Book of Condolence in memory of George Floyd opened by Limerick…

first_imgLinkedin An online book of condolences in memory of George Floyd, whose death in the USA last month sparked protests across the world, has been opened by the Mayor of Limerick.Cllr Michael Sheahan opened the book yesterday evening, as protests calling for police reform, and highlighting the mistreatment of black people by cops continued across the world 15 days since Mr Floyd was killed.A video appearing to show a police officer kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while he called out for help and said he couldn’t breathe, led to the officer’s sacking and subsequent charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter being brought against him.Three other arresting officers were charged with aiding and abetting murder.“I have opened this book of condolence to allow the people of Limerick to express their sympathies to the family of Mr Floyd and to stand in solidarity with the people who are appalled by his murder,” said Mayor Sheahan.“The George Floyd has shocked the entire world and shone a spotlight on the ongoing issues with race in the United States and as a consequence around the world.”Mayor Sheahan continued that the book of condolence was to show “our support for the millions of peaceful protestors in Ireland, America and across the world against racial injustice”.A Black Lives Matter protest took place in Limerick last weekend.Around 300 protestors of all races joined together in one voice to call out racism and violence towards black people.Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Limerick book of condolence is available only online to allow people “to express their sympathies to his family and to stand in solidarity with those who are appalled by his murder, and who are opposing racial injustice around the world”, stated Limerick City and County Council.The book a which is available on the Councils website (, will remain open until 16 June 2020.This book will then be forwarded to the US Embassy in Dublin. Print Limerick on Covid watch list Twitter Housing 37 Compulsory Purchase Orders issued as council takes action on derelict sites WhatsApp NewsCommunityBook of Condolence in memory of George Floyd opened by Limerick MayorBy David Raleigh – June 10, 2020 198 Advertisement Shannon Airport braced for a devastating blow center_img Facebook RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Local backlash over Aer Lingus threat Vicky calls for right to die with dignity TAGSblack lives matterCommunityNews Email Population of Mid West region increased by more than 3,000 in past year Previous article‘Contact and Collect’ service available at four of Limerick’s libraries from todayNext articleMan arrested following attempted burglary in Limerick City David Raleigh last_img read more

UK health insurer transfers £20m DB scheme to master trust

first_imgTPT Retirement Solutions runs a consolidation vehicle for DB and defined contribution (DC) schemes, with the vast majority of its £10bn assets in the DB master trust.The Medicash transfer comes after TPT took on the £220m DB scheme of Coventry Building Society, the UK’s second largest building society, in June.At the time Mike Ramsey, CEO of TPT Retirement Solutions, said a number of other schemes were looking to join.Commenting on the Medicash transfer, he said in the past year a “wide variety” of schemes had transferred to TPT.“Looking forward many more are expected to join TPT as increasing regulation, complexity and the need to run schemes more effectively, encourage scheme sponsors and trustees to review the best way to deliver on their financial obligations to members,” he added.In May Hinckley & Rugby Building Society completed the transfer of its closed £30m scheme to TPT’s DB master trust arrangement.Trustees and sponsors of UK DB pension schemes also have the option of pursuing consolidation via two new entities in the market, Clara Pensions and Pension SuperFund. The latter last month said it had signed up its second client, a £300m scheme, in its second deal since opening for business last year.Health cash plans are insurance packages that provide cash back towards policyholders’ healthcare bills as well as providing cover for medical treatment. Further readingPension SuperFund signs up second client in £300m dealUK regulator toughens stance on poorly performing pension schemesHow We Run Our Money: TPT Retirement Solutions Medicash, a UK not-for-profit health insurer, has transferred its £20m (€21.5m) defined benefit (DB) scheme to TPT Retirement Solutions’ DB master trust. The Medicash scheme has around 174 members.Sue Weir, CEO of the Liverpool-based health cash plan provider, said the benefits of a DB master trust “can be attractive for schemes with less than £1bn under management”.“The transfer will improve the security of our members’ benefits by enhancing the scheme’s governance, gain access to a more diversified range of assets […], reduce running costs and ensure our members will continue to be well looked after,” she said.last_img read more

Video: Boeheim, Triche, Southerland discuss Syracuse’s victory over Pittsburgh in Big East tournament

first_img Published on March 15, 2013 at 12:54 am Facebook Twitter Google+ Commentslast_img

Neville critical of Conte after Chelsea defeat

first_imgEmbed from Getty ImagesGary Neville has criticised Antonio Conte following Chelsea’s defeat against Manchester United.The Blues’ 2-0 loss at Old Trafford meant they remain just four points clear of second-placed Tottenham at the top of the Premier League.Speaking on Sky, Chelsea legend Frank Lampard said he saw an “element of doubt” in Conte’s players as they were beaten for the second time in four matches.And former United defender Neville noted that boss Conte was unusually subdued on the touchline as his team produced a below-par display.Neville said: “Chelsea didn’t turn up. Where was Conte today, the manager?“You talk about the players, but the manager has been so active on the touchline all season you expect him to get them going – him to be raging on the touchline.“He seemed subdued today and as though he lacked belief. Chelsea didn’t turn up but United were fantastic.”See also:Man Utd v Chelsea player ratingsLampard saw ‘element of doubt’ in Chelsea   Ads by Revcontent Trending Articles Urologists: Men, Forget the Blue Pill! This “Destroys” ED x ‘Genius Pill’ Used By Rich Americans Now Available In Netherlands! x What She Did to Lose Weight Stuns Doctors: Do This Daily Before Bed! x Men, You Don’t Need the Blue Pill if You Do This x One Cup of This (Before Bed) Burns Belly Fat Like Crazy! x Drink This Before Bed, Watch Your Body Fat Melt Like Crazy x Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Jurassic “Beaver” Raises Fur

first_imgAnother mammal has been found smack in the middle of the age of dinosaurs.  Science reported the discovery of Castorocauda lutrasimilis, an aquatic mammal about 17” long, found in China and dated according to evolutionary reckoning to 164 million years old – some 40 million years older than the previous record holder (see also 04/01/2005 and 01/12/2005 finds).  Though not a beaver (perhaps more like a platypus or echidna), it resembled beavers and otters in several ways, including having webbed feet and a flattened tail with various grades of real mammal fur.  It’s name means “beavertailed otter-like” animal.  The discoverers, Qiang Ji et al.,1 were amazed to find soft-tissue features, including webbing between toes, carbonized underfur and fur impressions.  This pushes back the origin of fur by millions of years.    Thomas Martin put this find in context with other known mammal kin,2 and delineated the “unexpected diversity” of Jurassic and Cretaceous mammals.  Not too long ago, TV documentaries were portraying even Cretaceous-era mammals as little shrew-size wimps scurrying underfoot the ruling dinosaurs.  The aquatic adaptations of Castorocauda demonstrates that land mammals were already diverse and well-adapted to a wide variety of habitats.  This implies that any common ancestor has to be pushed farther back in the evolutionary tale.    The story was picked up by MSNBC News, which said this fossil “overturns ideas about mammals’ lowly status in dinosaur era,” and by National Geographic, which said this “rewrites the history of mammals.”  Finding fur and soft tissues on a mammal assumed this old clearly astonished all the reporters and experts.1Ji et al., “A Swimming Mammaliaform from the Middle Jurassic and Ecomorphological Diversification of Early Mammals,” Science, 24 February 2006: Vol. 311. no. 5764, pp. 1123 – 1127, DOI: 10.1126/science.1123026.2Thomas Martin, “Early Mammalian Evolutionary Experiments,” Science, 24 February 2006: Vol. 311. no. 5764, pp. 1109 – 1110, DOI: 10.1126/science.1124294.How many anomalies like this is it going to take?  This completely-unexpected find pushes the evolutionary ancestry tale and timeline to the breaking point.  Imagine finding a good-sized, well-adapted, aquatic mammal way back in the mid-Jurassic.  You didn’t see these in Jurassic Park.  LiveScience and the other Charlie-worshipping news outlets expect us to believe that this pushes back the origin of aquatic mammals 100 million years.  How can you believe that?  This critter pops out of nowhere, goes extinct, and a hundred million years later, the Beav pops up out of nowhere?  LieScience also claims this animal was not a monotreme or a beaver, but a close relative, and achieved its lifestyle adaptations by “convergent evolution”.  When are people going to get sick and tired of these cop-out excuses?    Darwin defenders have long claimed that it would be easy to falsify evolution: just show a vertebrate in the Cambrian.  So we did.  Or find a mammal in the Cambrian.  We’re getting close.  There have been a steady stream of discoveries that have push advanced life-forms farther back in time (e.g., next story), meaning that mucho evolution had to take place in poco tiempo.  At the other end, the Cambrian explosion (02/14/2006) with its sudden emergence of all the major body plans in the blink of a geologic eye has gotten tighter.  These problems arise even assuming the geologic timetable.  Now, mix in the discovery of flexible, soft tissues in as much as half the dinosaur bones found (see 02/22/2006) and the Darwin storytelling machine is pushing past the red line.    Adding to the crisis from another angle, consider the situation in planetary science.  At a public lecture at JPL today, the speaker described the huge puzzle of supersonic winds on Venus (driven probably by active volcanoes), and the completely unexpected discovery of water geysers on Enceladus (see 11/28/2005) – impossible to maintain for billions of years.  He had no answers.  He stressed how baffling Enceladus is in particular, because scientists can’t invoke tidal flexing or any of the other tricks used to explain Io’s volcanoes.  These are just two samples among a number of recent anomalies that have scientists scratching their heads and scrambling to explain things that, in an old solar system, simply cannot be.    These problems each stem from trusting in a timeline that is no longer plausible.  Lyell, the lawyer, was wrong about his quasi-eternal, steady-state earth.  Like the other Charlie, he is dead, and the ideas of both of them have outlived their 15 decades of fame.  Let them rest in peace, and let’s move on.  Who in the science community will be first to state the obvious?  That fur is not 164 million years old, and neither are those blood vessels in the dinosaur bones, or those geysers on Enceladus.  They look young because they are.(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Lafarge to merge South Africa, Nigeria units

first_imgFrench cement maker Lafarge will combine its South Africa business with publicly traded Nigerian unit Lafarge Wapco, listing its Africa interests together on the Lagos bourse, the company said in a statement yesterday. The new company will be known as Lafarge Africa and will have a market capitalisation of more than $3-billion. Lafarge group will own 73% of the combined entity. It will be the sixth highest capitalised company on the Nigerian bourse, the company said in a statement. The combined company will have nationwide coverage in both Nigeria and South Africa, and will have capacity to produce around 12-million tons of cement. It will also have operations in aggregates, ready-mix and fly ash. “It will provide access to growth in two of the largest economies on the continent,” Olusegun Osunkeye, chairman of Lafarge’s Nigerian unit WAPCO, said in the statement. “It will mean that our shareholders are invested in a larger and more geographically diverse business.” Roux said at a press conference that cement industry demand was projected to grow by around 14% over the next five years in Nigeria, while growth in South Africa was expected to be around 4%, Reuters reported. The transaction will include a $200-million cash payment to Lafarge and the issue of 1.4-billion new shares. The deal is still subject to shareholders’ and regulatory approvals. It is expected to close in the second half of the year. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

How to Improve Your SEO Content Game this 2019

first_imgYou’ve been hearing this a lot but we’ll say it again: content is the fire that will keep your brand going, so make sure it stays lit round-the-clock. What this means is, never underestimate how much impact high-quality content has in generating sales and making customers see you as a thought leader in your industry. Quality content in 2019 means writing articles, creating an infographic, or producing videos that aim to educate and inform your readers. In order to qualify for quality content you should:Always keep your target audience in mind: what do they want to know? What are their common concerns in the industry? Is there recent news that you can weigh in on?Look at your competitors and assess their current content assets. Which topics are they not covering that you can provide? Is there a way for you to improve on or update an article that’s out there? Vary your content formats by creating FAQs, tutorials, slide decks, infographics, or case studies.Take advantage of the emotional impact of a good story.But it’s not only about the quality-quantity counts as well, so make sure you have published enough content at regular intervals to keep your website updated. Create qualty content at all times. Header tags are used to break sections in your website. They are there for a purpose: it segments different thoughts and topics, making sure that your messages are understood by your readers in a more organized manner. It also helps break huge chunks of texts into smaller, bite-sized sections to make it more scan-friendly.While it may not directly impact SEO, it can help improve user experience by helping readers easily find the content they need. Remember: better user experience means improving rankings in the SERPs, so make sure that you put clear headers throughout your web page Search engines show meta descriptions in search results, especially when the keyword or keyword phrase typed in by the user is within the description. Meta descriptions are SEO specialists’ best friend: they exist to generate clickthroughs from search engines by encouraging users to click your link. Source: do it right, make sure you do the following:Keep descriptions within 155 characters, so Google won’t truncate itWrite in an active voiceInclude a call to action (e.g “Click here to get your free e-book!”)Refrain from using clickbait tactics, as a high number of visitors immediately leaving your site would increase your bounce rate and affect your search rankingStart Blogging and Optimize Your Articles. Naida Alabata Improve your layout and formatting. Source: Creating a website with user experience in mind means improving your layout and formatting. This doesn’t only entail knowing where to put your icons or how to make it look more stunning than other websites; it also means knowing the psychology behind why a certain section should be placed in a specific area. To help your customers easily scan and digest what your website is offering, take note of the following:Use font size and typography that can easily be read by the audienceUse bold type and colors for important informationKeep it short to avoid misunderstanding. Maintain proper line spacing in betweenFor clarity, use bullets or numbered listsUse techniques such as siders, tabs, modal windows, and mega-dropdown-menus to organize site navigation Break up content into different subheads by using a proper header tagCreate attractive meta descriptions. Customers are always on the lookout for something authentic—the same goes for content. If your content is not original enough for customers to still find value in it, chances are, you won’t get the SEO results you were targeting. Nobody wants to get the same content they have read from every other website, so make sure that yours offer more value than your competitors.A few strategies you can try include:Source: content — Popularized by Rand Fishkin, 10x content means providing content that is 10 times better than those currently in the SERPs. This means, among others, adding more data, providing fresh angles to the same topic, and making sure it’s mobile-friendly.Share personal experiences –– As mentioned in the previous point, storytelling can generate an emotional response to your readers. Share your own stories (e.g. how your company started, the challenges you overcame, etc.). This could be in form of a regular blog post or an email newsletter. Whichever topic it is, no one will be able to copy it, as it is your own.Case studies –– Share your findings and actionable steps via case studies of a previous client or an ongoing project. This will help your readers apply the same strategies to their own businesses and reach the same results that you did. This would also amplify your credibility, as an expert in your field.Improve your page speed. In any SEO strategy, linking one content to another is crucial. Don’t let customers finish reading your content at the end of your post without doing anything more.Make sure that there’s a call to action, be it encouraging them to contact you for your services or leading them to a related post somewhere within your website. Often called content layering and internal linking, this strategy allows you to keep your customers within your website by offering them more content after reading one. Communication Works Wonders (with Itai Sadan) Running your own online retail business means that you have to be very visual with how you present your products. This is where the value of a well-optimized photo comes in: image optimization means reducing the size of the image so that it will load faster on your customers’ devices without compromising its quality. To optimize your images, you have to:Name it descriptively using the language your target market can easily understand. Compress your images that come in big file sizes. Study shows that you can compress images in PhotoShop for up to 95% without affecting the quality.Choose image dimensions and product angles wisely, so they would look good on both desktop and mobile devices.If you don’t have available stock images for your brand, there are royalty-free images you can use to load high-quality images on your website.Leverage Header tags. Stay original.center_img Make the most out of your website and start populating your own blog. All you have to do is create a separate page for your content, come up with catchy titles to attract click-throughs, and make the body as extensive as you can but not long enough to bore readers. Of course, you also need to optimize your content so search engines can find them:Add internal links to other pages within your websiteInclude high-quality images and use alt text to describe your image, so search engines will know what those images containLink out related blog posts within the article bodyProvide a section for comments or reviewsShare your content on social media to drive more people to your websiteAdd a call to action. How Growth-Driven Design Keeps Your Website Rel… 9 Web Development Trends to Skip in 2019 Your keywords are important in helping potential customers find you through search engines. To do this, you have to understand the market or audiences you’re trying to capture and recognize their needs. You should also know what they’re talking about and what they’re eager to learn. Once you’ve gathered these data, it will be easier for you to identify the type of content they are looking for and produce it.Source: can also look for related search terms. To do this, go to Google, type in a keyword related to your niche, scroll to the bottom of the results page, and look at the additional keywords. In your content, make sure that you’re using both long-tail and short keywords. You can also use Google Adwords Keyword Planner and Google Trends.And if you want to further cut down the time you need for keyword research and looking for which content to produce, Content Success can do that for you. We’ll help you track your content’s performance and give you more article ideas that your readers will love. Take Your Content To The Next LevelAcing your SEO game takes a lot of trials-and-errors, before finding out which strategy would work for you. Remember that this is a long-term game. Keep producing high-quality content with the right amount of links, and Google will reward you.If you found these tips helpful, do let us know in the comments section below. Feel free to also add your own strategies and help out your fellow content creators. In this fast-paced world, customers want to get everything done right at the moment it crossed their mind. Imagine how impatient they could get when going through a slow-loading website. In fact, 79 percent of customers who are dissatisfied with a website’s performance would not come back to buy from it again. Slow page speeds can also negatively impact your revenue by as much as 16 percent.Today’s growing market tells us why it’s important to run your website smoothly and seamlessly. More than 60 percent of consumers purchased online using their mobile device in the past six months alone.On top of that, Google is now using mobile page speed as an important indicator of ranks in search results, so it’s best that you optimize your site for better UX and better search rankings by:Making sure your design is responsive, so your visitors can easily navigate your site regardless of the device they are using.Compressing your images, but see to it that the quality stays the same.Eliminating any Flash elements from your pages, as it can significantly slow down your website.Continuing to test your mobile site’s layout, as people use their fingers; not mouse pointers. Buttons should be far enough from each other and large enough for the average finger to tap on it.Using Google’s free mobile-friendly test tool, so you can see where else you need to improve. Google continuously evolves, getting smarter and smarter in offering relevant, high-quality, up-to-date, and credible results to its users. Its current algorithm iterations can now track plagiarized content, over-optimized anchor texts, keyword stuffing, poor, on-and-off-page SEO, poor mobile usability and UX, and ad-centered content. According to a report by MarketDrive and HubSpot, 82 percent of marketers say that SEO‘s effectiveness is on the rise, while 61 percent state that improving and growing their SEO strategies are their top inbound marketing priority. With this, online marketers are challenged to up their game and have a keen attention to detail to ensure that their SEO strategies can provide both short and long-term wins.Adapting Your Content To Google’s AlgorithmsContent has long been one of the foundations of a good SEO strategy. That said, as algorithms get smarter, businesses also need to make sure their content can keep up. Here are tips on improving your SEO content game and making sure you stay ahead of the curve: Related Posts Naida Alabata is a content marketing specialist in Grit PH and an entrepreneur in the Philippines. She opts to share her expertise in marketing, branding, SEO, web design and business development thru writing. Optimize image quality. Strategize keyword search Optimize Micro-Interactions to Enhance your UX …last_img read more

AFN releases election priorities for federal parties

first_imgAPTN National NewsOTTAWA—Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde on Wednesday unveiled a list of priorities he’d like to see the next governing party focus on after it achieves power at the ballot box on Oct. 19.Bellegarde said the next federal government needed to “close the gap” between First Nations and the rest of Canada.“First Nations priorities are Canada’s priorities,” said Bellegarde, during a press conference in Ottawa.The national chief admitted he hasn’t voted in previous federal elections and wasn’t sure if he was going to vote in this one. Bellegarde said Elders had advised him against voting in federal elections because, as treaty people, First Nations have a direct relationship with the Crown, regardless of what party holds the reins of power.Bellegarde, however, said First Nation people should cast a vote to influence the outcome of the election and force the next federal government to act on dealing with long-standing First Nation issues.Bellegarde said the AFN’s priorities touch on six themes, including strengthening First Nation families and communities, achieving equitable funding, asserting rights, the environment, protecting Indigenous languages and implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations.“When the gap closes, Canada wins,” said Bellegarde.Bellegarde said the AFN would like the next federal government to commit within the first 100 days of taking power to a process aimed at improving on-reserve education by increasing funding and giving communities control over their schools.The next federal government should also establish a national inquiry into the high number of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls within the same time span.The AFN is also looking for the next federal government to lift the two per cent cap on First Nation funding by the federal Liberals in the 1990s. Bellegarde said it should be replaced with a “new fiscal relationship.” The new fiscal relationship should include new fiscal transfer arrangements, the creation of a multi-party process to create resource-revenue sharing frameworks and restored funding to First Nation political organizations, according to the AFN.Bellegarde said the AFN wants the anti-terror law, Bill C-51, repealed along with changes to environmental regulations contained in the Harper government’s Bill C-38 and Bill C-45, which sparked the Idle No More movement.Bellegarde said the AFN wants to help create a joint AFN-cabinet committee to deal with and monitor the Crown-First Nation relationship.The AFN also wants increased funding for and a focus on preserving and promoting Indigenous languages.Bellegarde said he did not have a dollar figure in mind, but said it would take billions of dollars to get First Nation communities on par with the rest of Canada when it comes to such basics as housing and access to clean water.The situation facing many First Nation communities and people is dire. The life expectancy of a First Nation person is five to seven years lower than the national average. The infant mortality rate is 1.5 times higher than the national average and half of First Nation children live in poverty. There are currently 40,000 Indigenous children in the care of the state and youth suicide rates are five to seven times higher than the national average.Bellegarde said NDP leader Thomas Mulcair phoned him his morning before the announcement and the NDP has already committed to holding a national inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women.Liberal leader Justin Trudeau tweeted that he supported Bellegarde’s call to “Close the Gap.” Trudeau has pledged to invest $2.6 billion in new money over four years for core education funding.The Conservative party issued as statement saying it believes “that increasing Aboriginal participation in the economy is the most effective way to improve the well-being and quality of life of Aboriginal people in Canada.”The Conservatives said its government increased education funding by 25 per cent, constructed 41 schools and invested in 500 school projects along with renovating 22,000 existing homes. The party also said that it brought in the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, which is being challenged by 200 First Nations.“The NDP and Liberals favour irresponsible spending over concrete and financial accountability,” said the statement.The Harper government has already rejected calls for a public inquiry and the implementation of the TRC’s recommendations. The Harper government has also refused to increase funding for First Nation education because chiefs rejected the proposed First Nations Control of First Nations Education [email protected]@APTNNewslast_img read more

The USWNT Is On To The Next Challenge — With An Eye

TeamThenNowDiff.ThenNowDiff.ThenNowDiff. Japan5638-183226-663-3 China3257+251017+7110 How the odds have changedOdds of advancing in the Women’s World Cup before the tournament started and after the group stage Norway3534-11313021-1 Italy14%43%+293%10%+70%0%0 France8077-35440-142019-1 Cameroon316+1314+3000 England6584+194150+9109-2 Spain3922-17147-6220 Germany7291+193552+171115+4 Nigeria129-332-1000 Australia6566+13133+275-2 Make QuartersMake SemifinalsWin World Cup Below the top three, it’s a bit of a crapshoot. England won all of its group-stage matches but is scoring less than xG suggests it should be. And it will have to contend with a Cameroon side that advanced to the knockout stages in dramatic fashion on Thursday thanks to a stoppage time goal from forward Ajara Nchout. The Netherlands won all of its group-stage matches and is the current European champion, but the Dutch are scoring more goals than xG suggest they should be and will have to beat a Japanese team that has underperformed so far.Australia’s World Cup has been a bit of a mixed bag, but the Matildas boast one of the best players in the world in Kerr. Canada has Christine Sinclair — who’s just two goals shy of tying Abby Wambach’s all-time international goal-scoring record — but it has to beat a very strong Sweden side next. All of this indicates that this tournament has already lived up to its billing as the most competitive in Women’s World Cup history, and we expect more of the same going forward.Still, the marquee potential matchup remains the U.S. vs. France next Friday. If both teams do what’s expected of them in the round of 16, the eventual World Cup champion might be decided by a quarterfinal at the Parc des Princes in Paris next week.Check out our latest Women’s World Cup predictions. USA7178+7464601824+6 Netherlands4762+152847+1979+2 Canada4359+152529+467+1 Brazil5323-29227-1642-2 Sweden5141-102217-443-1 The U.S. women’s national team faced its most difficult test at this World Cup so far in its match Thursday against Sweden, and it wasn’t much of a test at all. The 2-0 scoreline doesn’t reflect it, but the Americans dominated the Swedes from the first whistle to the last. They possessed the ball 61 percent of the match and created 13 scoring chances.1According to data from Opta Sports. Sweden, on the other hand, created just four chances and rarely looked threatening otherwise.Judging the U.S. women’s probability of winning the World Cup after their first two matches was tricky. They obliterated newcomers Thailand 13-0 and then handily swept Chile to the side 3-0, but neither opponent was expected to advance beyond the group stage, let alone make a run. The Americans were always favored to win those matches with ease. But Sweden entered the tournament with a chance — albeit a small one — of winning the whole thing, and the team has been a thorn in the USWNT’s side in the past.Blowouts in the first two matches didn’t say much about what the USWNT is capable of against top competition (although Norway, which won the World Cup in 1995, proved that blowout wins in the group stage can be a good omen). But the assertive performance against Sweden proved that the USWNT is ready for all comers.2Swedish coach Peter Gerhardsson rested some starters, notably defender Nilla Fischer.Having finished atop Group F, the Americans will play Group B second-place finishers Spain in the round of 16. The FiveThirtyEight model gives the Spanish a 22 percent chance of beating the Americans and advancing to the quarterfinals. Spain’s defense has been stingy — it has conceded just two goals in three group-stage matches — but the team has struggled to find the back of the net. The Spanish are scoring just one goal per 90 minutes — 1.2 goals fewer than their expected goals (xG) tally suggests they should be scoring.The upside for the Spanish: They are creating chances. The downside: They’ll be going up against an American side that hasn’t given up a goal and has conceded exactly zero big chances in their first three matches, according to data from Opta Sports. If Spain hopes to pull off the upset of the tournament, Jennifer Hermoso will have to capitalize on whatever chances she gets. The forward scored twice in the group stage, but her mark of 0.67 goals per 90 minutes is below what xG suggests she should have. If Hermoso can’t cash in, the Americans will probably advance to the quarterfinals.The USWNT’s likely opponent in the quarterfinals is host nation France. Les Bleues won all three of their group-stage matches — although one of those wins came as the result of a *cough* controversial VAR decision *cough* that gave star defender Wendie Renard two shots at scoring from the penalty spot against Nigeria — and the FiveThirtyEight model gives them a 77 percent chance of beating Brazil in the round of 16.But France might have preferred an opponent that didn’t include Marta. At 33, the Seleção legend is decidedly past her prime. But she’s the all-time leading goal scorer in the history of the World Cup — men’s or women’s — for a reason, and she’s still capable of inspiring awe. And Magic Marta isn’t alone: Brazil forward Cristiane Roziera has four goals at this World Cup, which places her one behind Australia’s Sam Kerr and the U.S.’s Alex Morgan in the race for the Golden Boot. If Cristiane draws level with — or overtakes — Kerr and Morgan, the quarterfinal match everyone is anticipating might not even happen. That said, Brazil has to be the least happy of any team with its draw. According to our model, its odds of making the quarters dropped by 29 percentage points, the most of any team remaining.The Americans and the French might be the two most likely teams to win the tournament, but that doesn’t mean anyone should sleep on Germany. The Germans won all of their group-stage matches with relative ease and, along with the Americans, conceded the third-fewest shots on goal per 90 minutes. Not coincidentally, the Germans, like the Americans, didn’t concede a goal in the group stage. Our model gives them a 91 percent chance of beating Nigeria to advance to the quarterfinals and the third-best chance of winning the tournament.Indeed, the group stage didn’t end up telling us a whole lot that we didn’t know entering the World Cup. The top of our model looks a lot like it did before the tournament began. On June 7, it gave France the best chances of winning, the U.S. the second-best and Germany the third-best. France and the U.S. have since flip-flopped — the U.S. chances to win jumped from 18 percent to 24 percent, while the French chances to win fell to 19 percent from 20 percent. Germany’s chances to win jumped from 11 percent to 15 percent, but its chances to advance to the quarterfinals jumped by an astounding 19 percentage points to 91 percent. read more