epa06807785 Brazi's Neymar attends a training session in Sochi, Russia, 14 June 2018. The Brazilian team prepares for the FIFA World Cup 2018 taking place in Russia from 14 June until 15 July 2018. Brazil will face Switzerland in the FIFA World Cup 2018 Group E preliminary round soccer match on 17 June 2018. 

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Neymar and his Brazil teammates have been treated to a more relaxed environment in Russia compared to four years ago. Bartlomiej Zborowski / EPA

Brazil look to learn from lessons of 2014 by creating relaxed environment for Neymar and teammates



In a bid to rebuild belief in the Brazilian national team, coach Tite has borrowed a tactic that recently worked well for their modern nemeses.

At the 2014 World Cup, Germany were based in a luxurious camp in the northern state of Bahia, but were afforded the freedom to mix and mingle with the locals.

Such did the Germans ingratiate themselves that even after humiliating their hosts 7-1 in the semi-final, the likes of Mesut Ozil and Bastian Schweinsteiger were welcomed back to their base by Brazilians singing their names.

Now, in the southern Russian city of Sochi, Brazil are adopting a similar tact.

Staying at the five-star Swissotel Resort Kamelia, with its wide balconies and shared facilities, the players have been notably visible this week.

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As residents and tourists alike sip drinks on the ground level cafe, the Brazil players loom over them from the veranda above.

Neymar has been seen interacting with fans and taking selfies on the city’s promenade, while Tite’s backroom staff enjoy regular post-training trips to the beach.

It is a far cry from the pressurised environment of four years ago when family and friends were banished and the players later revealed they felt isolated and shut off.

Here they have the option; privacy is possible, but so too is the chance to interact, sample the culture, and get a sense of occasion.

Tite and team manager Edu Gaspar hope the more relaxed atmosphere will help the players perform free of nerves. Their country may not yet have forgotten what happened in Belo Horizonte against Germany, but there remains expectations to compete; expectations to bring home a record sixth title.

Back home, local cinemas are showing the games live with tickets selling for R$40 (Dh40).

"The national team has gone through many highs and lows since the 2014 World Cup,” said midfielder Willian.

“Today we are very mature and know what we have to do on the pitch. With the arrival of Tite, he brought various ideas and we bring these into the training and games. Brazil is living in a very good moment, matured a lot and are really ready to contest the World Cup.”

Having left their home comforts in Sochi on Saturday, a Seleção will get their campaign underway on Sunday in Rostov-on-Don against Switzerland, ranked sixth in the world after winning nine consecutive games.

The European side’s head coach, Vladimir Petkovic, unsurprisingly highlighted Neymar as the opposition danger man.

“Of course Neymar is an exceptional player," Petkovic said on Saturday. "It is difficult to hold him back throughout an entire match.

"Along with Cristiano Ronaldo, he is one of the strongest players in the world. We have to prepare mentally to play against such strong players.”

Brazil are undoubtedly a different beast to that of 2014 that had flattered to deceive on their way to the last four.

Tite has brought a tactical solidity to the side, while the emergence of striker Gabriel Jesus as well as Philippe Coutinho and the resurgence of Paulinho has taken some of the reliance off Neymar.

Yet there is no getting away from the 26-year-old’s importance to the side's hopes of success.

Having famously missed the 7-1 with a fractured vertebrae, Neymar has in 85 games scored 55 goals for his country, just seven less than Ronaldo who twice won the World Cup, in 1994 and 2002.

Now a television pundit and Fifa ambassador, the 41-year-old is certain it is only a matter of time before Neymar overtakes him.

“I hope that he passes me, and passes Pele too,” Ronaldo said, in reference to Brazil’s record goalscorer, who netted 77 times during his international career.

“Look what it would mean if he made this. I say it will happen. He has ambition, he always strives for goals. Soon he will pass me.”

If he does it this month, he will likely have plenty new friends in Sochi to celebrate with.

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 630bhp

Torque: 900Nm

Price: Dh810,000

Quick pearls of wisdom

Focus on gratitude: And do so deeply, he says. “Think of one to three things a day that you’re grateful for. It needs to be specific, too, don’t just say ‘air.’ Really think about it. If you’re grateful for, say, what your parents have done for you, that will motivate you to do more for the world.”

Know how to fight: Shetty married his wife, Radhi, three years ago (he met her in a meditation class before he went off and became a monk). He says they’ve had to learn to respect each other’s “fighting styles” – he’s a talk it-out-immediately person, while she needs space to think. “When you’re having an argument, remember, it’s not you against each other. It’s both of you against the problem. When you win, they lose. If you’re on a team you have to win together.” 

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Washmen Profile

Date Started: May 2015

Founders: Rami Shaar and Jad Halaoui

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: Laundry

Employees: 170

Funding: about $8m

Funders: Addventure, B&Y Partners, Clara Ventures, Cedar Mundi Partners, Henkel Ventures

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

THE BIO: Martin Van Almsick

Hometown: Cologne, Germany

Family: Wife Hanan Ahmed and their three children, Marrah (23), Tibijan (19), Amon (13)

Favourite dessert: Umm Ali with dark camel milk chocolate flakes

Favourite hobby: Football

Breakfast routine: a tall glass of camel milk

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

What is Genes in Space?

Genes in Space is an annual competition first launched by the UAE Space Agency, The National and Boeing in 2015.

It challenges school pupils to design experiments to be conducted in space and it aims to encourage future talent for the UAE’s fledgling space industry. It is the first of its kind in the UAE and, as well as encouraging talent, it also aims to raise interest and awareness among the general population about space exploration.

Quick facts
  • Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL) offers free guided tours of art in the metro and at the stations
  • The tours are free of charge; all you need is a valid SL ticket, for which a single journey (valid for 75 minutes) costs 39 Swedish krone ($3.75)
  • Travel cards for unlimited journeys are priced at 165 Swedish krone for 24 hours
  • Avoid rush hour – between 9.30 am and 4.30 pm – to explore the artwork at leisure
CREW

Director: Rajesh A Krishnan

Starring: Tabu, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kriti Sanon

Rating: 3.5/5

UAE tour of the Netherlands

UAE squad: Rohan Mustafa (captain), Shaiman Anwar, Ghulam Shabber, Mohammed Qasim, Rameez Shahzad, Mohammed Usman, Adnan Mufti, Chirag Suri, Ahmed Raza, Imran Haider, Mohammed Naveed, Amjad Javed, Zahoor Khan, Qadeer Ahmed
Fixtures:
Monday, 1st 50-over match
Wednesday, 2nd 50-over match
Thursday, 3rd 50-over match

Avatar (2009)

Director: James Cameron

Stars: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver

Rating: 3/5

Explainer: Tanween Design Programme

Non-profit arts studio Tashkeel launched this annual initiative with the intention of supporting budding designers in the UAE. This year, three talents were chosen from hundreds of applicants to be a part of the sixth creative development programme. These are architect Abdulla Al Mulla, interior designer Lana El Samman and graphic designer Yara Habib.

The trio have been guided by experts from the industry over the course of nine months, as they developed their own products that merge their unique styles with traditional elements of Emirati design. This includes laboratory sessions, experimental and collaborative practice, investigation of new business models and evaluation.

It is led by British contemporary design project specialist Helen Voce and mentor Kevin Badni, and offers participants access to experts from across the world, including the likes of UK designer Gareth Neal and multidisciplinary designer and entrepreneur, Sheikh Salem Al Qassimi.

The final pieces are being revealed in a worldwide limited-edition release on the first day of Downtown Designs at Dubai Design Week 2019. Tashkeel will be at stand E31 at the exhibition.

Lisa Ball-Lechgar, deputy director of Tashkeel, said: “The diversity and calibre of the applicants this year … is reflective of the dynamic change that the UAE art and design industry is witnessing, with young creators resolute in making their bold design ideas a reality.”

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

MATCH DETAILS

Chelsea 4 

Jorginho (4 pen, 71 pen), Azpilicueta (63), James (74)

Ajax 4

Abraham (2 og), Promes (20). Kepa (35 og), van de Beek (55) 

Winners

Best Men's Player of the Year: Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

Maradona Award for Best Goal Scorer of the Year: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

TikTok Fans’ Player of the Year: Robert Lewandowski

Top Goal Scorer of All Time: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)

Best Women's Player of the Year: Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)

Best Men's Club of the Year: Chelsea

Best Women's Club of the Year: Barcelona

Best Defender of the Year: Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus/Italy)

Best Goalkeeper of the Year: Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG/Italy)

Best Coach of the Year: Roberto Mancini (Italy)

Best National Team of the Year: Italy

Best Agent of the Year: Federico Pastorello

Best Sporting Director of the Year: Txiki Begiristain (Manchester City)

Player Career Award: Ronaldinho

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

Specs

Power train: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and synchronous electric motor
Max power: 800hp
Max torque: 950Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
Battery: 25.7kWh lithium-ion
0-100km/h: 3.4sec
0-200km/h: 11.4sec
Top speed: 312km/h
Max electric-only range: 60km (claimed)
On sale: Q3
Price: From Dh1.2m (estimate)


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