Redknapp keeps the faith

first_img Bottom-placed Rangers are now seven points adrift of the Barclays Premier League safety zone after Christian Benteke’s 17th goal of the season finally settled a see-saw game in Villa’s favour. Redknapp said: “If we had come in 4-0 up at half-time it would have been about right, wouldn’t it? That’s the best I’ve seen us play during that first half. It was so one-sided, it was unbelievable for an away team to dominate like that. But they got a lift from the equaliser after being absolutely awful first half and probably couldn’t believe their luck.” QPR boss Harry Redknapp is refusing to give up hope of escaping relegation despite suffering a damaging 3-2 defeat at fellow strugglers Aston Villa. He added: “That goal knocked us for six. I’m upset for the lads. I thought they played so well and we should have taken a point at 2-2 but then we gave a way a bad goal.” Rangers dominated the opening 45 minutes and deservedly led through Jermaine Jenas with only a string of fine saves from Villa keeper Brad Guzan keeping the home side in contention. But Paul Lambert’s side equalised on the stroke of half-time through Gabriel Agbonlahor and went ahead through Andreas Weimann and, after Andros Townsend made it 2-2, Benteke struck the decider. Redknapp is refusing to throw in the towel in the battle for survival, and he added: “We’ve got to keep going. We can’t go home and feel sorry. It’s going to be hard but there are still eight games to go. If we keep playing well, we can win four or five games. “We’re probably looking at four wins and two draws. It’s going to be hard but it’s not impossible. I’m not giving up. We’ve still got to keep going.” Villa boss Lambert was elated after the midlands club achieved back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time in nearly two years, and he said: “Guzan has made three world-class saves and I will reiterate what I said before, that I wouldn’t swap him for anyone. “But I thought we passed the ball well and the goal rocked us. It will rock an experienced team when you lose a goal, not just a young team. But credit the team, we scored right at the death of the first half and after that we were exceptional.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

O’Connell is best Matfield’s faced

first_img Veteran lock Matfield admitted boss Heyneke Meyer’s side must be wary of Ireland’s lineout and driving maul in Saturday’s autumn Test at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium. The 37-year-old Springbok retired after the 2011 World Cup, but was enticed back after a two-year break, since returning to action for both club and country. Blue Bulls second row Matfield believes Munster enforcer O’Connell will once again prove central to Ireland’s tight work, under new forwards coach Simon Easterby. “I think he (O’Connell) is a fantastic player, I think he’s probably the best player I’ve played against in my career,” said Matfield. “He is also a student of the lineout. “You can see he puts in a lot of hours in analysing, preparing and getting his whole unit ready for the weekend. “So it is always tough going up against him.” Ireland are missing pack mainstays Cian Healy and Sean O’Brien to long-term injury, with the fast-improving Marty Moore also absent and Mike Ross battling to be fit for the weekend. O’Connell and Devin Toner are Ireland’s shoo-in starting locks, with Iain Henderson and Dan Tuohy sidelined. Head coach Joe Schmidt must also do without prop Nathan White, who was in line for his debut but damaged a biceps tendon in training. Springboks talisman Victor Matfield has hailed Ireland captain Paul O’Connell as “the best player I’ve played against”. Matfield drew on all his 117-cap experience in predicting a gritty tussle up front with Ireland, despite Saturday’s hosts clear injury issues. The wily operator also launched the first charm offensive towards French referee Romain Poite, who will officiate the weekend’s Test clash. Last season opponents often questioned the legality of Ireland’s highly-effective tactics at stopping rolling mauls. Former forwards coach John Plumtree whipped Ireland’s pack into accurate shape in diffusing opposition mauls, with officials mainly judging them the right side of the laws. Matfield picked up that theme in making an early call for the Springboks to take care to be water-tight with their own driving game. “I also think when Gert Smal (ex-Ireland forwards’ coach) was here he gave a lot of insight into how I think about the lineout to Paul, so it makes it more difficult,” said Matfield. “It is always a great battle against him and he has some great jumpers with him in that unit so we know it’s going to be very tough. “Like I said, we know we have to be accurate in what we do because they will definitely put pressure on us. “The rolling maul is very important to us: looking at them as well, they were very successful in sacking the maul during the Six Nations, especially. “They stopped it very well, so we know we need to do our things right and hopefully the referee (Romain Poite) will be very strict on how to stop the maul. “If we do our things right it is a lot easier for the ref to see if they are stopping the maul legally or not. “It’s important for us to get our set-up right, to get it started and from then it is easier.” Press Associationlast_img read more

YMCA Gymnastics Championships Coming to Ellsworth

first_img Bio ELLSWORTH — More than 250 young gymnasts will be on hand at Ellsworth High School this weekend for the 2009 YMCA Pine Tree Gymnastics League State Championships. The competition, for Levels 4 through 9, will include three sessions on Saturday and two on Sunday.Admission is free to the public for all sessions, and food concessions will be available at the school on both days.In addition to the host team, representing the James Russell Wiggins Down East Family YMCA, there will be squads from Mount Desert Island, Waterville, Bangor, Old Town/Orono, Bath, Auburn/Lewiston, Rumford, Central Lincoln County and Oxford Hills.Some of the teams will be staying over on Saturday night and rooms have been reserved at Ellsworth’s Holiday Inn and Comfort Inn.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textThe competition will open for Level 5 gymnasts with march-in at 10 a.m. and the awards presentation at noon.The second session, for Level 6 and Prep-Op gymnasts, begins at 2 p.m. with awards at 3:30 p.m.Levels 7-9 will compete starting at 5:30 p.m. with awards at 7 p.m.On Sunday, the event will continue with Level 4 competition.Ages 7, 8, 9A, 12 and 13 and over will lead off at 10 a.m. with awards at noon, and ages 9B, 10 and 11 will wrap up the championship event starting at 2 p.m. with awards at 3:30 p.m. For more sports stories, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American. Latest Posts Hancock County Court News Nov. 3 thorugh Dec. 11 – January 22, 2015 Latest posts by admin (see all)center_img State budget vs. job creation – January 22, 2015 admin House fire in Winter Harbor – October 27, 2014last_img read more

Cricket News Virat Kohli will emerge as the greatest cricketer of all time, says Kumar Sangakkara

first_imghighlights Virat Kohli will emerge as one of the greatest cricketers of all time believes Kumar Sangakkara. Australia’s tour of India starts on 24th February. Mahela Jayawardene lauds Virat Kohli for absorbing the pressure of 1.3 billion. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. Kumar Sangakkara’s former teammate Mahela Jayawardene also lauded run-machine Kohli and praised his skills to absorb the pressure of 1.3 billion Indians’ expectations. “It’s not just about the ability Virat has but to understand the way to handle pressure not just on the field but also off the field and the expectations,” said the former Sri Lanka captain.”We grew up with Sachin who had to perhaps experience the same thing. And for the next generation, it’s probably on Virat’s shoulders.” Jayawardene said.Virat Kohli will now be seen in action against the men-in-yellow who are all set to touch Indian soil for two T20 Internationals, followed by five-match ODI series. Further, the series against Australia will be India’s last International assignment before the start of the World Cup.  New Delhi: Seldom we an individual blend dedication and grit, eventually epitomizing the facet named perfection in the most beautiful way possible. Every time Virat Kohli steps on to the ground, it seems as if the national crest is imbibed on his chest. And it wouldn’t be wrong to say that even the greatest of statistician must have struggled to suggest the times the 30-year-old has helped to turn the jaws of defeat into the pride of victory. The batting sensation of Sri Lanka, Kumar Sangakkara has once again rated him heavily. Kumar Sangakkara believes that Virat Kohli is way ahead of his contemporaries and destined for greatness. Virat had a memorable 2018 as he churned runs and tons in almost every series.Speaking to a news channel, he extensively praised Indian skipper and said, “Everything about Virat’s game stands out. I think he is head and shoulders above anyone else in world cricket today.”“And I think going forward, he will be one of the greatest ever cricketers, if not the greatest ever,” he added. “He has this incredible knack of scoring runs and has a very, very solid method that he believes in. If you see the tempo which he bats with, it hardly changes. He does read the situation very well.”He is a very passionate guy; you see that in his expressions on the field… it’s the overall aspect of both the person and how he has sorted his batting and his attitude.”last_img read more

Football News Lazio win vs AC Milan in Coppa Italia overshadowed by racist chants and pro-Benito Mussolini banner

first_imghighlights Lazio’s supporters have a history of hard right-wing politics and hatred.Authorities reportedly identified 22 people responsible for the Mussolini banner.Video of racist chants directed at Frenchman Bakayoko by a group of Lazio fans also emerged. New Delhi: Lazio attacked the media’s “simplistic tendency” to blame all the club’s fans for neo-fascist incidents after a pro-Mussolini banner was displayed before repeated racist chants were reportedly heard during Wednesday’s Coppa Italia game against AC Milan. Their faces masked by a long banner reading “Honour to Benito Mussolini”, the group sang fascist songs and performed the Nazi salute near the city’s Piazza Loreto, where the defeated dictator’s body was strung up in 1945, the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper reported.    A short video circulating on social media showed the group holding up the banner, signed ‘IRR’ in a reference to the Irriducibili — Lazio’s hardcore ‘ultra’ supporters who have a long history of hard-right politics. Lazio’s 1-0 win was then overshadowed by the racist abuse of Milan players Tiemoue Bakayoko and Franck Kessie.RELATED    “SS Lazio clearly distances ourselves from behaviour and demonstrations that do not in any way correspond to the values of the sport that this club has promoted and supported for 119 years,” the club said in a statement. “Lazio also reject and contest the simplistic tendency of the media to consider the entire Lazio fanbase responsible for the actions of a few isolated elements, for motivation that has nothing to do with a passion for the sport. The club has always fought for the respect of law and fairness in behaviour.” Authorities reportedly identified 22 people responsible for the Mussolini banner. The Serie A clash between Milan and Lazio at the San Siro earlier this month finished with Milan 1-0 winners and scuffles on the pitch after the home players held up the shirt of Lazio player Francesco Acerbi to their own fans like a trophy.Milan midfielders Bakayoko and Kessie were fined a total of 86,000 euros for the incident.    Meanwhile, a video of racist chants directed at Frenchman Bakayoko by a group of Lazio fans before the game also circulated on social media. Italian football has struggled to prevent racist chanting this season.    Earlier this month, Juventus youngster Moise Kean was racially abused in a game at Cagliari, with his teammate Leonardo Bonucci widely condemned for then saying it was partly the striker’s fault. Italy’s national team coach Roberto Mancini was among those to then call on authorities to clamp down on racism.    Milan’s mayor Giuseppe Sala insisted the northern Italian metropolis “is and will remain forever a profoundly anti-fascist city”. Italy’s interior minister Matteo Salvini condemned the incident. “No tolerance for any form of violence, physical or verbal. I thank the police who are following the incident carefully. Football must be an occasion of celebration and communion, not for fighting or confrontation,” Salvini, an AC Milan fan, said on Twitter.    In Italy “apology for fascism” is a crime, but some cases have been thrown out in recent years on freedom of speech grounds.center_img For all the Latest Sports News News, Football News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

Guinness ‘Cage Football Championship’ kicks off tonight

first_img… 32 teams to battle in inaugural tournamentTHIRTY-TWO teams, drawn from as far as Linden, will battle in the inaugural Guinness Cage Football Championship, which will kick off tonight at the National Gymnasium.The tournament which was officially launched yesterday at the Windjammer International Hotel in Kitty, Georgetown, will see teams battle for the winner’s purse of $400 000 and will be played on August 24, 29, 31, as well as September 2, 5, 7, 9 and the grand finale on September 16.Second-place team will pocket $200 000, and the third- and fourth-place finishers will collect $100 000 and $50 000 respectively as well as trophies.On the individual side, the Most Valuable Player (MVP) will receive a gold chain from YK Investments and Pawn Shop and a trophy, compliments of Trophy Stall.Rawle Welch, one of the organisers of Three Peat Promotions, stated “the tournament was conceptualised months earlier between myself and colleagues and it was readily accepted, following our proposal to Banks DIH Limited. We are very pleased to have such a large company like Banks DIH Limited on board.”Welch, a veteran award-winning Sports Journalist, further added, “It has been an arduous process to get to where we are, but I expect the tournament to be a success and I can assure the management of the National Sports Commission (NSC) that all conditions will be met.“I implore all the fans to be on their best behaviour, which is very often, as it is getting more difficult to gain access to the venues and the support of the necessary stakeholders to stage such tournaments. We have to work together to make the event a tremendous success so it can continue next year,” Welch said.Gervy Harry, Administrative Manager of the National Sports Commission (NSC), asked the organisers, spectators and the competing teams to practise discipline throughout the tournament, as sanctions can be enforced for misconduct.In the first two playing nights (August 24 and 29), the teams will play in a ‘win or go home’ format, after which, the remaining 16 teams will be divided into groups of four, after which, the top two teams from each group will advance.The teams will play two segments of ten minutes each, with the ball only being considered dead when it goes over the ‘wall’. Until the quarter-finals, all matches will be decided by kicks from the penalty spot if both sides are even on the score sheets.Elimination FixturesThursday – August 24Broad Street vs Old School Ballers – 19:00hrsBent Street vs Hustlers – 19:30hrsLeopold Street vs Plaisance – 20:00hrsDave and Celena vs Pike Street Sophia – 20:30hrsNorth East vs Mocha – 21:00hrsTiger Bay vs Silver Bullets – 21:30hrsAlbouystown-A vs Alexander Village – 22:00hrsFuture Stars vs Agricola Gas Team – 22:30hrsTuesday – August 29Sophia vs MBK All Stars – 19:00hrsWest Back Road vs Albouystown-B – 19:30hrsTucville vs Showstoppers – 20:00hrsNorth Ruimveldt vs Melanie – 20:30hrsChampion Boys vs Channel 9 Warriors – 21:00hrsGold is Money vs Campbellville – 21:30hrsBack Circle vs New Market Street – 22:00hrsSparta vs Vryheid’s Lust – 22:30hrslast_img read more

Men’s soccer: Finally, a point at home for Wisconsin

first_imgWisconsin men’s soccer held on for long enough and finally got their first point at home with a tie against Michigan State Saturday night at McClimon Complex. The game went to extra time but was unable to reach a resolution, finishing in a scoreless tie after 110 minutes.The tie moves the Badgers (2-8-2) to 1-1-2 in the Big Ten and keeps them tied with the Spartans (5-4-2) in the conference standings. Now 0-6-1 at home, Wisconsin gets rid of the monkey on their back from losing every match at home this year, but still chases that allusive win at McClimon.The first half was very reflective of most of the game. Few shots were recorded and neither team truly stuck their neck out as the better team. Wisconsin came out with probably their biggest push of the game with two close headers that skimmed by the post, making it seem like the Badgers might notch an early goal.The Spartans would produce their own opportunities midway through the half with several headers that Wisconsin goalie Adrian Remeniuk was just able to tap out of bounds. The rest of the half remained relatively slow-paced and left the Badgers with yet another half to win at home.The second half wasn’t much different. No shots were recorded in the first 20 minutes and both teams made late substitutions to counteract the slow pace. A few opportunities appeared in the waning minutes for the Badgers, but did not result in any concrete attempts. A few missed shots by both teams in the final regulation minutes and overtime would close the defensively dominated game at 0-0.“That was a good, tough team in Michigan State,” Wisconsin head coach John Trask said. “Neither team had the quality at the end of the day to score the game-winning goal. There was a couple of moments in overtime I thought we had a chance to score, but a draw is probably the right result.”Trask said he was pleased with the way the team competed with some of the excellent Spartan forwards, adding any tie in the Big Ten is always hard-earned. He said the game was ultimately a true dogfight and their defense did a good job of giving their offense a chance to win throughout the long game.Sam Brotherton was among the string of great performances on the defensive line. The New Zealand native has been a consistent force throughout the season for the Badgers and proved his methodical dominance Saturday, winning almost every header and blanketing several promising attempts by the Spartans late in the game to secure the tie. He leads a young defense that is coming into its own as the year progresses.“It would be easy for a team where we are to say this isn’t our season,” Trask said. “I think our guys still believe there’s something definitely to play for this year.”last_img read more

Football: Badgers at disadvantage among other football programs

first_imgTake a look at the ESPN 300 for the 2020 high school senior class of football players. Up and down the list, players are almost exclusively committing to major programs like Alabama, Clemson, LSU and Georgia.Top recruits — especially from the South where elite skill position players are found — don’t want to play in the cold of a Midwestern winter. If they are willing to bundle up, they choose storied programs like The Ohio State University, Michigan or Notre Dame. The Wisconsin Badgers fall just short of that “storied” label. We have plenty of history, but there’s just something missing.It’s been that way for years now, and it’s part of the reason the Badgers are forced to play a slowed down, old-fashioned style of football we’re going to call “dinoball.” So don’t go blaming Head Coach Paul Chryst every time you think we should throw but instead run up the gut.The style of play also ties in, at least in part, to the level of talent throughout Wisconsin’s high schools. Each year the state produces at least a few high-major, sometimes even elite, offensive linemen. For decades the Badgers have capitalized on being the state’s only NCAA Division 1 program.Football: Badgers forfeit CFP hopes, Big Ten landscape remains openFor the Badgers, taking down the undefeated The Ohio State University not once but twice was their last shot at Read…Joe Thomas, Travis Frederick, Ryan Ramczyk, Rick Wagner, Kevin Zeitler, Peter Konz, Kraig Urbik — the list of in-state lineman who became Badgers and later made the NFL literally feels endless. It’s entirely possible I missed a few all-time greats, and that just goes to show the depth of linemen in the state.With that in mind, it’s easy to see why Wisconsin’s next best position seems to always be running back. Chryst can essentially guarantee wide-open running holes and therefore opportunities to make plays to any tailback he’s trying to convince to come to the University of Wisconsin.Having players like Melvin Gordon, Ron Dayne, Montee Ball, John Clay and now Jonathan Taylor has built up a culture at UW that ultimately helps in the recruiting process. Wisconsin is one of a few schools that truly has a claim at “RBU.”While Chryst relies on his running game to fuel long, sustainable drives, high powered offenses across the country are throwing the ball around all game. Inherently they’re taking risks, but ultimately making game-changing, momentum-swinging plays.Football: Chase Young, Buckeye defense likely rob Jonathan Taylor of Heisman hopesIn order to win a trophy which has slowly become an award for college football’s best quarterback, Jonathan Taylor was Read…The question is, which offensive style wins football games? Over the past couple of seasons, losses in big matchups with Ohio, Michigan and Penn State have proven you need to take some chances to win at the highest level.And, in the end, that comes down to the quarterback. We’ve all had moments begging Chryst to take a shot and he runs it up the middle. But if you don’t trust the man under center, what’s the point in taking those shots?Jack Coan has played well, and he’s undoubtedly closer to what a championship team needs than Alex Hornibrook or Joel Stave ever were. But still, he’s not the guy who’s going to come in and change the Badgers’ offense enough to make it unpredictable.That’s why Badger fans got so excited to land freshman Graham Mertz this year. The four-star Kansas product has been hailed as the best QB to come here since Russell Wilson, so people were stunned to hear Coan would be starting this year.Football: Ohio State rolls over Wisconsin in Columbus, ruins Badgers’ hopes for CFPThe University of Wisconsin men’s football team (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) lost to The Ohio State University Buckeyes (8-0, 5-0) Read…Chryst got on Mertz early, securing a commitment when he was just a junior in high school. Not too long after, top-tier offers from those same programs mentioned earlier started rolling in.It seemed like every day on Twitter, Mertz was announcing he had a brand new offer from the likes of Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney. Badger fans everywhere held their breath all the way to Dec. 19 of last year, when it became official that Mertz would be a Badger.His case is a great example of why Wisconsin needs to recruit proactively and take risks if they want to land elite talent. But until he shows he’s ready to start in the Big Ten and earns that nod from the coaching staff, fans are going to have to be content with dinoball.Football: Badgers face critical five-game stretch to close seasonLast year’s 8-5 record was anything but indicative of what this year’s edition of the Badger football team is capable Read…Maybe that will be next year, who knows. With Jonathon Taylor likely gone to the NFL after this season, Mertz may very well get a chance to prove he can come in and change the culture at UW.The Badgers are storied when it comes to the running game, but that won’t land you quarterbacks and wide receivers. Hopefully, Mertz can turn it around. It’d be great to feel comfortable throwing on third and five.But he might not be what we all hyped him up to be, so Wisconsin fans everywhere need to be ready to watch more ground-and-pound, dinoball football for years to come.last_img read more

Confederations Cup: A Tournament of Champions

first_imgThe FIFA Confederations Cup is also known as the tournament of champions-as all the continents’ winners are represented. The tournament being the second most recognised FIFA Tournament after the FIFA World Cup kicks off tomorrow in Russia. Below is a preview of all the participating teamsTraditionally a dry run ahead of the World Cup, the Confederations Cup has developed its own history through the years. Indeed, as the 10th edition approaches, one of its quirks is that no team that has won the Confederations Cup has gone on to win the World Cup a year later.Ironically, defending champions Brazil haven’t qualified for the eight-team tournament, which sees host Russia joined by the six winners of the FIFA confederation championships plus World Cup champions, Germany.The matches will be played in four different venues in four major Russian cities: Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan and Sochi. In the group stage, starting this weekend, each team will play three games in a group of four, with the winners and runners-up from each group advancing to the knockouts. In the next stage, matches will be on a straight knockout basis, played as semifinals, and ending with the final match on July 2. RussiaHow they qualified:  Russia qualified by virtue of being  hosts of the 2018 World Cup next summer.FIFA ranking: 64Star player: Igor Akinfeev – Captain and goalkeeper is a fine shot-stopper and the main man for the hosts.One to watch: Aleksandr Golovin – CSKA Moscow midfielder is being tracked by Arsenal and has the attributes to make the step up.Manager: Stanislav Cherchesov – Vastly experienced coach has been in charge for less than a year and has been set a target of reaching the 2018 World Cup semifinals. A very, very tough task.Chance of winning: 20% – The hosts may do better than most expect, but getting out of this group as one of the top two is still a struggle. New ZealandHow they qualified: They beat Papa New Guinea on penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw in the 2016 OFC Nations Cup Final.FIFA ranking: 95Star player: Chris Wood – Top scorer in England’s second-tier at Leeds United, the powerful forward could be set for a move to the PL. A proper handful. 19 goals in 49 games for the All Whites.One to watch: Ryan Thomas – He plays for PEC Zwolle in Holland and is a creative, fast attacking player who should supply Wood with plenty of chances.Manager: Anthony Hudson – Young English coach has long been lauded as one of the brightest in the game. Just 36 years old, this could be his big moment but New Zealand are the heavy underdogs.Chance of winning: 5% – Tough to see them getting out of this group, especially without the injury Winston Reid. Portugal How they qualified: Through their shock win at EURO 2016 last summer, their first-ever major trophy.FIFA ranking: 8Star player: Cristiano Ronaldo – Yeah, not a surprise. After leading Real Madrid to back-to-back Champions League titles, a La Liga crown and a EURO 2016 title with Portugal in the past 12 months, Ronaldo is hungry for more goals and glory.One to watch: Andre Silva – After completing his big money move to AC Milan, Silva is ready to shine. He has seven goals in eight games for Portugal.Manager: Fernando Santos – Experienced Portuguese boss who led the team to a superb defensive display at EURO 2016.Chance of winning: 40% – Will progress from the group easily. Mexico     How they qualified: By winning the 2015 Gold Cup they had a one-off CONCACAF Cup game against the USA (2013 Gold Cup winners) in November 2015 which they won 3-2 after extra time, thus making them champs of CONCACAF and sealing a Confederations Cup spot.FIFA ranking: 14Star player: Hector Herrera – Seems to get better each and every year and he will drive El Tri on from midfield.One to watch: Hirving Lozano – Man City are rumored to be interested in signing the youngster and if the winger has a fine tournament, plenty more top clubs in Europe will take a chance on his mercurial talents.Manager: Juan Carlos Osorio – Meticulous and disciplined, Osorio will make Mexico tough to beat and they have the attacking talent to counter quickly.Chance of winning: 30% – Should progress from the group, then anything else is a bonus. CameroonHow they qualified: By winning the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, beating Egypt 2-1 in the final.FIFA ranking: 32Star player: Vincent Aboubakar – Besiktas striker scored the winner in the AFCON final and has 16 goals in 56 games. Bags of pace and experience.One to watch: Fabrice Ondoa – Goalkeeper is just 21 years old but already has 31 caps to his name. A real star for the future.Manager: Hugo Broos – Experienced Belgian manager who led the Indomitable Lions to success at AFCON 2017.Chance of winning: 30% – They will do well to get out of this group but if they do they can keep things tight and cause a few upsets. Darkhorse. ChileHow they qualified: Winning 2015 Copa American on home soil by beating Argentina on penalty kicks in Santiago. Adding the Copa America Centenario for good measure  in 2016 too.FIFA ranking: 4Star player: Alexis Sanchez – One of the top forwards in the world right now, scored 24 goals and added 10 assists in the PL for Arsenal. A wanted man who will put on a show to drive up his wages and transfer fee. Just watch.One to watch: Not exactly an up and coming star, but Marcelo Diaz is so often overlooked while Sanchez, Vidal, Bravo and Medel steal the limelight. Diaz holds everything together.Manager: Juan Antonio Pizzi – Former Spanish international has had ups and downs but his team are dynamic and experienced. If they qualify for the World Cup next summer (slight qualifying struggles continue) they may be among the favorites.Chance of winning: 60% – Clear favorites for this tournament after Germany sent a young, inexperienced squad.AustraliaHow they qualified: Winning the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, beating South Korea 2-1 in extra time in 2015.FIFA ranking: 48Star player: Tim Cahill – Okay, he’s 37 years old but Cahill still comes up with the goods when the Socceroos need him. 48 goals in 96 games.One to watch: Aaron Mooy – An absolute beast in Huddersfield’s promotion push. Man City man will likely have plenty of loan offers in the PL this summer. Energetic and creative midfielder.Manager: Angelos Postecoglou – In charge of Australia for almost four years, Postecoglou has built a solid core which has taken the AFC by storm.Chance of winning: 10% – Will struggle to progress from the group.GermanyHow they qualified: By winning the 2014 World Cup.FIFA ranking: 3Star player: Julian Draxler – Named captain of this young German squad, the PSG attacker will be the go-to guy for Die Mannschaft.One to watch: Sandro Wagner – Three goals in two games for Germany say it all. Wagner is looking to continue his fine season after helping Hoffenheim finish fourth in the Bundesliga.Manager: Joachim Low – A really intriguing squad selection from Low who has left Ozil, Kroos, Muller, Neuer, Hummels, Boateng and many more experienced players at home. Time to see if his next crops of youngster have what it takes.Chance of winning: 50% – Will progress from the group and this young German team will gain valuable experience from a big clash with Portugal or Mexico in the semifinals.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more