Messi must deliver and France must fire in World Cup last 16

first_img0Shares0000Argentina will count on Lionel Messi while France need Antoine Griezmann to find form © AFP / Jeff PACHOUD, Gabriel BOUYSKAZAN, Russian Federation, Jun 29 – Argentina and Lionel Messi need to find form fast if they are to go any further in the World Cup on Saturday when they meet a France team who have yet to live up to their billing.The first last-16 match in Russia promises to be a fascinating clash of two under-achieving sides who are supposedly on different trajectories. All the flaws of an ageing and unbalanced Argentina team were ruthlessly exposed in the thrashing by Croatia in the group stage.But, roared on by a pumped-up Diego Maradona, Messi finally opened his account in this tournament before Marcos Rojo volleyed in a stunning winner against Nigeria as the losing 2014 finalists punched their ticket to the knockout stage.Didier Deschamps’ France, meanwhile, among the pre-tournament favourites, have looked sluggish despite easing through the group stage unbeaten.Statistics comparing Antoine Griezmann of France and Lionel Messi of Argentina in the first round of the Russia 2018 World Cup © AFPFirst-choice striker Antoine Griezmann has been unable to recapture his best form and the creativity has failed to flow from midfield.Deschamps is adamant that France will get it all right on the night when the business end of the tournament kicks off on Saturday.“A whole new competition begins now, direct elimination,” Deschamps said. “We got what we wanted. Now the mountain looms up in front of us, but we’re there and we’re aiming to get through to the next round after that.”Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi underlined his importance to Argentina with a sublimely-taken opening goal against Nigeria on Tuesday.But it only partly made amends for the Barcelona icon’s penalty miss against Iceland in a lacklustre 1-1 draw that dampened Argentine hopes from their opening match.Messi was then virtually missing in action when Jorge Sampaoli’s men suffered the chastening defeat to Croatia.The tension of the win over Nigeria had 1986 World Cup winner Maradona grimacing towards the sky, a crazed look in his eyes.Maradona later played down concerns over his health after he was checked over by paramedics inside his VIP box.– ‘Messi in a mess’ –But Argentina, and Messi’s health is under scrutiny too, according to former France captain Marcel Desailly.A World Cup winner with France in 1998, Desailly told Britain’s Guardian newspaper: “We know Messi is great but we’re confused and sad for him.“He is such a pure Barcelona product but with Argentina right now, Messi’s in a mess.”“And let’s face it, France have yet to show anything to make us feel optimistic, to give us hope,” said Desailly.With just three goals from three games, an attacking line featuring Griezmann, 145-million-euro teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud has hardly set the tournament on fire.Griezmann, particularly, is facing increasing scrutiny two years after his six-goal, seven-assist tally steered France to the final of Euro 2016, where France lost to Portugal.His campaign so far has been more remarkable for the controversy caused by his decision to announce his commitment to Atletico Madrid, rejecting Barcelona in the process, in a 40-minute video which aired on the eve of France’s opener.“He’s fine, he’s fine. You mustn’t ever doubt one of the best players in the world,” said his Atletico teammate Lucas Hernandez.Les Bleus should have the measure of Messi, according to Marius Tresor, the former France defender who helped Les Bleus to a fourth-place finish at the 1982 World Cup.“Against Messi, they (France) will have to play intelligently,” Tresor told AFP.“If Messi comes through the middle we have a guy called N’Golo Kante who doesn’t let people past him easily.“On his (Messi’s) right side there’s Hernandez, who knows him well from the Spanish league.Messi “likes to move around, so we have to try and control him.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

NFL picks, Week 10: Home sweet home for Raiders, 49ers

first_imgLong story short, Week 10 of the NFL season begins and ends under the Bay Area lights, and look for the Raiders and 49ers to win on their respective prime-time stage in this week’s picks:Raiders 23, Chargers 17: To paraphrase the Chargers owner this week: they’re not going to London and they’re not going anywhere, other than to Oakland to lose in their final visit. Line: Raiders +149ers 26, Seahawks 16: Jimmy Garoppolo becomes only the second quarterback to lead a team to a 9-0 start after …last_img

Android Gaining on Apple, Says Report

first_imgMobile analytics and tracking firm AdMob has just released its latest mobile metrics report, a monthly snapshot of the smartphone industry based on data generated by ad requests within its network of 23,000 mobile websites and mobile applications. This current report, the last of its kind, notes the company who plans on reinventing the report to make it “more useful going forward,” focuses on long-term trends across the industry. Not surprisingly, the company found that Android has seen rapid growth thanks to the launch of new devices, Apple is still the top manufacturer and iPads are having an impact on mobile Internet traffic worldwide. Details on the DataBefore delving into the numbers themselves, it’s important to note how AdMob generates this data – it uses its own network of ad requests, a metric which provides a slice of smartphone pie, but not perhaps the best snapshot of the industry as a whole. Some contend that AdMob’s data slights that of RIM (makers of Blackberry), but even if so, there’s still relevance to be found within AdMob’s numbers, given their wide sampling. Changes within its network can speak to wider industry trends, which is worth examining. Another important item of note is that AdMob was acquired by Google, makers of the Android operating system. The acquisition was announced back in November of 2009, but it took until May for Google to close the deal, due to a pending FTC inquiry into anti-trust matters. The regulatory body unanimously approved the deal in late May, citing Apple’s entry into the mobile ad market industry as evidence of competition. AdMob notes that the majority of the data in the report pre-dates the Google acquisition. Just the HighlightsDisclosure out of the way, here are the latest findings, highlights first:92 countries generated more than 10 million request in May 2010, up from 27 countries in May 2008Nokia leads in Africa, Asia and Eastern EuropeApple leads in North America, Oceania and Western EuropeIn May 2010, smartphones generated 46% of traffic in the AdMob network, up from 22% 2 years ago24% of May’s traffic was via Wi-FiMobile Internet Devices (including the iPad, PSP and iPod Touch) consistently have accounted for 10% of traffic over the past year57% of Apple devices in AdMob’s network are outside the U.S.Traffic from the Android platform has grown 29% month-over-month since May 2009iOS and Android users spend 79 minutes per day using appsiOS and Android users download about 9 apps per month The report also looks at how both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android OS register higher mobile Web and mobile app usage, relevant to their actual market share. Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement While again, AdMob’s numbers are not meant to be definitive, there is a notable trend here – Android is gaining, and gaining fast. Worldwide, however, Apple still dominates while Symbian dominates in particular regions…at least for now. And as of May 2010, 7 of the top 10 smartphones run Android, notes the report. These include the Motorola Droid, HTC Magic, HTC Hero, HTC Dream, Motorola CLIQ, HTC Droid Eris and Samsung Moment. The top smartphone, however, is still Apple’s iPhone. Nokia’s N70 and 6300 have also remained in the list over the past two years. Android Gains Thanks to New DevicesThe introduction of numerous Android-based phones has allowed the mobile OS’s market share to increase dramatically over the past year, AdMob finds. But what’s most interesting is seeing what those gains look like, graphed out. In this chart, for example, you can see a sharp increase in Android’s market share while Apple’s iOS market share drops. In February, Apple appears to have a 50% share, but by May, it’s down to 40% worldwide. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Tags:#Apple#Features#Google#mobile#Trends#web sarah perez Related Posts The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Free to call ourselves Muslim in India, say minority Ahmadiyyas

first_imgTayyab Ali, 92, lies on a rusty cot in a large house with a courtyard full of plants. Clad in an off-white kurta, he peers intently through thick glasses as he says, “I moved here in 1946 to protect our heritage. I am still doing the same thing.”Tayyab Ali Bengali, as he likes to be called, had migrated from what is now Bangladesh. He was one of the 313 Ahmadiyyas who, at the time of the Partition, had chosen to stay back in Qadian in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district. It was here that the sect’s founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, had established a religious community in 1889. The Ahmadiyyas believe that their founder was the “promised messiah” of the Muslims, meant to propagate the teachings of Prophet Mohammad. But the majority Sunni Muslims believe the Prophet to be the last messiah. This fundamental difference in religious belief has meant that the Ahmadiyyas are a persecuted minority in every Islamic state.In Pakistan, where over 4 million Ahmadiyyas reside, an ordinance passed by the government in 1984 declared them as “non-Muslims”. It also made it a criminal offence for members of this community to practise Islam or claim to be Muslims.As for the Ahmadiyyas, they call themselves a “revival movement in Islam”, one that rejects “terrorism” and believes in the “jihad of the pen” as opposed to a “jihad of the sword”.Mr. Ali is proud to be a ‘Darvesh’, the title given to each of the 313 who chose to stay in India after the 1947 Partition, leaving their families in Pakistan. He recalls attending a few sermons given by Ahmadiyya leaders in 1945, after which he decided to join the sect. He moved to Qadian the following year.“My parents were Sunnis. They stopped me but I didn’t listen to them. After Partition, my father sent me a money order and asked me to come back. But I sent the money order back,” he says. He last travelled to see his family over 50 years ago, in what was then East Pakistan, but returned in four days. “The environment was hostile. My parents didn’t treat me well. I came back,” he recalls. In India, he says, he wakes up for fajr, the first of the five prayers through the day, rests, eats, and goes to watch kids play football in the evening.The only tough time, he recalls, was the year following Partition. “We lived like prisoners, with a bare minimum of food, for over a year. We couldn’t get out of Qadian. A year later, I started playing football and volleyball, and that became a reason for me to get out of Qadian sometimes for tournaments,” Mr. Ali says.India’s Ahmadiyya population is about 1.5 lakh, About 6,000 of them live in Qadian in a settlement spread across 1,500 acres. It has a residential colony, two mosques, State board-affiliated schools for both girls and boys, a religious college, a few manufacturing units, including a chapatti-making unit, playgrounds, community halls, and religious monuments.Self-sustaining communityModelled as a self-sustaining township of sorts, the community enjoys its own administration, known as the ‘Secretariat’, with separate departments for expenditure, construction, audit, general affairs, information technology, waseehat and jaidaat. All the department heads are appointed by the ‘Khalifa’, or fifth successor of the founder, Mirza Masroor Ahmad. The Khalifa is based in London, which has now become the headquarters of the community.“Most of the money to run the community comes from donations by our members across the country. A significant part of it is generated by a system wherein those who pledge allegiance to the community donate 10% of their property and monthly salary to the administration,” says Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat’s (AMJ) spokesperson Tariq Ahmed. Many members of the community live in houses owned by the sect, pay a nominal rent, and work at the Secretariat.Nasir Waheed, who handles accounts at the Secretariat, says that he gets a salary of just ₹7,000 a month but is grateful for the peaceful life. “My children study in the community school where the fees are low. And because I work for the community, there are a lot of benefits,” he says, adding that his father was a Darvesh. “He worked for free in the initial years and started with a salary of ₹5”.Mr. Waheed’s wife, Swalehah Waheed (37), says the women are mostly occupied in religious programmes scheduled through the year. The entire settlement is divided into 13 sub-areas, each headed by a woman who is responsible for the ‘religious guidance’ of the women of her subdivision. “They give us books of our Khalifa to read and there are regular discussions around it. Every now and then, religious programmes are organised where women and minor girls share what they have read,” says Ms. Waheed, who has a master’s degree in political science from Panjab University.While there are many like Ms. Waheed, there are also women like Tahira Maqbool. Ms. Maqbool is now an Indian citizen but was a Pakistani until two years ago. The 34-year-old mother of three recalls life back “home” in Faisalabad and the pain of living there.‘Home’ truths “I was born in Faisalabad and stayed there till I got married in 2003. It’ll always be home because I’ve spent my childhood there. But in Pakistan we are treated worse than animals,” she says. Recalling an incident, she describes how her brother was once stopped on the street for particular reason, slapped around, and asked to change his faith.Tehmida (29), also a Pakistani born and brought up in Karachi, got married in India in 2013. She, too, has experienced persecution. “I was a bright student in college and my teachers loved me. But the day they came to know that I was an Ahmadiyya, their attitude towards me changed completely. They even asked me to leave the college. I said I’ll only leave if you make a formal complaint.”Unfortunately, for the married Pakistani women in Qadian, the ordeal doesn’t end even after they leave their home country. In India, life without citizenship is not easy either.“Sometimes, I feel like a prisoner because I have to renew my visa every year. I got married here and my four-year-old son is also an Indian. But I can’t leave Qadian. To travel out of this town, I need a No Objection Certificate from the Indian government. This remains a huge problem,” says Ms. Tehmida, adding that her friends from Pakistan often ask her if she has visited Mumbai or the Taj Mahal. “What could I say?”Slow citizenship process Tears roll down the eyes of Ms. Maqbool as she recalls the time her father passed away, in April 2012. She could not go and see him one last time as she had submitted her passport to the Indian government as part of her citizenship application process. “It is a very slow process,” she says. “I received the citizenship certificate only in April 2016.” Rukaiyya Khalam (52), from Pakistan’s Rabwah, has a similar story. She came to India in 1994 and started her citizenship process right then. “My mother passed away in 1996. But there is a requirement that in order to get citizenship, I should not leave India for seven years after I come here. So I didn’t go. Now, more than 20 years later, I am still not an Indian national,” she says.Ms. Tehmida, however, is happy in one respect. “I am free to practise my beliefs the way I want”.Mr. Ahmed, too, dwells on the relief in being able to freely call oneself a Muslim.In September, the Pakistani government had removed Princeton economist Atif Mian, an Ahmadiyya, from the newly set up Economic Advisory Council because of opposition from the Sunni majority. “In Pakistan, we can’t keep the Koran. We can’t celebrate Id. We can’t publish any of our books or periodicals. We can’t greet with Assalamu alaikum. There is not a single month when our people are not martyred. How would they accept one of us in the national Economic Advisory Council? India and most of the 211 other countries where our people live are extremely tolerant in this matter as compared to Pakistan,” he says.Members of the community say that they can lead a normal life In India, like any other Muslim, so long as they don’t show that they’re Ahmadiyya. Mansoor Ahmad, a local who often visits his relatives in Delhi, says that his nieces and nephews go to a private college and none of their friends really care what community they are from. “But it’s not always like this. There have been instances when hardliners in Ludhiana have created a ruckus because of our presence during religious programmes. But even on those occasions things never escalated to violence,” he says.last_img read more