Jessie James Decker’s Ripped Kids Backlash Slammed by Trainer: ‘Very Wrong’

After Jessie James Decker posted a photo of her toned kids over the weekend, some on social media accused her of photoshopping their abs. The country pop singer has since set the record straight, and a fitness influencer is slamming the backlash to Decker’s post as “very, very wrong.”

Decker—who competed in the most recent season of Dancing With the Starshas addressed the controversy on Instagram. She posted a video of her kids to prove that their physiques are au naturale and not digitally altered, also blasting the furor as “bonkers.”

Fitness model and coach Katie Corio told Newsweek that the controversy surrounding Decker’s toned children is akin to body-shaming. Genetics play a huge role in how shredded someone appears, she explained.

“Some people are just really naturally muscular and have really good muscle definition and others don’t,” she said. “And it just all depends on your genetics and what you’re doing, and there’s so many ways that you can train to change your body.”

Jessie James Decker is pictured at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California, on November 20, 2022. The singer recently pushed back against critics who accused her of photoshopping abs onto her children.
Tommaso Boddi/WireImage

In her social media post, Decker explained that her kids are athletically inclined, participating in activities like gymnastics and dance, and that their father is a former NFL player.

“Let’s not pick and choose what we normalize regarding bodies and be accepting of all people and children,” she wrote in part. “If we wanna do ‘better’ then do better.”

Corio told Newsweek that “muscle is muscle.” There isn’t a certain age when ab and muscle definition becomes a reality, she said, regardless of whether someone is 5 or 85. And the activities that Decker’s kids are involved in require a lot of core work, stabilizing and bracing.

In addition to genetics, eating well plays into how muscular someone appears, and kids also have fast metabolisms, she said. Sometimes, you might even see Olympic athletes with “very normal bodies.”

“So I think that this whole thing is just absolutely crazy,” Corio added. “It’s really sad to see that someone is coming after her kids, because I hate for people to—for young people, especially—to see that.”

Even though Corio is a successful fitness model, entrepreneur and influencer with a large social media following, she also has been on the receiving end of hateful social media messages. Regardless of whether she appears a bit more “soft and normal” or “super shredded and ripped” in photos, the criticism can be “relentless,” she said.

Corio added that she can’t imagine what it’d be like to be a young girl growing up with social media now and facing that added level of scrutiny.

“It’s tough to see it targeted at young kids specifically, because what are we teaching our young people now? That it’s OK to bully?” she said. “And like, that if you’re proud of your body and you want to show how fit you are, that you’re gonna get put down for that? I don’t know. It just seems very, very wrong.”

Katie Corio is a fitness influencer with a significant social media following.
Weston Boucher

The fitness guru is also a business owner, presenting personalized workout programs via Corio Fit and athleisure and loungewear through her clothing line, Corio Active.

Corio said that no matter what, social media trolls will always have something to say, as seen in Decker’s case. To her, the controversy is “just sad.”

“I feel like we need to use it as as a lesson to highlight that type of hate and body-shaming online,” she added, “and just be more aware of it and try not to let it happen.”

Newsweek has reached out to Decker for comment.

Do you have a tip on an entertainment story that Newsweek should be covering? Let us know via

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World Cup Daily: Group C chaos, plus looking ahead to Thursday

Group C and D have come to a close on Wednesday, providing jam-packed drama, heartbreak and comeback stories. Thursday promises to be full of more surprises and we wait to see who steps up for Germany, and whether Japan and Costa Rica can add to the upsets of the 2022 World Cup.

Be sure to check in with ESPN throughout the tournament as we bring you the latest from Qatar. Here’s what you might have missed from Wednesday’s World Cup happenings, and a look ahead to what’s next on Thursday.

World Cup news, features, previews and more
Stream FC Daily and Futbol Americas on ESPN+

Another day of drama, edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting soccer was on show to conclude Group C. In the end, it was heartbreak for Mexico and Saudi Arabia who are headed home, and joy for Argentina and Poland who are through to the last 16. It came down the wire, but Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski, two talismans for their respective countries, are through!

And just as Lewandowski had his penalty saved against Mexico, Messi endured the same against Poland. Who would have thought? Luckily for the Paris Saint-Germain player, teammates Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez stepped up to seal the win.

Of course, Messi is key to Argentina’s success, but Wednesday’s match showed how important it is that the supporting cast carry the load. Enzo Fernandez is another example alongside Mac Allister and Alvarez of players who can deliver when called upon, and if the Albicelestes are to win the whole thing, every one will need to chip in.

And now we go to the heartbreak. Mexico’s 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia was not enough to send them through. They pushed hard for a third goal to get them into second in the group, but ended up conceding in injury time, which sealed their fate.

Goals from Henry Martin and Luis Chavez for Mexico gave El Tri a glimmer of hope in the second half, and as they pushed for a third, Saudi Arabia’s Salem Al-Dawsari went through on goal to score from close range, eliminating both sides from the World Cup.

With that, Mexico manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino’s future with Mexico is likely over, with some reports suggesting he’s already out. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia will always have that massive upset against Messi and Argentina to remember.

Not watching El Tri play in the knockouts will be a first for many of us. The last time Mexico failed to qualify for the knockouts was in 1978.

Wonder who won the World Cup that year? Oh yeah, it was Argentina! Are the stars aligning once again? We shall see…

Germany face consecutive World Cup group stage exits

It all comes down to Thursday for Spain and Germany’s World Cup fates. Luis Enrique’s side opened the tournament by scoring seven past Costa Rica, and now La Roja are guaranteed to qualify for the round of 16 with a win or draw vs. Japan.

Meanwhile, Hansi Flick’s side are in a more precarious position, and need a win against Costa Rica to have any chance of making it to the knockout stages. Germany failed to advance in the 2018 World Cup, and things aren’t looking great this time around. Niclas Fullkrug rescued the Germans with his equalizer against Spain, but can he do it against the Central American team?

This World Cup is full of surprises, and anything is possible after Japan beat Germany but then lost to Costa Rica. You can read more here about every possible permutation and how tie-breakers are decided ahead of a massive matchday.

Today’s top reads

Luis Enrique talks life and tactics during World Cup with his Twitch chat
Apologies to all the Twitch streamers playing Call of Duty and Among Us (is that still a thing?): the best live-steamer during the World Cup just might be Spanish national team manager Luis Enrique, who goes live every non-matchday to talk about everything from tactics to his dislike of cheese. Can we get a Hype Train going?!

Dutch-born USMNT star Sergino Dest has a date with destiny vs. Netherlands
Sergino Dest was instrumental in the USA’s big win over Iran to advance, but now the Dutch-American must face his countrymen as the Netherlands wait in the knockout round for the USA. “I know almost every single guy over there,” Dest told ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle of the Dutch team. Should be interesting!

Iran’s Saied Ezatolahi embodied the despair of World Cup defeat
It doesn’t matter where you were born or who you were rooting for after the USA-Iran game: it’s hard not to feel something when you witness the dreams being crushed of the Iranian players. Saied Ezatolahi was Iran’s midfield enforcer, and not the player you’d expect to be sobbing, but the heartbreak of the World Cup is unique and acute.

Your best bets (odds via Caesars Sportsbook)

If you’re looking to bet on the World Cup, ESPN contributors Paul Carr, Dan Thomas and Dalen Cuff are here to give you key tips on odds, options and futures. Here’s what we have for the Thursday’s matches.

Group E: Japan (+750) vs. Spain (-250), Draw (+340)

Carr: Japan likely need a win to advance, so at some point they’ll have to shift into attack mode, if Spain will let them. Either way, the game flow should result in plenty of scoring chances. Each team’s games have had 5.5 expected goals so far, and I think that trend continues. At -135, I like over 2.5 goals in this one.

Cuff: One of the shock results of this tournament was Japan losing to Costa Rica after beating the Germans. Spain will possess and control the ball the majority of the match but Japan is athletic and talented they can hit on the break. I think the over is the right play like Paul does, but I also think both teams to score +100 is a solid move.

Group E: Costa Rica (+2100) vs. Germany (-1100), Draw (+900)

Carr: How can this be anything but a Germany romp? Admittedly, I thought the same thing about Japan’s match against Costa Rica, but I suspect Los Ticos will be emotionally drained after their win. Germany has a history of pounding lesser opponents at the World Cup, and goals scored could matter for Germany if Japan keeps it close with Spain. Germany should come out strong and attack early and often to eliminate all doubt. I’ll take over 1.5 goals in the first half at +115.

Cuff: The Germans can play a high line and will dominate this match. I could see Costa Rica possibly getting their best chances in transition. That said, I ultimately think the Germans control this match and their opponent in a match they will play to win from the outset. It’s hard to find any value in playing this match, but Jamal Musiala has been knocking on the door to score. He’s +130 for anytime goal I think he gets one on Thursday.

Group F: Croatia (+170) vs. Belgium (+160), Draw (+225)

Carr: I’ve been betting against Belgium the whole tournament, and I’m not stopping now. Croatia may not have the pace that Canada and Morocco used to trouble Belgium. But the midfield should dominate the center of the pitch, and the young Croatian defense has only allowed 16 shots and 0.8 expected goals so far. That won’t help Belgium’s scoring woes, so I’m taking Croatia to win at +170.

Cuff: The Belgians have been one of the more disappointing teams thus far. I didn’t expect much out of them in terms of threatening to win the tournament, but I thought they were still capable of playing good, inspired football. They’re not. I’m not sure they even want to be on the field together. I like Croatia to win +170 as well.

Group F: Canada (+260) vs. Morocco (+105), Draw (+240)

Carr: Morocco are one of three teams that didn’t allow a goal in the first two group matches, and they’ll be comfortable defensively with whatever Canada throw at them. Having already been eliminated, Canada might be spent from the opening whistle, or they might wear down later in the match, which will help a Morocco side that were at their best late against Belgium. Morocco to win at plus-money.

Cuff: Canada is in their first World Cup since 1986. As one of the hosts, they’ll be back in 2026 as well. This group has pride and despite just running out of gas early against Croatia they battled. I think they’ll acquit themselves well, but Morocco is the superior team with everything to play for. Morroco to win is the play, but with the Moroccans tied with the Croatians on 4 points, but 1 goal down on goals difference, it’s more likely they could blowout Canada by a few and end up winning the group which pays +225. Worth a sprinkle there.

News and notes

  • England defender Ben White‘s World Cup is over after he has flown back home for “personal reasons,” according to the Football Association. The Arsenal center-back was yet to play a single minute in Qatar and missed Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Wales for what the federation said was illness illness. World Cup rules don’t allow for a replacement to be called up, so England manager Gareth Southgate will need to make due with 25 players, starting with Sunday’s knockout game against Senegal. In World Cups past, managers only had 23 players, so at least there is more of a buffer this time around.

  • Remember that joint collective bargaining agreement signed by the US men’s and women’s national teams earlier this year? Now that the men have reached the knockout stage in Qatar, the women will earn more than they earned for winning the 2019 Women’s World Cup. That’s because now the US teams split their prize money evenly, and FIFA is offering $440 million in prize money for the 2022 men’s World Cup, but only offered $30 million for the 2019 Women’s World Cup. The US Soccer Federation has taken matters into its own hands, creating its own even split after the women filed a lawsuit in 2019. Meanwhile, FIFA, the organizer of the World Cup, has not closed the huge gap between the two tournaments — even as the Women’s World Cup sets new records in viewership and attendance — for reasons that FIFA has never explained.

  • The Australian men’s national team — known as the Socceroos, one of the best nicknames in soccer — have returned to the World Cup’s round of 16 for the first time since 2006. With a 1-0 upset win over Denmark on Wednesday to close the group stage, the Socceroos advance, the Danes go home, and this World Cup keeps delivering unpredictable results. Team Chaos reigns again!

  • If there’s one player who has dominated headlines during this World Cup, it has to be Cristiano Ronaldo. Just before he boarded a plane to Qatar, he threw just about everyone at Manchester United under the proverbial bus, and he did it as publicly as possible. Then two days before Portugal‘s first game, Man United terminated his contract. And more recently, as Portugal beat Uruguay, Ronaldo tried to take credit for a goal he didn’t even score. It’s been a lot. Well, here’s the latest: a club in Saudi Arabia has offered him a deal worth more than £300 million, sources told ESPN’s Rob Dawson on Wednesday. Ronaldo is said to be putting off a decision until after the World Cup, but it doesn’t look like European clubs are all that interested…



James Olley says the lack of interest in Cristiano Ronaldo shows the gap between how highly he rates himself compared to what top clubs think of him.

What else caught our eye

Everyone’s favorite pundit, ESPN’s own Stephen A. Smith, has offered his take for the USA’s round-of-16 knockout game against the Netherlands on Saturday: the US isn’t that good and no one expects the Americans to win, so stateside fans should enjoy their World Cup while it lasts, even if it only lasts as long as Saturday.

He’s not wrong: the Americans have scored just twice in the group stage, and their attack doesn’t seem poised to get any better, unless maybe coach Gregg Berhalter decides to give Jesus Ferreira his first minutes of the tournament and the striker lights it up. Or maybe Gio Reyna will finally start and go off on the Netherlands. That doesn’t seem likely, especially against a good Dutch side, but who knows — weirder things have happened at a World Cup. Either way, the Netherlands are definitely the favorites for Saturday’s match, so we should probably all heed Stephan A.’s advice and check our expectations at the door.



Stephen A. Smith is joined by Taylor Twellman to discuss the United States reaching the last 16 of the FIFA World Cup.

Matches on tap for Thursday

Group F: Canada vs. Morocco (Al Thumama Stadium; 10 a.m. ET)

Oh, Canada. The Canadians are out of the World Cup already, even though, let’s be honest: they deserved to beat Belgium in their opener, which would’ve put them in a much different position. Morocco, meanwhile, guarantee themselves a spot in the knockout round if they win or draw, but even a loss could get them through depending on the other Group F game.

Group F: Croatia vs. Belgium (Ahmad bin Ali Stadium Stadium; 10 a.m. ET)

Belgium haven’t looked great in Qatar, but if they find a way to win, they are guaranteed to advance to the knockout round. As for Croatia: a draw or a win and they are in. But Group F is a close one, so you’ll want to take a deep dive into all the scenarios to see how losing and drawing teams can be the ones to advance. All eyes are sure to be on whether Belgium — with talented players like Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard — can get their attack together and stop the infighting where players are openly accusing one another of being too old and too slow at this World Cup.

Group E: Costa Rica vs. Germany (Al Bayt Stadium; 2 p.m. ET)

Everything is on the line for this one. Germany must beat Costa Rica to even have a chance to advance to the knockout round, but Germany will also need Spain to win the Group E’s other game. Otherwise, if Spain lose, Germany would need to somehow make up a goal differential of eight in a win — probably not a good bet. Meanwhile, a win for Costa Rica is enough to get them into the knockout round. Even if Costa Rica draw, if Spain wins, they are in, but not if Spain loses (unless Costa Rica makes up a goal differential of 13). Did you get all that? If not, you can check out our longer explanation.

Group E: Japan vs. Spain (Khalifa International Stadium; 2 p.m. ET)

If you looked at the previous blurb for the Costa Rica-Germany game, you already know that Group E is tight, and you know that a lot is riding on the result of this game. Spain are into the round of 16 with a win or draw, and Japan are in if they win. Japan’s coach Hajime Moriyasu has made no bones about the fact that European teams, like Spain, are well ahead of Japan, but ESPN’s Gabriel Tan wonders if that attitude is setting up Moriyasu’s team to play scared in a must-win scenario.

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Dad-To-Be Slammed for Drinking Whiskey Near Pregnant Wife: ‘Terrible Look’

Internet commenters were up in arms after one man detailed his wife’s “disrespectful” reaction to his continued drinking.

In a viral Reddit post published on r/AmITheA******, Redditor u/Strange-Chipmunk-254 (otherwise referred to as the original poster, or OP) said he drinks whiskey every night and revealed how his pregnant wife’s heightened sense of smell has driven a wedge between the soon-to-be parents.

Titled, “[Am I the a******] for having alcohol around my pregnant wife?” the post has received nearly 11,000 upvotes and 5,000 comments since November 28.

“My wife is four months pregnant and cannot stand the smell of alcohol,” OP began. “Even the smallest whiff from your breath or clothes will send her spewing.”

Glass of whiskey on table. Members of Reddit’s r/AmITheA****** forum called one father-to-be after he complained of his pregnant wife’s newfound sensitivity to the smell of alcohol.
photographizethis/iStock / Getty Images Plus

Continuing to explain that he loves “whiskey in the evening time,” the original poster said he tried numerous tactics to mitigate the alcohol odor by using mouthwash, changing his clothes and even showering before coming into contact with his wife.

However, the original poster also said his efforts have been unsuccessful—much to his dismay.

“We haven’t even kissed at night due to this and I have tried everything to eliminate the whiskey smell,” OP wrote. “A couple days ago…[I] told her that ‘I promise the smell is gone,’ [so] she proceeds to hug me and quickly runs to the bathroom…to vomit.

“She comes back to tell me that ‘she isn’t coming near me at night until this baby comes out [and] proceeds to tell me that she was ‘right’ and that ‘I am being inconsiderate to her introduction to motherhood,'” OP continued.

“I told her she is overreacting and that it is quite disrespectful,” OP added. “She told me that she isn’t trying to be any of those things, she just can’t stand the smell of alcohol.”

Should Expecting Fathers Drink?

While expecting mothers are responsible for bringing new life into the world, fathers-to-be can play a major role in ensuring their partner’s pregnancy unfolds as smoothly as possible.

And like women who are forced to give up specific foods, beverages and activities while pregnant, some men are expected to give up the same things, either in solidarity or because of the potential for harmful effects.

Paul Zalewski, co-founder of parenting website Fathercraft, told Newsweek that sacrifice is necessary during a partner’s pregnancy and that conceding certain indulgences is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the first stages of fatherhood.

“Hospitals don’t have cigar lounges where dads-to-be hang out and shake hands with each other while their wife is in labor anymore,” Zalewski said. “Extrapolate that change to after your baby is born, and before.

“Yes, this can include making sacrifices and changes,” he added. “Your partner is going to be sacrificing a heck of a lot more than you are. So ask, listen, and pay attention.”

Success as a father is often a result of success as a partner. And according to Zalewski, the easiest way to ensure success for new fathers is to be as engaged as possible, remaining alert and willing to go the extra mile for soon-to-be mothers.

“Whether it’s the proverbial midnight run to the store for ice cream and pickles, sharing the load by researching the best baby gear out there, or a simple nightly foot rub,” he told Newsweek. “Getting involved and finding ways to help from the moment the pregnancy test comes back positive is the way to start your journey into fatherhood, and to being a great partner, off on the right foot.”

‘More Dedicated To Your Whiskey’

Throughout the comment section of the viral Reddit post, many Redditors echoed that sentiment, while simultaneously questioning why the original poster refuses to give up his nightly whiskey, despite his wife’s physical and verbal responses to it.

“Why are you more dedicated to your nightly whiskey than your pregnant wife?” Redditor u/LadyF16 asked in the post’s top comment, which has received more than 56,000 upvotes.

“‘I love my alcohol more than my wife’ is a terrible look for a relationship,” Redditor u/Lilitu9Tails chimed in, receiving nearly 25,000 upvotes.

Redditor u/StAlvis, whose comment has received more than 10,000 upvotes, took a more direct approach in addressing the original poster.

“YOU MADE HER VOMIT,” they exclaimed. “Stop acting like this is all in her head and read the room.”

“Wait, you think she’s being disrespectful because she doesn’t want to puke??” Redditor u/BeJane759 added, exasperatedly. “What sucks is having a husband who thinks that you vomiting is somehow inconvenient for him.”

“She’s vomiting because of you,” another Redditor commented. “That’s not overreacting. You are underreacting.”

Newsweek reached out to u/Strange-Chipmunk-254 for comment. We could not verify the details of the case.

If you have a personal dilemma, let us know via We can ask experts for advice on relationships, family, friends, money and work and your story could be featured on Newsweek’s “What Should I Do? section.

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Macron State Dinner Menu: What Biden Is Serving French President

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are hosting a state dinner on Thursday night for French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron, and while the evening features an array of formal ceremonies and meetings, it also provides an opportunity for the Bidens to showcase their hosting skills with a luxurious dinner.

Thursday’s state dinner will join the list of hundreds held in the White House since 1874, dating back to President Ulysses S. Grant’s hosting of a dinner for King Kalākaua of Hawaii, offering the U.S. a chance to express hospitality to its close allyships.

Welcoming the Macrons to the White House will mark the Biden administration’s first state dinner.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden depart the White House on November 21, 2022. The Bidens are preparing to host their first state dinner to welcome French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife on Thursday.
Nathan Howard/Getty Images

According to the Office of the First Lady, the menu is as follows:

Butter Poached Maine Lobster
American Osetra Caviar
Delicata Squash Raviolo
Tarragon Sauce

Calotte of Beef, Shallot Marmalade
Triple Cooked Butter Potatoes
Sunchoke & Creamed Watercress
Red Wine Reduction

A variety of artisanal cheeses will also be present, including a blue cheese made by Rogue Creamery with milk sourced from Grant Pass, Oregon; a Humboldt Fog goat cheese; and Deer Creek cheddar cheese from a family-run creamery in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

The dessert menu includes Orange Chiffon Cake, Roasted Pears with Citrus Sauce and a Crème Fraiche Ice Cream. The meal will also be served with a choice of 2018 “Napa Valley” Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay, a 2019 “Knights Valley” Anakota Cabernet Sauvignon and a Roederer Estate Brut Rosé.

While the meal will act as the star of the state dinner, the decor and entertainment are bound to be as equally elegant.

The dinner will be produced with the help of Fête, an event planning and design firm led by founder Jung Lee, and will feature decor encapsulating the long history of the relationship between France and the United States.

The Office of the First Lady said images of the Statue of Liberty, oak trees and the Fleur-De-Lis symbol for France will be included in the decor, as well as red, white and blue floral arrangements. Even the wine, which is American, will be served in French-made glasses to symbolize the union between the two nations.

Entertainment will be provided by singer-songwriter Jon Batiste, accompanied by his father, Michael Batiste. The younger Batiste, 36, was most recently the bandleader and musical director of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. This year, he won five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year for We Are.

Newsweek has reached out to the White House for comment.

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Americans Are Stressed About the Holidays, but Less Than Last Year: Study

In a new study, it was announced that Americans are stressed about the holiday season, but not as much as last year.

The holiday season is widely known as “The most wonderful time of the year,” but some want to avoid the holidays as they can be a major stressor.

Sesame is a telehealth marketplace that helps people get in touch with doctors that specialize in various health practices. A recent study conducted by the website, discovered two in five Americans—down from three in five Americans— feel their mental health is affected in a negative way during the holiday season.

A new survey shows Americans are less stressed about the holiday season than last year.
Liubomyr Vorona/iStock / Getty Images Plus

The study consisted of asking 500 people over the age of 18 in the United States about where their mental health stands during the holiday season and the things that cause stress, anxiety and depression.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 49 percent of study participants admitted feeling an increase in anxiety during the holidays—down 11 percent from last year.
  • 41 percent feel a rise in depression— an 11 percent decrease from 2021.
  • Fewer participants (19 percent) are less worried about the COVID-19 pandemic—down from 64 percent in 2021.
  • However, stress about finances remains the same at 64 percent.
  • With the stress Americans are feeling during the holiday season, 38 percent think about going to a therapist for their worries.
  • However, 17 percent would like to seek therapy, but can’t afford it while 10 percent actively see a therapist.
  • Some participants (26 percent) want to see the holidays completely canceled due to the stress that comes with them. Last year, 56 percent of Americans wanted no holiday celebrations.

So, what causes holiday stress?

The study has found that the rise in inflation (38 percent), gift shopping (19 percent), handling “difficult family dynamics” (15 percent), and the COVID-19 pandemic (9 percent) are the top reasons for stress.

With the pandemic still in play, 43 percent of Americans will not be traveling out of town to see family and four in 10 will see less family and friends this year while 40 percent will be saying “no” to big gatherings this year.

“From a clinical perspective, there are a lot of reasons why the holidays can be stressful,” Dr. Allison Edwards, medical director at Sesame told Newsweek.

“Physically, our bodies are often experiencing overload—lack of sleep, staying up later than normal, eating less healthy foods than we typically do, and consuming more alcohol, just to name a few things. Holidays often involve travel, which can throw our bodies out of our typical routine and rhythm and expose us to many more people—and the germs they carry,” Edwards exclaimed.

Holidays can also be stressful on the emotional side as well, Edwards added, that can include having a lot on our minds, having to remember “painful memories,” and having to deal with difficult family dynamics.

How to handle stress during the holidays

  • Take care of yourself: “It’s easy to put yourself last on the list this season or feel like there is no time to rest with a long list of things to do,” Edwards said, “Even 10 minutes here and there is helpful to reset, recharge and relax. Do things you typically like doing: yoga, reading, listening to music, exercising, and sleeping are all good ways to de-stress.”
  • Set boundaries and keep to them: If you’re feeling “too overwhelmed” with any holiday-related event, Edwards suggested taking a step back and saying no to any events that seem too much.
  • Stay connected and keep a support system: It’s important to surround yourself with trusted family and friends. “If you feel the need to isolate or hibernate, reach out to them for support—and don’t be afraid to seek professional support. Mental health is health,” Edwards reminded Newsweek readers.

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The seven tendencies Messi displayed against Poland

DOHA, Qatar — The conceit was simple, ahead of Argentina‘s final group game against Poland: What if you simply watched one player for 90 minutes? And that player, one of the undisputed GOATs, might well be playing his last World Cup game ever. So, pen and pad in hand, I did what I’ve never done before: chronicle one guy’s every moment on the pitch.

Spoiler alert: Argentina beat Poland, 2-0, which means this wasn’t Lionel Messi‘s final appearance at a World Cup. You’ll get to see him again, maybe once, maybe two, three or even four times in Doha. And, yes, there is a chance — never say never — that he may turn up in 2026, although he turns a venerable 36 this summer.

Despite having watched Messi for the past two decades — perhaps 500-plus times on television and at least a hundred times in person — when you zero in on him and nothing else, you pick up things you don’t otherwise see, as well as getting confirmation of things you suspected. Here are some I picked up against Poland:

– World Cup 2022: News and features | Schedule | Squads

1. Messi walks around most of the match

It’s the nature of the game to be walking when the ball isn’t near you, but Messi does it far more than most. This, we knew: Bobby Gardiner’s seminal analysis of Messi walking through the 2018 World Cup is a tremendous read. When you look only at him, though — something you can really only do in person — it is absolutely remarkable how disengaged he appears to be from everything else.

He doesn’t track runners, he may stick out a leg if an opponent is nearby, but mostly he just strolls around. Sometimes he’s looking in the general direction of the ball, sometimes not.

You’re tempted to think it’s energy conservation — after all, the man is 35 years old — and walking means you can save up energy for when you need to sprint. Except Messi, especially at national team level, has been doing this for a long time.

2. Messi has two other speeds: the seldom-used trot and the rarer-style sprint

The trot is what he uses when he needs to get from Point A to Point B in a hurry, usually to avoid being offside or to take a set piece. The sprint is unleashed when the ball is with someone he knows can deliver it to him or when he needs to pull a defender out of position. It’s not something we see often, but, when it happens, it can be devastating.

I counted four occasions, there may have been more. He sprinted towards the far post to win a header (and the generous penalty, which he then missed). He took off as soon as Wojciech Szczesny parried Julian Alvarez‘s shot, as if he knew Alvarez would recover the ball and cross it. On the other occasions, he whipped a ball over the top of the defender to the flank and took off into space, confident that he’d get a return cross (sometimes he did, sometimes he didn’t).

3. Most of Messi’s dribbling runs are generally all the same

What I mean here is that the vast majority of the time, he receives the ball either at a standstill or at a trot and then either stops before taking off again or spins into space. He’s deceptively quick with the ball at his feet, which seems counterintuitive, and he takes on opponents all the time. He doesn’t seem to mind losing the ball, which happened quite a bit against Poland, perhaps because he’s giving it away in spaces where it won’t hurt Argentina (and perhaps because his teammates adjust to the possibility). Whether he loses it or whether he beats three or four opponents, the effect was the same: opposing defenders converge on him, whatever defensive shape was in place is now warped, which means openings are created elsewhere.

4. Messi’s passing party trick is extremely tough to defend

There’s a classic Messi pass from central positions, which, like a Garrincha dribble, opponents know is coming but simply can’t stop. He gets the ball centrally, he fakes a dribble and then twists his body to uncork a a curving left-footed pass that dinks at pace over the defensive line and into the left wing position. Marcos Acuna was the beneficiary of this on three different occasions, but, perhaps, the most stunning version of the pass was the one that found Alvarez late in the game.

Once Messi receives the ball there, it’s a classic triple threat. He may dribble and draw the foul, he may take a touch and shoot or he may pull off that pass to the left. You can’t really defend the pass because you have to be aware of the other options, which, you might say, are the “least bad” ones.

5. Messi spends 90% of the game in the same two areas

One is approximately a third of the way between the “D” at the top of the opposing penalty area and the center circle, the other is wide on the right, just inside the opposition half.

When it’s the former, the outcome is almost always a shot, the aforementioned pass or a dribbling run that results in a foul or a shot (or, if defending well, a turnover). When it’s the latter, at least in this game, it was mostly one of two things: a simple layoff, as if to say, “Nope, not feeling it, you have a go,” or the classic dribbling run, usually from right to left. Again, you know what’s coming.

6. Even when Messi doesn’t get the ball, he wreaks all sorts of havoc as a decoy

His mere presence is disruptive, because if you’re an opposing player, you’re well aware of who he is and what he can do. When he’s not at the top of the “D,” the center-backs wonder where he’s gone. And when he shows up on the right, the opposing team’s left side has an overload to think about.

7. All of the above are obvious Messi patterns, but then he’ll break them without warning

It’s as if he lulls you into a sense of security.

Take the header that led to the missed penalty. You don’t’ expect to see Messi at the far post challenging a 6-foot-4 keeper like Szczesny in the air. Or Argentina’s opening goal: the play unfolded down the right, the cross came from the right and Messi was all the way next to the left touchline. Or two other occasions when he picked up the ball deep in his own half, from his own central defenders.

And there are the moments when he forgets his age — and tricks his body into forgetting it. too. Look at the counterattack where he received the ball in his own half and raced with it into the opposing half, a half-dozen Poland players converging around him like a white cloud and Messi emerging from it to shoot on goal. It was blocked, but still.

This is obviously just a 90-minute-plus-injury-time snapshot of what Messi does at this stage of his career, but it’s typical (missed penalty aside) and it’s still a lot while often appearing to be little. And while it’s familiar, it’s the moments of unfamiliarity that he can still conjure up that give an added layer of threat.

Enjoy it while it lasts.

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World Cup last 16: Why every team left will, won’t win it all in Qatar

A typical World Cup can feel like a marathon, but this one feels like a sprint. After a nonstop, 13-day group stage ends on Friday, there are no days off before the round of 16 begins with Netherlands vs. USA and Australia vs. Argentina on Saturday.

– World Cup 2022: News and features | Schedule

Therefore, we shouldn’t wait to preview the knockout rounds. While the dance card continues to fill in, let’s talk about each qualifying team’s biggest strengths and weaknesses: basically, the reasons they advanced, the reasons they could make a run and the fatal flaws that will probably trip them up at some point.

Editor’s Note: As teams officially qualify for the round of 16, we’ll add them to the list, so check back Thursday night and Friday night for information and updates on the teams from Groups E, F, G and H — though we have included Brazil (Group G) and Portugal (Group H) as their places in the last-16 are already secured — that punch their tickets to the knockouts.

Let’s go!

Argentina (first place, Group C)

Title odds, per FiveThirtyEight: 12%
Round of 16 opponent: Australia (Saturday, 2 p.m. ET)

Why they will win it all: They’ve recovered from losing to Saudi Arabia. As incredible as the Saudis’ 2-1 win was last Tuesday, it was a clear and obvious “sports are dumb sometimes” outcome. Argentina attempted 15 shots worth 2.3 xG, and Saudi Arabia attempted three worth 0.2, but the latter trumped the former, and the Saudis — to their credit — defended wonderfully down the stretch.

Marcotti: The seven tendencies of Messi vs. Poland

That match almost ruined two matches; manager Lionel Scaloni made a ton of lineup changes for what turned out to be a dire and unimpressive performance against Mexico. Somehow a lineup with Leo Messi, Lautaro Martinez and Angel Di Maria attempted only five shots worth 0.3 xG, but Messi’s wonderful long-range goal in the 64th minute allowed them to relax. They saw off Mexico, then dominated Poland, 2-0, in a match that was closer to about 4-0 than 2-1.

There was tension and there were unforced errors, but they finished the group stage atop Group C, with the second-best xG differential in the tournament to date (behind only France). Their defense barely allowed any decent looks over three matches, and they looked the part of the contender they were supposed to be all along.

Why they won’t: Boy, the vibes got dark for a minute, didn’t they? Indeed, despite the fluky nature of the Saudi Arabia loss, Scaloni made five changes to his lineup to bring a performance boost to a side that probably didn’t actually need one. They played far worse, according to both the stat line and the eyeballs. Messi bailed them out, and they may have gotten a long-term boost with how well younger guys like Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez played against Poland. But another bout with that sort of panic likely won’t be rewarded.

Australia (second place, Group D)

Title odds, per FiveThirtyEight: 1%
Round of 16 opponent: Argentina (Saturday, 2 p.m. ET)

Why they will win it all: They take their chances. If we were being particularly cynical (or perhaps realistic), we would call the Socceroos lucky. In three group stage matches, they attempted 21 shots worth just 1.8 xG but pulled three goals from them and stole a pair of 1-0 victories from Tunisia and Denmark. They attempted fewer than half the number of shots (21) as their opponents (50) in the group stage, but advanced.



Rob Dawson reacts to Australia’s 1-0 win over Denmark and speaks about their chances in the World Cup knockout stages.

However, one man’s lucky is another’s clinical. All three of their goals — Craig Goodwin’s counter-strike against France, Mitchell Duke’s flick of a header against Tunisia and Mathew Leckie’s weaving counter against Denmark — were beautifully taken. Against both Tunisia and Denmark, they cluttered shooting lanes and left their opponents with low-percentage opportunities while maximizing the danger they created from minimal looks. If you don’t need many chances to score, you don’t need many chances to pull an upset.

Why they won’t: Okay, fine, they’re lucky. You don’t get outshot more than 2-to-1, with the second-worst xG differential (per-match) of the 32 teams, and advance very far. They got their doors blown off by France, they allowed Tunisia to attempt three of the match’s four most high-value shots (per xG) while scoring on a low-percentage flick, and they have completed just 73% of their pass attempts, second lowest in the competition (ahead of Iran, who still attempted way more shots and created far more shot value). The upsets were awesome to watch, as was the giddy reaction of Australia fans both in the stands and back at home. But this run of fortune isn’t going to last four more matches.

Brazil (qualified from Group G)

Title odds, per FiveThirtyEight: 25%
Round of 16 opponent: TBD



Luis Miguel Echegaray reveals whether he favours Brazil or France as the two sides in the World Cup knockouts.

Why they will win it all: Party in the front (eventually), veterans in the back. Hiring a conservative coach (Tite) to lead a squad full of flamboyant attackers can easily backfire without the right balance and man management. You play away from your strengths, the attackers get frustrated, and things fall apart.

In his six-plus years in charge of the Selecao, Tite has mostly found said balance. Brazil have allowed just 27 goals and lost only five times in his 78 matches in charge. Four of the five losses were by one-nil margins — which hints at how things look when they go wrong, but they don’t go wrong often.

The veteran base of defenders Thiago Silva (38) and Marquinhos (28) and midfielder Casemiro (30) was an unsolvable puzzle for both Serbia and Switzerland, who combined to attempt just 11 shots worth 0.48 xG, putting none on target. And as both opponents grew tired and frustrated, the Brazilian attack eventually kicked in, and they booked their last-16 spot with two wins. What has worked for six years under Tite has worked in Qatar.

Why they won’t: The attack runs through Neymar (who’s hurt once again). Brazil overwhelmed Serbia with 19 shots and two goals in the second half. The ball was constantly at Neymar’s feet — he had the most touches of any non-defender — and the eventual goals, both from Richarlison, felt inevitable.

Neymar left the match after 80 minutes, however, after suffering damaged ankle ligaments. Without their focal point, Brazil resorted to aimless crossing against Switzerland (25 of them, with only a 16% completion rate) and attempted only 13 shots. They eventually took control with a scruffy late goal from Casemiro, but the attack wasn’t nearly as smooth without its center of gravity, whose return to the competition is unknown.

England (first place, Group B)

Title odds, per FiveThirtyEight: 9%
Round of 16 opponent: Senegal (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET)



England fans at Boxpark by Wembley Stadium celebrate the two goals early in the second half.

Why they will win it all: Set pieces. They were England’s secret weapon in the 2018 World Cup, where they scored six set-piece goals (four from corners) in seven matches, two of which put them ahead in both the quarterfinals and semifinals.

They’ve only got two such goals so far — one from Bukayo Saka on a corner against Iran and one from a scorching Marcus Rashford free kick that opened the scoring against Wales — but it remains a clear advantage as they’ve created 10 shots from set pieces, and opponents have yet to attempt one. (The US created seven corner-kick opportunities but got no quality looks from them.)

When you’ve got as much talent as anyone in the competition, and you’ve got a cheat code for creating solid scoring chances, you’re in great shape.

Why they won’t: The subs are doing too well? It’s an odd critique, admittedly, but the England attack is in a strange place at the moment. The Three Lions scored nine goals in the group stage with Gareth Southgate’s first-choice attacking trio of Harry Kane, Saka and Raheem Sterling performing relatively well, scoring three goals and creating a combined 2.18 expected goals (xG) and expected assists (xA) in a total of 512 minutes. That’s a rate of 0.38 combined xG+xA per 90 minutes. The trio of Rashford, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish, however, combined for a torrid five goals and 3.37 xG+xA in just 271 minutes, 1.12 per 90.

History suggests Southgate will stick to his guns when it comes to lineup selections, and having prolific bench players who are commanding a higher workload is a great problem to have. But it can still be a problem if you aren’t putting your most in-form and effective lineup on the pitch as the matches increase in importance. The last thing you want to do is leave available goals unclaimed while trying to bring the World Cup trophy home.

France (first place, Group D)

Title odds, per FiveThirtyEight: 11%
Round of 16 opponent: Poland (Sunday, 10 a.m. ET)

Why they will win it all: Kylian Mbappe. France quickly secured advancement to the knockout rounds by taking care of Australia and Denmark by a combined 6-2 — which allowed them to field an extremely rotation-heavy squad against Tunisia — but that score line doesn’t do justice to the levels of domination in those two matches. They outshot their opponents by a combined 44-14 and created 6.8 xG while allowing just 1.2; while Australia were obviously outmanned, Denmark were considered a World Cup sleeper by many and could manage just two shot attempts in the first 67 minutes.

At the heart of France’s success, of course, has been Mbappe, the FIFA Young Player Award winner at the last World Cup and the current front-runner for Golden Ball winner at this one. As ESPN’s Ryan O’Hanlon laid out after two matches, the best player in the world is playing some of his best-ever ball at the best possible time.



Julien Laurens doesn’t hold back as he rips into Didier Deschamps and the French players after their 1-0 loss to Tunisia in Qatar.

Why they won’t: The wrong kind of conservatism. The modern game is one of pressing and possession, and it would make sense that most of the tournament favorites do those things well. There are currently eight teams with betting odds of +1400 or better to win the World Cup, and six of them currently rank in the top eight in passes allowed per defensive action (PPDA, a common measure of defensive intensity), all averaging under 12.0 PPDA. Brazil (12.2, 11th in the competition) is close. France (18.5, 26th) is not.

For all of their absurd talent, they were downright passive against Denmark, allowing the Danes to average 6.4 passes per possession and end 50% of their possessions in the attacking third. This opened up space for transition attacks — something that the impossibly fast Mbappe and his teammates can thrive in at times — but it also raised a question: How will the French fare among the best possession teams in the field if they can’t (or won’t) take the ball away from them?

Netherlands (first place, Group A)

Title odds, per FiveThirtyEight: 5%
Round of 16 opponent: USA (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET)

Why they will win it all: They turn you over. Louis van Gaal’s Dutch team is active. They lead the competition with the fewest passes allowed per defensive action (9.3) and despite leading for the majority of each group-stage match, they started 29 possessions in the attacking third to opponents’ 17. Midfielder Frenkie de Jong leads the team in ball recoveries, but the pressure is a full-team effort: Netherlands have commanded 57% of overall touches in the attacking third with a 57% possession rate.

They’ve got the raw defensive talent — Virgil Van Dijk, Nathan Ake, Jurrien Timber, Matthijs de Ligt — to safeguard them while pressing heavily (goalkeeper Andries Noppert has been excellent, too), and they put the ball in more dangerous areas than opponents.



Mark Ogden explains why he think Senegal are the stronger of the two sides to advance from Group A at the World Cup.

Why they won’t: no creativity. For such an active team, the Dutch sure are stolid in attack. Despite all that possession in dangerous areas, they managed just 10 shots worth 0.7 xG against Senegal and two worth 0.1 against Ecuador; they were fortunate to win the former match and draw the latter, and if Cody Gakpo hadn’t scored with his only shot in both matches, they wouldn’t have.

Gakpo, the increasingly sought-after PSV Eindhoven attacker, has scored three goals from four shots worth just 0.3 xG. The rest of his teammates have scored just two goals from 21 shots worth 2.5. They neither create high-quality or high-volume shots – they averaged just 0.3 big chances created (“a situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score,” as defined by StatsPerform) in the group stage; only two teams averaged fewer, and that will eventually become a clear issue if it does not change.

This makes their matchup with the United States an interesting one: Both teams have a lot of the same strengths and same weaknesses.

Title odds, per FiveThirtyEight: 1%
Round of 16 opponent: France

Why they will win it all: They’ve got the hottest goalkeeper in the competition. StatPerform’s Goals Prevented measure compares the goals you’ve allowed to the post-shot xG value of the shots opponents put on your goal. Based solely on that xG figure, Poland should have allowed about six goals in the group stage; they allowed only two because Wojciech Szczesny stood on his damn head. He stopped penalties from both Messi and Saudi Arabia‘s Salem Al Dawsari, he stopped close-range efforts from Al Dawsari and Argentina‘s Rodrigo De Paul, and he saved 18 total shots on goal in three matches.

Allow even three goals instead of two – which would have still been overachieving – and Poland would be on a plane home right now.

Why they won’t: They can’t create opportunities for one of the best strikers in the world. In 19 matches with Barcelona this season, Robert Lewandowski has averaged 4.5 shots, 0.8 xG and 1.1 goals per 90 minutes. In three World Cup matches, he’s averaged 2.3 shots, 0.6 xG and 0.3 goals. He scored his first ever World Cup goal against Saudi Arabia, but missed on a late chip in the same match and had a penalty saved against Mexico. Those were his only three shots on goal in three matches. He barely touched the ball against Argentina and attempted zero shots.

Lewandowski isn’t Poland’s only high-level player, of course — 14 other members of the roster play for clubs in Europe’s Big Five leagues — but when your headliner is neither getting the service he needs nor taking advantage of the opportunities he gets, your ceiling isn’t going to be very high. He could unleash a hat trick at any time, but if he couldn’t do it against Saudi Arabia, it’s fair to assume the odds aren’t high that he will do it against France.

Portugal (qualified from Group H)

Title odds, per FiveThirtyEight: 8%
Round of 16 opponent: TBD

Why they will win it all: Where passing is harder, Portugal is better. One would assume that a squad featuring Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Raphael Guerreiro and Joao Cancelo would be one of the more creative in the competition, and that has played out thus far. They have been fortunate in the finishing department — they created shots worth 3.3 xG in their first two matches but scored five goals from them, and they scored one of their goals when Cristiano Ronaldo whiffed on a Fernandes cross (which fooled the Uruguayan goalkeeper) — but they still created plenty of chances, and they made sure that they were the only team regularly completing passes into dangerous areas.

Pass completion rate into the attacking third:

  • Portugal 81%, Ghana 57% (Portugal won, 3-2)

  • Portugal 79%, Uruguay 64% (Portugal won, 2-0)

Fernandes and Silva have both completed 40 passes into the final third (with a ridiculous 86% completion rate), and the stalwart Portuguese defense, led by center-backs Ruben Dias along with veterans Danilo Pereira (31) and Pepe (39), has fended off most threatening buildups. Even one of Ghana’s goals came on a cross that a defender deflected.

Why they won’t: You have to hold onto leads to win it all. When their first two matches were tied, Portugal dominated, controlling 69% of possession, attempting 19 shots worth 2.0 xG, allowing just six shots worth 0.7 and scoring three times. Dominant.

Once they were ahead, however, they sacrificed a dangerous amount of control. They allowed two goals to Ghana (one to tie the match at 1-1, one to make it 3-2), and in those two matches their possession rate fell to 45% with opponents attempting 14 shots to their seven. While Brazil’s Tite has pulled off a solid balance of conservatism and attacking flair, one could argue that Portugal’s Fernando Santos hasn’t quite found that same balance.



Mark Ogden gives his analysis on the 2-0 win over Uruguay in Group H that takes Portugal into the round of 16 at the World Cup.

Senegal (second place, Group A)

Title odds, per FiveThirtyEight: 1%
Round of 16 opponent: England

Why they will win it all: transition. Tuesday’s Senegal vs. Ecuador match pitted two of the best transition teams in the competition. In their first two matches, Ecuador had scored two of their three goals from what I call “transition possessions” — possessions beginning outside of the attacking third and lasting 20 or fewer seconds — and had not allowed opponents a single shot in those possessions. But against Senegal, the shoe was on the other foot. Senegal created two early high-quality transition opportunities and allowed Ecuador none.

That’s been the story of the competition for Senegal. Their xG differential in transition possessions is +0.8, fourth-best among teams in the knockout rounds, and while they were decent in transition attack (one goal, 0.96 xG), their primary strength was in completely snuffing out opponents’ opportunities. The defensive spine of keeper Edouard Mendy, center-backs Kalidou Koulibaly and Abdou Diallo and defensive midfielder Nampalys Mendy is as stout as just about any in the World Cup.

Why they won’t: You’ve got to finish. When the news came down that star Sadio Mane was going to miss the World Cup due to injury, it was fair to wonder how the heck Senegal was going to put the ball in the net.

It’s still fair to wonder, too. While they handled Qatar with ease, and they attempted plenty of shots against higher-level opponents Netherlands and Ecuador, the finishing indeed lacked. They attempted 28 non-penalty shots worth 2.14 xG in those two matches but scored just once from them, via a deflection to Koulibaly on a free kick. (They also scored on an Ismaila Sarr penalty against Ecuador.) They have been decent at generating set-piece opportunities, but in open play they are creating almost no threat against solid opposition.

United States (second place, Group B)

Title odds, per FiveThirtyEight: 1%
Round of 16 opponent: Netherlands

Why they will win it all: The midfield is relentless. Wales couldn’t move the ball through the midfield, so they started booting long-balls to a tall forward. Jude Bellingham had 10 touches in the first 13 minutes but only 40 thereafter as England found passing lanes through the midfield untenable. (Mason Mount had only 45 total touches in 90 minutes.) Iran only created 60 total touches in the attacking third until Weston McKennie went off the field in the 65 minutes. (They created 64 in the final 25 minutes.)

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

Relentless running and pressing from the trio of McKennie (24), Yunus Musah (20) and captain Tyler Adams (23) and fullbacks Sergino Dest (22) and Antonee Robinson (25) has made advancing the ball into dangerous areas almost impossible and allowed the U.S. to control large portions of games — granted, without generating a large number of quality scoring opportunities — against not only Wales and Iran but also England. And if they were able to control Bellingham and Mount, they can control most of the midfields in this competition.

Why they won’t: Matches are 90 minutes long. One problem with relentless running and pressing: It wears you out, especially when some of your most important players came into the World Cup with recent injuries and fitness concerns. McKennie is only averaging 69.3 minutes per match, Dest 78.0. And as these players begin to tire, the Americans’ effectiveness vanishes.

  • xG, first 60 min: USA 2.19, opponents 0.91 (actual score: US 2-0)

  • xG, last 30 min: opponents 2.23, USA 0.35 (actual score: opponent 1-0)

Fatigue has indeed limited certain key players, and manager Gregg Berhalter’s substitution decisions (both timing and personnel) have been, to put it diplomatically, shaky. When things move into game management mode, the U.S. quickly frays. And the fatigue isn’t going to suddenly get better as the tournament progresses.

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Shraddha murder case: Delhi Police suspicious of Aaftab’s ‘obedient’ behaviour – Hindustan Times

Updated on Nov 30, 2022 11:01 PM IST

Initially, Aaftab was trying to misguide the Mumbai Police. But, once the case came under the jurisdiction of Delhi Police, he started confessing the whole crime. So, the police is suspecting this might be a part of his plans.

Delhi Police had submitted in court that Aaftab was giving wrong information and was misleading the investigation. (ANI)
ANI | | Posted by Yagya Sharma

In another development in the Shraddha murder case, the police want to conduct the narco test of Aaftab Amin Poonawala at the earliest to find out if anything new is brewing in his mind.

One of the investigators in the case told ANI that Aaftab is very clever and can anytime bring a new ‘twist’ to the case.

Also Read| Aaftab Poonawala confesses murdering Shraddha Walkar during polygraph test

He said Aaftab has completely obeyed what the police told him to do. He confessed his crime, co-operated with police, and agreed to the polygraph and narco test. But now the police have started feeling suspicious about his ‘good’ behaviour.

Initially, Aaftab was trying to misguide the Mumbai Police. But, once the case came under the jurisdiction of Delhi Police, he started confessing the whole crime. So, the police is suspecting this might be a part of his plans.

Also Read| Aaftab gifted perfume, ring to psychiatrist whom he dated after killing Shraddha; ‘Always seemed normal, caring’

Now, the police want to conduct Aaftab’s narco test at the earliest, so that everything going on in his mind comes out to the police. The police also got the date of the narco test preponed to December 1 from December 5, given by the court earlier.

Earlier on Tuesday, Delhi Court gave permission to Delhi Police to conduct a narco test on the Shraddha Walker accused Aaftab Amin Poonawala on December 1.

Special CP (law and order) Sagar Preet Hooda had said that Delhi Police will seek permission from the court for the test.

Aaftab is accused of strangling his live-in partner Shraddha to death and chopping her body into 35 pieces. He is also alleged to have preserved the chopped body parts in a refrigerator before dumping them in forested areas in Delhi and Gurugram.

Police had earlier said Aaftab, who confessed to killing Shraddha and chopping her body into 35 pieces, was giving misleading answers to questions.

Delhi Police had submitted in court that Aaftab was giving wrong information and was misleading the investigation.

Saudi Arabia vs Mexico, FIFA World Cup 2022 Live Updates: MEX defeat KSA 1-2 but bow out of the WC – The Indian Express

Saudi Arabia’s Firas Al-Buraikan reacts at the end of the World Cup group C soccer match between Saudi Arabia and Mexico, at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Saudi Arabia vs Mexico, FIFA World Cup 2022 Highlights: Henry Martin and Luis Chaves each scored in Mexico’s furious attempt to stay alive at the World Cup, but the 2-1 victory Wednesday night over Saudi Arabia was not enough.

Because of Argentina’s 2-0 victory over Poland in a simultaneous match, Mexico failed to advance out of its group for the first time since 1978.

Mexico had reached the round of 16 at the last seven World Cups, which was tied with Brazil for the longest current streak.

Follow Saudi Arabia vs Mexico FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Highlights

Follow Saudi Arabia vs Mexico, FIFA World Cup 2022 Highlights: KSA faced MEX at Lusail Stadium.

In a Trump v. DeSantis Matchup, Latinos Could be the Decider

The possible battle lines of the 2024 election came into focus over the course of one week in November. Ron DeSantis cruised to re-election, making him a frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 2024, just days before Donald Trump announced his intention to run for president a third time.

The two current heavyweights of the Republican Party seem destined for a coming clash, with Trump already nicknaming the Florida governor “Ron DeSanctimonious,” publicly citing a poll showing him leading DeSantis in a potential matchup, and telling the story that DeSantis came to him for help in 2017, desperate and “politically dead.”

DeSantis responded by saying that when you’re leading and getting things done “you take incoming fire,” and that at the end of the day, “I would just tell people to go check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night.”

And tucked away in a survey conducted for Bienvenido by the noted Washington D.C. polling firm WPA Intelligence, which accurately predicted the improvement Republicans made with Hispanics in the midterm elections, is a finding that indicates Latinos could be critical in deciding who comes out on top of a Trump-DeSantis clash.

The survey showed that DeSantis had a higher net favorability rating among Latino voters, at 5%, while Trump’s was the lowest of those polled, at -13%, an 18-point differential.

Posters of former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis hang in a booth at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at The Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida on February 24, 2022.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A grassroots Latino progressive group in Florida came up with similar results in their own pre-midterm poll.

Mi Vecino surveyed 500 Hispanic Republicans via text, asking if they preferred DeSantis or Trump. The results showed that 41.7% were pro-DeSantis and anti-Trump, 29% supported Trump and viewed DeSantis as an usurper, and only 15% were supportive of both.

While on his way to beating Charlie Crist by 19 points in the race for governor, DeSantis also won heavily-Hispanic Miami-Dade County, becoming the first Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate to win the Latino vote in 20 years.

Republicans across the country took notice.

“If you’re a Republican strategist who cares about bringing more Hispanics into the party, you should be looking at Florida as an example to follow,” said Giancarlo Sopo, the founder of Visto Media, who was involved with the Bienvenido poll, and previously ran Spanish-language rapid response for the Trump campaign.

“DeSantis didn’t just do it with Cubans,” he said. “He did it with non-Cubans as well.”

Nelson Diaz, the former chair of the Miami-Dade Republican Party, was so moved by the total domination of DeSantis on Election Day that he endorsed him for president. Despite telling Newsweek in January that he “adored” both “incredible leaders,” he found himself responding to “the massiveness of the sea change that occurred in Miami-Dade.”

But not all of the data show DeSantis easily surpassing Trump with Hispanics.

Some Florida Republicans note that it was the Trump campaign’s laser-focus on the state for the four years after he became president that led to his impressive showing in 2020. And those same Republicans acknowledge that he made it easier for DeSantis to take the baton and run with it in the Sunshine State.

Although Cuban-Americans are not a large percentage of the Latino community nationally, they are definitely a force in Florida politics — and they are still firmly in the Trump camp, by a large majority.

Fernand Amandi, the top consultant for Obama’s Latino voter polling during both campaigns, found in a poll this year that 75% of Cuban-American voters favored Trump over DeSantis head-to-head.

Some of that love was present during Trump’s rally in Florida just days before the election, and he gleefully seized on it.

“The socialist, communist and Marxist direction of the radical Democratic Party is one of the biggest reasons that Hispanic Americans are joining our movement by the millions and millions and millions,” Trump said.

According to the Miami Herald’s Bianca Padró Ocasio, the crowd started chanting. “We love you! We love you!”

“Oh do I love you,” Trump responded. “You have no idea how much.”

Jesus Marquez, a campaign advisor for Republican candidate Adam Laxalt in Nevada, whose loss to the incumbent Latina Senator Catherine Cortez Masto ultimately sealed continued Democratic control of the Senate, told Newsweek that while DeSantis was impressive on Election Day, he still ultimately backs Trump.

“In my view, and people in the base, he’s the one that can put up the fight,” Marquez said.

Asked about the view of some Republicans, including Diaz in Miami, that Trump cost Republicans the Senate by backing personalities like Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, who lost, and Herschel Walker in Georgia, whose race went to a runoff, Marquez said Trump is not to blame for the defeats.

Citing the Laxalt race, he said the Democratic rule change of sending mail ballots to every voter in Nevada helped them, and also said that groups like the powerful Culinary Union had 200 to 300 people available to help with the painstaking process of curing ballots that had problems such as signatures or similar issues.

He said the Republican Party is going to have to react to these changes when voters return to the polls.

“Next cycle we have to adapt to the new system,” Marquez argued, “which is what Donald Trump is going to be doing.”

While Trump is still popular with Hispanic Republicans, some in the Party believe they are souring on him along with many other Republicans.

One Republican strategist said it will soon be clear that DeSantis adeptly brings together the different wings of the party, “from Reagan Republicans to the more Trumpy Republicans.”

“He’s a very unifying figure,” the source said, noting Trump’s higher negatives with Republicans, and arguing that DeSantis does better with independent voters, who don’t like Trump at all.

Evelyn Pérez-Verdía, a Democratic strategist and expert with two decades of experience in messaging to Spanish-speakers and combatting disinformation campaigns aimed at Latinos, said DeSantis was smart to take his Hispanic outreach to communities other than Cuban-Americans, citing the Colombian-American Republican Convention in August that featured DeSantis and Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott.

She noted that those invited were being asked whether they were Democrats, Republicans, or independents, which showed an effort to reach across the aisle.

Pérez-Verdía said it’s this kind of robust outreach that should make Democrats nervous. She told of an encounter she had after at a recent asado in Tampa with friends, in which a “strong Ecuadorian Obama and Biden voter” told her that “with the way the Democratic Party is going, if they don’t have a good candidate for president, I might vote for someone like DeSantis.”

Some Republicans argue that Trump can barely get out of his own way, which still has the potential to torpedo his candidacy.

According to a source in Trump’s orbit, a draft of his announcement speech included a damning line once again embracing the Big Lie that he won the 2020 election, before it was ultimately struck from his remarks.

“One of first sentences in his speech was going to be that he’s best-positioned to run because he’s won two national elections,” a source said.

On the influential Spanish-language airwaves in south Florida, hosts and analysts are still wary of taking sides in the possible Trump-DeSantis war, but many listeners have no such compunctions. Some who like both men have suggested that Trump should run now and DeSantis should wait his turn in 2028, the Miami Herald reported.

“We love DeSantis for what he’s done in Florida,” one woman calling in to Pérez Castellón’s “Ninoska en Mambí” show said, adding, “You have to give 100% of the credit to Trump, and after that to DeSantis.”

At his rally, Trump seemed to revel in the knowledge that he still has fervent backers among the Hispanic community.

“They say it’s the Trump party they’re coming to,” Trump said. “I say, let it be the Republican Party. But you do like me, I know that.”

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