Juventus coach Max Allegri: Being Winter Champions importantby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveJuventus coach Max Allegri was delighted with a crucial win over AS Roma.Mario Mandzukic struck the only goal of the game.“We’re Winter Champions, but we haven’t really won anything yet,” Allegri told DAZN.“We are doing some good things, we’re in the Champions League Round of 16, but the important thing is to have a good buffer from Napoli in second place.“It was a good game, we remained organised when under pressure, Robin Olsen made some fine saves and we played well.“We had to cause Roma problems and put the pressure on them straight away, as it’s a psychologically fragile side. We should’ve done more after going 1-0 up, as they were really struggling.“Roma had more possession in the second half, but we didn’t really allow them any chances. I’d say it was a deserved victory.” About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say
OTTAWA – Former federal budget watchdog Kevin Page will deliver a blunt message to premiers this week about the costs of a future national pharmacare program: if Canadians want one, taxes will have to go up.Page, who now heads a University of Ottawa think tank, will walk through the numbers Friday when he gives a presentation to the provincial and territorial leaders on what lawmakers should know about creating a cross-country, publicly funded plan for prescription drugs.The federal Liberals have put together a group of advisers, led by former Ontario health minister Eric Hoskins, to consult Canadians and explore options for a national program. The council is due to report back next year, when the topic of pharmacare is sure to become a major issue during the federal election campaign.But the burning question remains: who’s going to pay for it?Last fall, an analysis by the parliamentary budget officer estimated national pharmacare would carry a hefty cost in the neighbourhood of $20 billion a year. That’s about one percentage point of Canada’s gross domestic product and twice Ottawa’s annual deficit projections in each of the next few years.Page said there’s a solid argument to be made for national pharmacare because it would help Canadians save significantly on their out-of-pocket drug expenses and create more consistency in terms of health costs across the country. The 2017 parliamentary budget office study estimated such a plan would save Canadians more than $4 billion every year on prescriptions.But Page said Ottawa’s books are already facing a difficult fiscal situation and warned the federal balance sheet would become unsustainable if it assumed the full cost of such a program.The provinces, as a group, are in even rougher fiscal shape, he added.His presentation, which is based on a study by his Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy to be released Monday, recommends spending cuts and tax increases as ways to afford it.Page, however, believes there’s no way to avoid tax hikes if Canada is serious about pharmacare. One option would be to boost the GST by two points, back to seven per cent, he added.“Raising taxes is never easy, politically, in this environment, but I think if we’re going to really do something like this, we’re going to have to do it,” he said in an interview.“I don’t see any other way of really moving this forward.”Page will address the premiers in St. Andrew’s, N.B., where they will gather this week for Council of the Federation meetings. Without tax increases, governments will see their shortfalls balloon well beyond existing levels, he said.“I think it would shock people,” Page said. “Deficits would literally double.”He supports the argument that, in certain cases, public servants have a responsibility to tell taxpayers that raising taxes is in their interests as a way to make life easier for politicians to take unpopular decisions.“I think the case for a national public pharmacare program is pretty strong, even from a fiscal perspective,” he said.“Just on the numbers, it’s pretty clear that these public systems… produce much lower costs. Canadians are paying a lot for drugs, a lot.”Health-care advocates have long urged Ottawa to work with provinces and territories to implement a universal public prescription drug program that covers all Canadians.Critics call the country’s current system an inefficient, expensive patchwork that has left 3.5 million Canadians unable to afford the medication they need.— Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitter
Mike Trout has put up an amazing couple of seasons in Major League Baseball, not just for someone as young as he is, 22, but for anyone. His 19.62 wins above replacement (WAR) over his first two full seasons ranks as the 36th best two-year stretch for any batter ever. Only nine batters have had a better stretch by the age of 25, and they’re essentially a who’s who of Hall of Famers: Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Eddie Collins, Jimmie Foxx and Willie Mays. The list of players who put up better numbers at an earlier age doesn’t have any names on it.Conventional wisdom seems to be that Trout, an outfielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, is only going to get better. Much of that analysis relies explicitly on the traditional aging curve or on similar logic: MLB players and prospects typically improve rapidly through their late teens and early 20s, peaking around age 27. Trout was 21 last season, ergo, he has several years of improvement in his future.But regression to the mean dictates that the better the performance you’re looking at, the less likely it is to be duplicated. Players who put up huge numbers like Trout’s (or anywhere close) this early in their careers have a very high likelihood of having All Star- and/or Hall of Fame-quality careers. But how often do they improve on these initial breakout performances?I’ve taken all the players who put up more than 15 WAR over a two-year period at any point in their careers and broken them down by the age when they first accomplished the feat. Then I asked a simple question: Did they ever manage a better two-year period?The size of the bubbles represent how many players accomplished the “15 WAR in two years” milestone, and the y value of the bubbles show the percentage of those players who surpassed that milestone.As you can see, the odds of someone Trout’s age improving are ostensibly 100 percent, but that bubble represents a single data point: Alex Rodriguez. If you move to the much larger group of players between ages 22 and 24, the odds drop into the 50 percent range.On the other hand, some players who never managed a stronger two-year stretch still managed a strong third season immediately after their initial two-year breakout. In such cases, they may set a new two-year “peak” that overlaps the original. Thus, while never replicating their original two-year performance, they end up with a better two years on the books. This is the most likely time for a player to establish a new “peak,” because pulling it off only takes one well-timed season instead of two.Of the 75 players who achieved 15-plus WAR over two seasons, only 22 managed to replicate or exceed the feat later in their career. But an additional 15 improved their benchmark the following season. Counting these cases, the odds of a player’s two-year performance being his two-year peak drop substantially. Factoring this in and cleaning up the data a bit (I put the players in rolling 3-year age groups) gives us a result like this:For Trout’s case, there are a few other factors to consider:Cutting both ways: Trout’s numbers are higher than average in his age group. This makes it more likely that he’s a uniquely great player, but it also makes the numbers inherently less likely to be surpassed.Cutting in his favor: Trout was 21 last season, and his group covers players age 21 to 23. This gives him a slightly longer career ahead, and thus more chances to put up better seasons. Further, having pulled off such great numbers at such an early age probably increases the chances that he’s truly special. But there’s not really enough data to demonstrate this effect.Cutting against him: Trout is probably less likely to achieve a new two-year peak this year, because the strongest of the two seasons in this run was the first. Improving on his peak will require him posting better than 10.8 WAR — a feat which has happened only 22 times before, six of which were by Babe Ruth. (Also, though outside the scope of this post, it’s possible that the aging curve is no longer as favorable as it used to be).All things considered, the answer to whether Trout has peaked yet is “probably not,” though I think it’s far from being as much of a certainty as many people seem to think. Even some of the Hall of Famers mentioned above peaked early, and Trout’s start has been so strong that he could potentially do the same and still end up joining them.
Update (July 13, 6:10 p.m.): Germany won the World Cup on Sunday, defeating Argentina 1-0 in extra time.In the fall of 2000, 11-year-old soccer wunderkind Thomas Muller left TSV Pahl, the local team near his hometown of Weilheim in Oberbayern,1For whom he once scored 120 of the team’s 165 goals in a season. and joined Bayern Munich’s youth academy. That same year, 22-year-old Miroslav Klose was co-leading the Bundesliga club FCK in goals, becoming a star in his own right. Fourteen years later, they’re both on the same Germany squad, with Muller chasing the World Cup goals record that Klose just tied. In Germany, one generation is being eclipsed by the next.On Thursday, the United States will have to tussle with both. The U.S. faces Muller, Klose and the rest of the German juggernaut in a match that FiveThirtyEight’s World Cup prediction model gives the Americans only a 15 percent chance of winning.2Luckily for the Americans, they don’t need to defeat Germany outright in order to advance to the knockout round. They can survive with a draw, or even a loss (pending the outcome of Thursday’s Portugal-Ghana match), which is a very good thing from an American perspective. Die Nationalmannschaft ranks as the third-best national squad3But the first-best nationalmannschaft. in the world according to ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI), and it boasts the most potent offensive attack of any team. It is the United States’ most stout opponent yet.Germany has been nearly this good for four World Cups running. It finished in the top three in the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups, a feat that’s usually only accomplished when a country is experiencing a “golden generation” of talent. That’s when a rare confluence of gifted footballers simultaneously spring forth to lead their national team to glory. Germany had one of those over the past decade, with forwards such as Klose and Lukas Podolski, defenders Philipp Lahm, Arne Friedrich and Per Mertesacker, and midfielders Michael Ballack and Bastian Schweinsteiger.By the time such a group is in its third World Cup cycle, though, its heyday is almost always over. Indeed, Ballack and Friedrich are retired, and the rest are either on the wrong side of 30 — Klose, while still on the national team, is ancient at 36 — or rapidly approaching it. But this year’s German side isn’t being carried by the dimming stars of days past. Rather, it has produced an entirely new golden generation, right on the heels of the previous one, and led by the likes of Muller. This latest crop of players could go even further than their predecessors ever ventured; the FiveThirtyEight model thinks the Germans are the third-most likely team to win the Cup, giving them an 11 percent chance.The possibilities of this new era were apparent at the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championships, when Germany’s team navigated its way to the final and trounced England 4-0 to claim the tournament crown. Including Muller, eight of Germany’s 11 most-used players in this World Cup suited up for that 2009 U-21 side, either in friendlies or the Euro Championships. The talent of Mesut Ozil, Toni Kroos and Mats Hummels was already apparent on that team.4Mario Gotze barely missed that group; he was on Germany’s Under-17 team in 2009.A half-decade later, the whiz kids of the 2009 U-21 squad are fueling a top World Cup contender. The Germans aren’t the youngest team left in the tournament, according to my calculations (although they are somewhat close). Their roster, however, is structured in a way that maximizes production from players in the primes of their careers.For every team bound for the World Cup’s knockout stage (or more than 30 percent likely to advance, according to the FiveThirtyEight model), I computed the average age of the roster — and the standard deviation thereof — weighted by a combination of playing time and in-game performance.5Using each player’s percentage of team minutes played, adjusted up or down by how his WhoScored rating compared to the typical average of 6.75. The Germans are the fourth-youngest team likely to advance by this measure of weighted average age (behind Nigeria, Belgium and Switzerland), but more important, they have the third-smallest weighted standard deviation of ages (trailing only Chile and Argentina). More of Germany’s players, in other words, are in their prime.According to research from British journalist Simon Kuper,6Co-author of “Soccernomics,” which I wrote about here. soccer players enter their primes sometime between age 23 (for attacking players) and 25 (for defenders), and they stay in relative peak form until age 31. Not coincidentally, by my measure above, only two other national teams (Chile and Argentina) have received a larger share of their contributions in this World Cup from players ages 23 to 31, and nobody has gotten more from its players between the ages of 22 and 30.7I’m measuring the amount of contribution received from a given player by looking at how much of the team’s playing time he received, and also whether he produced more or less than an average player in that time, according to WhoScored’s player ratings (which use Opta data to gauge how well a player has performed). The WhoScored rating is an admittedly rough metric, but as far as all-in-one player indices go, it correlates fairly well with standings points at the team level. (This is not the ultimate test of a stat’s validity — to a certain extent, any metric with a strong enough “team adjustment” can appear to correlate well with team performance — but that’s another debate for another day.) Klose is the lone German outside of that age range to even take the field so far in the World Cup.Granted, Klose, Schweinsteiger and Podolski are still highly useful players; last Saturday, Klose scored as a substitute against Ghana to tie Ronaldo for the all-time lead in career World Cup goals, and Schweinsteiger is likely to start against the U.S. with Jerome Boateng sidelined due to injury. But for a team coming off three deep World Cup runs, the last two of which leaned heavily on the same venerated group, Germany’s veterans are not being asked to play a very substantial role this summer. And that wouldn’t be the case if Germany hadn’t built an impressive infrastructure for developing young soccer talent.As Nicholas Kulish wrote for the New York Times in 2012, Germany’s prolific soccer pipeline traces its roots back nearly a decade before its up-and-coming youth team met England for the Under-21 title in 2009. Following a nightmarish performance8Two losses, one draw and zero wins. at Euro 2000, Kulish noted, German officials (with plenty of backing from top club teams) massively re-invested in the country’s youth soccer system, including the launch of new academies, training centers and coaching programs at an expense of almost $1 billion. Years into the future, the result is a booming Bundesliga — and a flourishing national team.In many ways, Muller is the poster child for this reformation. When he enlisted with Bayern’s youth academy 14 years ago, it was almost precisely as German youth soccer was receiving its aforementioned stimulus package. Muller’s generation was the first to reap its benefits, and it’s probably not a coincidence that Germany’s current World Cup roster is so heavy with his contemporaries.Whatever the cause, in five years, Germany’s current crop of stars has matured from promising prospects on that U-21 squad to the most instrumental members of the senior national team. Several weeks ago, the Germans were something of a dark horse among the top contenders in this World Cup field. Before the tournament, none of ESPN’s 18 polled panelists picked Germany to win it all; nor did any of those queried by the BBC or Sports Illustrated (one lone writer from NBC’s ProSoccerTalk went with Germany). Now it’s clear that there’s another golden German generation on the pitch, and it’s almost completely in its prime.
Burnley Manager Sean Dyche is facing an uphill battle in Turkey as his team prepares to face Istanbul Basaksehir with just 17 players in their UEFA Europa League qualifier clash.After overcoming Scottish side Aberdeen in the last qualifying round, Burnley will be hoping to continue their first European adventure in 52 years when they come against Turkey’s Istanbul Basaksehir.The Turkish team finished third in the Super Lig last season and could provide a sterner test for Burnley on Thursday in the first leg with a number of players injured for the English side.“We’re a little bit limited in terms of our playing personnel,” Dyche told reporters ahead of the game on Thursday, according to Sky Sports.“Chris Woods is suffering from an infection, while Steven Defour and Robbie Brady still remain out with injury. So at the moment we’re down to just 17 players.”Match Preview: Burnley vs Liverpool Boro Tanchev – August 30, 2019 Premier League leaders Liverpool travel to Burnley for the Matchday 4 of the 2019-20 Premier League campaign.“We’ve included Ben Gibson and Joe Hart in the squad and they could feature if needed.”Burnley are currently in the middle of a goalkeeping crisis with Tom Heaton and Nick Pope out injured and Hart could feature for the Clarets after completing a surprise move to the club from Manchester City.“He’s in good shape and clear minded. He knows he’ll have to work for his place in the team and I believe he’s up to the challenge.” Dyche said.Burnley will also be without new signing Matej Vydra who joined the club from Derby this week.The striker is still working on his fitness due to a lack of preseason with his former club.
Deadly Australian horse virus found in dog Overview of a Theiler’s disease outbreak. Credit: (c) PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1219217110 This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. First identified in 1919, Theiler’s Disease is associated with the use of blood products. Many outbreaks have occurred in North America and Europe after horses received plasma or serum to protect them from contagious diseases, such as anthrax or encephalitis, or toxins, such as botulism or tetanus. Because of this, veterinary researchers have long believed that an infectious agent or toxin that contaminates the blood supply causes the disease. However, nobody had ever identified such a contaminant. Ganem and his colleagues studied horses that contracted Theiler’s Disease after receiving botulinum antitoxin. Out of 17 horses that received the same antitoxin after possible exposure to botulism, 8 developed Theiler’s Disease. To investigate the possibility that a virus in the antitoxin had caused the disease, the team extracted RNA from two of the horses that contracted it and from the antitoxin itself. They used next-generation sequencing to identify a previously unknown virus, which they designated “Theiler’s Disease-associated virus” (TDAV). The researchers found TDAV in all eight horses that developed hepatitis and in the horse, from another farm, that provided the antitoxin. TDAV is a member of the Flaviviridae family of viruses, which also includes the viruses that cause hepatitis C, yellow fever and dengue fever in humans. Amy Kistler, who participated in the research, believes that nobody identified TDAV before because it does not closely resemble any previously known viruses. It shares only 35.3% amino acid identity with its closest relative, a virus known as GB virus D.Horses on the same farm that received a different antitoxin or no antitoxin at all never contracted the disease, indicating that horse-to-horse contact is not a means of transmission.An epidemiological survey of horses on that farm and two other farms also revealed an association between exposure to TDAV-positive antitoxin and development of Theiler’s Disease. The team concedes that further research is required. They have not yet determined where TDAV originates. In addition, TDAV may not be the only cause of Theiler’s Disease; five different viruses cause human hepatitis. More information: Identification of a previously undescribed divergent virus from the Flaviviridae family in an outbreak of equine serum hepatitis, Published online before print March 18, 2013, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1219217110 AbstractTheiler’s disease is an acute hepatitis in horses that is associated with the administration of equine blood products; its etiologic agent has remained unknown for nearly a century. Here, we used massively parallel sequencing to explore samples from a recent Theiler’s disease outbreak. Metatranscriptomic analysis of the short sequence reads identified a 10.5-kb sequence from a previously undescribed virus of the Flaviviridae family, which we designate “Theiler’s disease-associated virus” (TDAV). Phylogenetic analysis clusters TDAV with GB viruses of the recently proposed Pegivirus genus, although it shares only 35.3% amino acid identity with its closest relative, GB virus D. An epidemiological survey of additional horses from three separate locations supports an association between TDAV infection and acute serum hepatitis. Experimental inoculation of horses with TDAV-positive plasma provides evidence that several weeks of viremia preceded liver injury and that liver disease may not be directly related to the level of viremia. Like hepatitis C virus, the best characterized Flaviviridae species known to cause hepatitis, we find TDAV is capable of efficient parenteral transmission, engendering acute and chronic infections associated with a diversity of clinical presentations ranging from subclinical infection to clinical hepatitis. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences © 2013 Phys.org (Phys.org) —Theiler’s Disease is one of the most common causes of equine hepatitis. Death rates in horses that develop symptoms range between 50 and 90 percent. Although veterinarians have known about Theiler’s Disease for almost 100 years, until now, scientists have been unable to determine its cause. In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Donald Ganem and his colleagues at the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research and Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine report they have identified the virus that probably causes the disease. Citation: Researchers identify virus that causes horse hepatitis (2013, March 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-03-virus-horse-hepatitis.html Explore further