Germany want power show, Czechs eye ‘little miracle’

first_imgDespite his flattery, the Czechs meet a German team capable of dominating opponents, yet can struggle to turn possession into pressure.Germany are currently a long way from the polished goal-machine which lifted the World Cup two years ago.Jarolim is in a rebuilding phase without the likes of veteran play-maker Tomas Rosicky, the Arsenal legend now at Sparta Prague, and Gunners’ goalkeeper Petr Cech.Both wing backs, Gebre Selassie of Werder Bremen and Pavel Kaderabek of Hoffenheim, ply their trade in Germany’s top flight.Sampdoria’s 20-year-old striker Patrik Schick is set to win just his second cap.The Czechs were held to a goalless draw by Northern Ireland in their opening qualifier in Prague on September 4, the same night Germany enjoyed a 3-0 win away to Norway when Thomas Mueller netted twice.Germany’s aim is to stay top of Group C by beating the Czechs, then Northern Ireland next Tuesday in Hanover.“We have the clear goal of remaining group leaders,” said captain Manuel Neuer.“We have two important games in front of us and we want six points.”Germany’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (R) and midfielder Ilkay Guendogan attend a press conference in Hamburg, Germany on October 6, 2016 prior to the match against the Czech Republic © AFP / Patrik StollarzDespite the Czechs’ rebuilding, Germany head coach Joachim Loew is full of respect.“This will be our toughest competitor in the group, they have good individuals. On paper, they are the strongest in the group,” said Loew.The 56-year-old suffered the heaviest home loss in his decade in charge in October 2007 when the Czechs clinched a 3-0 win in Munich in a qualifier for Euro 2008.The main concern in the German camp is efficiency.Finishing chances and converting pressure into goals was their major stumbling block at Euro 2016 and remains an issue.Loew is without Mario Gomez as his only out-and-out striker has a glute injury.In his absence, the onus on providing goals will fall to Mueller, Mario Goetze and Kevin Volland.Yet none of the trio has hit the net for their respective clubs Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Hoffenheim after six rounds of Bundesliga matches.Loew had identified the national team’s main problem, which his players are now under pressure to fix.“We need too many shots for a goal, our chance-conversion rate is a matter of concentration in the final phase and in our mentality,” he said.Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion is set to be a sell-out, but Neuer wants a good performance to silence the whistles the national team has experienced following below-par performances in recent home games.“Of course, we always want to put in a good display and play well for the fans, but the most important thing is the victory — it’s about what counts,” said Germany’s captain.“We’re hoping for a good atmosphere, so that everyone goes home happy — and we aren’t subjected to a concert of whistles.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Germany attend a training session in Hamburg on October 6, 2016 prior to the WC 2018 qualification match against the Czech Republic © AFP / Patrik StollarzBERLIN, Germany, Oct 7 – Germany want a show of power in Saturday’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against a Czech Republic side hoping for ‘a little miracle’ against the world champions.“We’re playing against a team that can only be defeated in exceptional circumstances. We hope for a little miracle,” Czech coach Karel Jarolim told German magazine Kicker.last_img read more

Hits send studio into stratosphere

first_imgCULVER CITY “Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby” did a lot more than give star Will Ferrell the biggest opening weekend of his career. This NASCAR parody has propelled Sony Pictures Entertainment to its fifth straight year of reaching $1 billion in domestic grosses. This is extremely rarified air. Warner Bros., which has struggled this summer, is the only other studio to have accomplished the $1 billion milestone in five consecutive years. Sony is also poised to surpass Disney this week to take over as the No. 1 studio in terms of market share for 2006, a feat accomplished largely by releasing a steady stream of midlevel hits throughout the first seven months of the year. “Consistency is always something that I think any studio strives for,” Sony Vice Chairman Jeff Blake said Tuesday. “There are three studios circling $1 billion and because of Talladega Nights,’ we’ve kind of put our nose out in front here.” Sony has been neck-and-neck with Disney and 20th Century Fox this summer but “Talladega” has put the wind behind the studio’s back as it heads into the remaining four weekends of summer. “Talladega” added $7 million to its total on Monday, indicating it will continue to play strong during the week. Of the 14 films Sony has released so far this year, nine have had opening weekends of $20 million or more, while eight of the movies have debuted in first place. “Basic Instinct 2” is one of the few Sony releases to completely nose-dive at the box office in 2006. “Sony is one of the few studios that releases a lot of product, and that’s why they are able to be at the top and near the top of market share year in and year out,” said Brandon Gray, president of Box Office Mojo. “This year, they have been fairly consistent with a number of movies opening at $20 million or more. Some end up being big hits while others, like Monster House,’ are just in-between.” The studio’s biggest hit so far this year has been the religious thriller “The Da Vinci Code,” which succeeded in riding the controversy surrounding it to a domestic gross of $216.8 million to date. In addition to “Talladega” and “Da Vinci,” Sony’s summer has also included the hit comedy “Click,” which has taken in $134.4 million and further solidified star Adam Sandler’s status as a box office sure-thing when headlining a comedy. “It’s a good mix of films,” Blake said of the summer slate. “We had two strong comedies with Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell and an adult blockbuster,” Blake said. “There was some real variety.” The studio also successfully revived a dormant franchise with Steve Martin in “The Pink Panther,” a February release that had a solid run ($82.2 million). But Sony’s real strength has been such midlevel performers as “RV,” a family comedy starring Robin Williams that has played for 13 weeks so far and earned $70.8 million. ” RV’ is a great example of a movie critics wouldn’t even give a second thought to, but audiences kept coming out to see that movie,” said box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations Co. “It just kept playing.” Other midlevel hits have included: “Monster House” ($57 million), “Little Man” ($55 million), “Underworld: Evolution” ($68.3 million), “When a Stranger Calls” ($47.9 million) and “Silent Hill” ($46.9 million). “Sony focuses on very distinct genre fare: horror films, youth comedies, family movies and tent poles like Da Vinci Code,’” said Gray. “2005 was not a good year for them, and they are rebounding from that.” After a stellar 2004, Sony struggled last year, especially in the summer when it released the megabombs “Stealth” and “XXX: State of the Union.” In addition, “Bewitched,” its comedy starring Nicole Kidman and Ferrell, also underperformed. But Sony still managed to reach $1 billion in domestic grosses in 2005 on the strength of such $100 million-plus grossers as “Hitch” and “Fun With Dick and Jane” and several midlevel hits. The studio had its biggest year in 2002 thanks largely to the $400 million-plus earned by “Spider-Man” when it took in $1.57 billion in domestic grosses overall. Blake hopes to surpass that studio best and is bullish about the rest of Sony’s 2006 slate. The lineup includes the new James Bond film, “Casino Royale,” which features Daniel Craig taking over the part played by Pierce Brosnan in the four most recent Bond films. The studio will also release its first in-house animated film “Open Season,” another comedy starring Ferrell (“Stranger than Fiction,” the sequel “Grudge 2” and a Will Smith romantic comedy “The Pursuit of Happiness.” “I think we’ve had a really good mix and a great mix coming the rest of the year,” Blake said. 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