reestablished a contact several months ago and he said he’d like to consider things again. We were fortunate that he had other things he wanted to address so we were able to acquire the great stable of magazines there.FOLIO: In March 2011 Open Sky Media acquired several magazines in Texas. In August of that year you acquired another in Oklahoma. What is the company’s acquisition strategy—what markets are you looking to expand into and how do you identify them in terms of audience makeup, volume and/or brand revenue?Franks: In Texas we were very fortunate and that was our first acquisition. I come from the newspaper industry and I’ve had the thought for sometime that ink on paper is still a very powerful medium given the right product and right places. I’ve been interested in the city and regional magazine business—both as a subscriber, I get a lot of magazines, and as a business person for what I think are the opportunities for print going forward.We were able to acquire the Texas magazines because of a long-standing personal relationship I’ve had with the previous owner through the newspaper industry. That’s how we got the first one. The second one was Austin. Oklahoma City was brought to our attention by the brokers we had that were looking around the country for us.Our strategy is to acquire quality products in great markets. We’re not after what would be considered major markets, but we like second or third-tier towns and cities that have great magazines.FOLIO: When you’re shopping for a brand to buy, or a city you’d like to get into, what size are you looking at in terms of audience and volume? The same goes for revenue. Can you give us a sense of where the bar is set for your acquisitions?Franks: We don’t have, quite frankly, a set formula, not even in terms of circulation. The fact is that if circulation is in the right places and gaining the right audience it can be pretty broad and in some cases it can be narrow. We’re looking for the right locations in terms of markets. We don’t have a set formula in terms of it has to be X circulation or X revenue, quite frankly. We look at each one individually and see what we can bring to the business. We really don’t have a set criteria for meeting hurdles to look at or consider it. FOLIO: When you’re looking at acquisition targets, how do you value the mix between print, events, digital and other media properties? Are associated media properties a priority?Franks: No. In fact we’re just now developing, in some cases at the basic level, and others we’re taking it to a higher level, like assets on the digital side. While we appreciate that digital has opportunities, and in some aspects can work better for advertisers and readers, we still believe print is the primary medium. You do have to be in the digital world as well, and it plays and integrates very well together, but we do not see that as replacing quality print products. FOLIO: How do you plan to continue growing? Is there a broader national strategy to unify these titles? Are you trying to secure national advertisers across the brands?Franks: We think each market is very unique and each community is very unique. We have no intention of a classic cookie-cutter approach. We believe all of our magazines reflect the communities that they’re in and the interest and diversity. We feel very strongly that the magazines will continue to represent their local community in the style and manner in which they’ve done so.We also believe strongly in fact-based selling and presentations. We have conducted Mendelson studies, and we have done demographic mapping and segmentation studies to present to our sales team and our clients the best possible information we can have about our readership. We have a national rep, and we also just recently hired an account executive that will be focusing on national and major accounts. FOLIO: Does having a national advertising strategy help to drive your acquisition strategy?Franks: Sure, but the important thing is having the right markets and information available for advertising clients so they can see the quality of the readership and markets. In many cases it will match up very nicely. FOLIO: The live event space plays an important role for publishers in all markets. Do you have any plans to expand that segment?Franks: Naples has done events for a long time and they’ve done a terrific job. They do great events in the community—they run about 50 charity events and seven keynote events every year. We’re not that mature in our other properties, but we have a full-time events person in the central properties, Texas and Oklahoma, that will continue to develop those events. We have a few in California and would like to do a lot more and we’re trying to develop the staff in order to expand to all of our markets.FOLIO: Do you feel that city and regional magazine markets need to move more quickly away from a reliance on print, whether that be through an expansion of events or digital? Franks: We believe print can be done properly with the right products. It is a strong medium and will continue to be a strong medium. We believe that the digital and electronic worlds have a great complimentary relationship and you can make the connections very easily between print, digital and social media. But print still has a great ability to provide a terrific amount of information and research to people. That doesn’t just happen—it comes about from people working hard. You have to have quality people doing the right job and asking the right questions. I don’t think anyone does that better than people in the print medium.More on this topic Open Sky Media Buys Gulfshore Media Properties Gulfshore Media Buys Venice Magazine CurtCo Nearing Deals to Sell Several Magazines Former Owner Buys Back Sarasota, Gulfshore Life Magazines Open Sky Media Acquires Marin Magazine City and Regional Publisher SagaCity Media Acquires Sarasota MagazineJust In Meredith Corp. Makes Digital-Side Promotions | People on the Move Editor & Publisher Magazine Sold to Digital Media Consultant Bonnier Corp. Terminates Editor-in-Chief for Ethics Breach BabyCenter Sold to Ziff Davis Parent J2 Media | News & Notes The Atlantic Names New Global Marketing Head | People on the Move PE Firm Acquires Majority Stake in Industry DivePowered bylast_img read more

State introduces first witnesses in Fairbanks 4 hearing

first_imgThe state has begun calling witnesses in the Fairbanks Four evidentiary hearing.Download AudioAs the proceeding stretches into its 4th week, the focus has shifted from witnesses summoned by attorneys representing exoneration petitioners George Frese, Kevin Pease, Marvin Roberts and Eugene Vent to those offered by state lawyers trying to uphold the men’s convictions for the 1997 murder of John Hartman.Monday, Fairbanks resident Stephen Paskvan testified that he gave Eugene’s Vent’s mother, Ida Hogue, a ride to the airport shortly after her son was arrested for the Hartman attack. Paskvan recounted a brief conversation in which he says Hogue shared something Eugene told her.“That he assured he that, ‘Mom, I never got out of the car,’” Paskvan said.The comment presumably references a car Vent and the other 3 men allegedly rode around the city in the night Hartman was assaulted on a downtown street.Hogue testified she does not remember the comment, and doesn’t know Paskvan.“I never spoke to him,” Hogue said.Also yesterday, in a video deposition, cab driver Veronica Solomon recounts seeing four men around a car at the scene of the Hartman attack, about the time of the assault.Solomon says she tried unsuccessfully to report it to police a few weeks later, but avoided news about the case until 2005, when she looked up a picture of the Fairbanks Four.“Marvin Roberts clearly to me looked like the person that was standing by the door and, I think it was Kevin Pease, he’s the light colored person, I think I remember his name as being the one that looked like the person by the driver’s door,” Solomon said.Solomon describes a car different from the one the Fairbanks Four are alleged to have been in the night of the Hartman attack.Solomon says she shared her story with a State Trooper re-investigating the Fairbanks Four case last year.last_img read more

Rajinikanths Thalaivar 167 title revealed Darbar is the name of AR Murugadoss

first_imgHere is the first look poster of Rajinikanth’s Darbar (Thalaivar 167).PR HandoutThe first look from Rajinikanth’s latest movie, which was referred to as Thalaivar 167, was launched on Tuesday, 9 April. Well, the name of the Rajini’s latest film is Darbar, written and directed by AR Murugadoss.The poster gives ample of hints about Rajinikanth’s role in the movie as we could see the attires of a cop in the photo in which the Tamil superstar is sporting a big smile on his face.The promotional material instantly catches the viewers’ attention with its caption: You decide whether you want me to be good, bad or worse. Presumably, it is the message of the cop to the baddies or his rivals in the Tamil movie.There is also the mention of ‘3’ in the poster and one might be tempted to think whether Rajinikanth could be playing triple role in the movie. It has to be noted that there have been rumours of the superstar playing dual roles in the flick. The word ‘caution’ is also seen in the first look poster. The first look poster also announces the release date of Darbar. Well, the movie will be out for next Pongal.”#Thalaivar167 – #ARM First Look Out at 8.30 AM tomorrow Countdown Begins !!!! [sic]” Lyca Productions finally announced the project on Monday evening. It is the third collaboration of Rajini and the production house after Kaala and 2.0.Interestingly, a few pictures from the photoshoot, which was held on 4 April, was leaked online. Going by the avatar, one gets an impression of Rajini might doing the role of a cop from the 80s. This is not the first time where the 68-year old is sporting khakhi on-screen. He has enacted the cop’s role in the films like Moondru Mugam, Pandian, and Kodi Parakuthu.For the first time, AR Murugadoss is teaming up with Rajinikanth. Nayanthara plays the female lead in the multilingual film.Anirudh Ravichander, Santosh Sivan and Sreekar Prasad have been signed to score music, handle cinematography and editing departments, respectively.Santosh Sivan had previously worked with the Tamil superstar in Mani Ratnam’s blockbuster Thalapathi, which was released 28 years ago, while Anirudh composed music for Rajini’s previous film Petta.last_img read more

Central files on Netaji may not unravel his disappearance Kingshuk Nag

first_imgThe Centre’s act of declassifying secret files on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose may not help in unravelling the mystery surrounding his disappearance, noted journalist and author Kingshuk Nag has said.“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has just promised, he is yet to act on that. Even if all the central government files are declassified, I am not sure, if they will have all the answers that people are seeking to know about Netaji,” Nag said during the launch of his book ‘Netaji: Living Dangerously’ on Tuesday.  Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life“I doubt if the files will have all the information, because some of the important files may be missing, may be doctored long before Modi became the prime minister,” said the Prem Bhatia Memorial Award winner. Following a meeting with a host of Netaji descendants and historians, Modi in October announced the Centre will declassify files related to Bose from January 23 – his birth anniversary. The Prime Minister also assured he would request foreign governments, including Russia, to declassify files related to Netaji available with them. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedNag, who in his book has dealt about the various theories surrounding Netaji’s disappearance following an alleged air crash in Formosa (now Taiwan) on August 18, 1945, claims the answer to Bose’s disappearance lie hidden in secret files with the Russian, British and the Japanese governments. “The Indian government files may mostly carry certain passing references about Netaji. The real mystery behind his disappearance may be revealed only if the files with the Russian, British and Japanese governments are declassified,” Nag said. Eminent historian Hari Vasudevan said the Modi government ought to have sought the services of experts for the process of declassification of over 120 files said to be with the various central departments, including the PMO. “We don’t know what files will be classified so it is difficult to say whether they will be able to answer the questions that we all have been seeking. But, I don’t think it is adequate that files are just randomly declassified without allowing experts, or historians to ask questions,” Vasudevan said.last_img read more