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Argentina’s World Cup Dream Alive

Argentina’s World Cup dream is alive and well. Argentina and Belgium, who both worked late for their victories in the Knockout Round, have a date to meet in the World Cup quarterfinals.

Better late than never, Argentina scored the second-latest goal in World Cup history to knock out stubborn Switzerland and move on to face Belgium in the quarterfinals. Belgium scored twice in extra time to defeat the U.S., 2-1.

Argentina was a heavy favorite against Switzerland, so the only real surprise was that Lionel Messi didn’t score the winning goal.

Angel Di Maria scored in the 118th minute and Argentina took a 1-0 victory in Sao Paulo in the Round of 16, ending a match that seemed destined to end with penalty kicks. But after a Swiss turnover, Messi outmaneuvered the defense, saw Di Maria on the right side and sent him a pass that Di Maria planted in the left corner of the net.

Messi attracted Swiss defenders all day, on many occasions three at once. And although Messi did not score for the first time in four World Cup matches, he was responsible for the winning goal.

Argentina has now won each of its four World Cup matches by a total by a one-goal margin. Messi has scored four of Argentina’s seven goals.

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So It’s Switzerland’s Turn to Worry About Messi

It’s Argentina and Switzerland in the knockout round, but there could be another subtext to this Round of 16?  Maybe. If there really is anyone who worried about Argentina for having to dig deep and work some bugs out of its approach, such as scoring late to win, there are once again two words to consider: Lionel Messi.

Argentina defeated Nigeria, 3-2, to close out Group F unbeaten, then waited to find out its next opponent in the Round of 16. Switzerland jumped up claimed it as the runner-up behind France in Group E and that puts the Swiss directly in Argentina’s path.

So it’s Switzerland’s turn to worry about Messi.

Argentina’s biggest star scored two more goals against Nigeria – he now has four – and almost single-handedly propelled Argentina into the knockout round on Tuesday in Sao Paulo.

But it’s true Argentina has had some close-calls, beating both Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran by one goal, both low-scoring games – 2-1 and 1-0. The other characteristic? Messi scored a goal in them both. He tied with Brazil’s superstar, Neymar and Germany’s scoring machine, Thomas Muller, with a World Cup high of four goals.

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Colombia Dominated Group C

Now that Colombia is in the Round of 16 at the World Cup, what’s the ceiling for Los Cafeteros?  Look up.  It could be that the sky is the limit. Colombia dominated Group C, winning all three of its games, racking up nine points, scored nine goals while allowing only two, and demonstrating that it is one of the top teams in the world.

Uruguay, the runner-up in Group D, is Colombia’s opponent in the knockout round, and they will meet Sunday in Rio de Janeiro. Chances are that Uruguay may have its hands full.

A new batch of stars is emerging for Colombia, featuring the electrifying James Rodriquez and also Juan Guillermo Cuadrado. Rodriguez, better known simply as James, is making up for the absence of the injured Radamel Falcao, his teammate on the French club, AS Monaco.

At 22, James may be the best young player in the World Cup. And if Colombia is going to advance further than its best previous World Cup finish – the quarterfinals in 1990 – James could very well make the difference.

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Argentina Leans Again on Messi

Argentina’s march through the World Cup continues with its final Group F match, against Nigeria, in Port Alegre, Brazil.

But you can be sure that Argentina is already looking ahead to the Round of 16, a ticket that Argentina has already punched with a 1-0 victory over Iran. And yet the race is not yet over. Argentina has six points and leads Group F, but Nigeria can say something about that and remains in the conversation with four points. While Argentina was edging Iran, Nigeria was doing the same with a 1-0 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina.

So the top two teams in Group F collide, a meeting of Argentina scoring star Lionel Messi and the team-oriented defensive front of Nigerian Coach Stephen Keshi. Messi has scored a goal in both Argentina games while Nigeria has not allowed a goal in its two previous games.

Looking ahead to the knockout round, the Group F winner would play the second-place team from Group E, and that spot is far from decided, either France, Ecuador or Switzerland. And that Group F runner-up will play the Group F winner – France now leads.

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Colombia Beats Ivory Coast to Close on Knockout Round

Colombia added to its rich soccer history, reaching the World Cup knockout round with a 2-1 victory over the Ivory Coast – combined with some good fortune.  When Japan and Greece played to a scoreless draw in Natal, Brazil, it meant Colombia would advance from Group C to the round of 16 for only the second time in its World Cup history and for the first time in 14 years.

The pitch in Brasilia, Brazil, was littered with good news for Colombia. For the first time in its five appearances in the World Cup – 1962, 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2014, Colombia won two matches.  And it’s the first time Colombia has reached the round of 16 since 1990.

But it wasn’t easy against a challenging Ivory Coast team. It took goals from two left-footed kickers to put Colombia on the right foot. The victory required second-half goals from Juan Quintero and the eventual game-winner from James Rodriguez to move on.

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With a 3-0 victory over Greece and a second success over the difficult Ivory Coast, Colombia is ready to take on the rest of the world.


The World’s Best Player and Argentina’s Brightest Star

He’s the world’s best player and he’s Argentina’s brightest star, but that doesn’t mean Lionel Messi doesn’t have anything to worry about. Because he does. Messi is still in the shadow of the great Maradona, who almost single-handedly delivered a World Cup victory for Argentina in 1986. Messi needs a World Cup to prove his status on the biggest stage in football.  He just moved a step closer.

“I know I have a responsibility, especially as captain, to the people of Argentina, but I try not to let the pressure get to me,” Messi said recently.

But the pressure is real. Argentina flamed out in the quarterfinals in the last two World Cups, in 2006 and 2010, and they desperately need the 26-year-old Messi, their goal-scoring machine, to come through. Messi scored only one goal in those two disappointing World Cups, but scoring hasn’t been much of problem for him – at least in qualifying. He had 10 goals in 14 games leading up to the World Cup.

And Messi did not disappoint from his position in the spotlight in Argentina’s World Cup Group F opener against Bosnia-Herzegovina, scoring what turned out to be the winning goal in the 65th minute of a 2-1 Argentine victory.

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Radamel Falcao Has Been the Star Player for Colombia

Radamel Falcao has been the star player for Colombia. But at the World Cup, center-forward Falcao has a different role. He’s the star cheerleader. Because he tore a knee ligament and had surgery in January, Falcao can’t play in Brazil, but he can encourage his Colombian teammates on the sideline.

Veteran former captain Luis Perea is also injured and will join Falcao on the sideline. They must have liked what they saw in Colombia’s first match.

Earning a reputation for fielding its best group of attackers in years, Colombia got off to a quick start in its first Group C match with a 3-0 victory over Greece. And Colombia still has a scoring star besides Falcao – Teofilo Gutierrez, who contributed a goal against Greece and is a danger whenever he’s in contact with the ball.

Relentlessly aggressive, Colombia, is just as strong when it doesn’t have the ball.

Coach Jose Pekerman said it’s obvious Colombia would like to have Falcao healthy and playing, but that’s not the reality. “We want to look forward,” Pekerman said.

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Banco Popular Dominicano Joins Xoom’s Network for Money Transfers to the Dominican Republic

Dominicans can now send money with directly to a bank account at Banco Popular Dominicano within 15 minutes

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, April 9, 2014 – Xoom Corporation (NASDAQ: XOOM), a leading digital money transfer provider, today announced that Banco Popular Dominicano is offering Xoom’s fast deposit services to the bank’s checking and savings accounts in usually less than 15 minutes to the Dominican Republic.  With the addition of Banco Popular Dominicano, Xoom expands its cash pickup network in the Dominican Republic to 576 locations, including Banco BHD, Caribe Express and Banco del Progreso.  Xoom and Banco Popular Dominicano also offer Cash Pickup at more than 200 locations across the island.

“Banco Popular Dominicano and Xoom are committed to providing innovations that bring more convenience to our customers and their loved ones,” said Julian King, Xoom’s Senior Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Development. “By adding Banco Popular Dominicano to our network, we are providing customers more options when sending money to the Dominican Republic, and a seamless experience for both the sender and recipient.”

Dominicans will be able to receive their money faster, since they will be able to withdraw the funds from their Banco Popular Dominicano account anytime at more than 700 ATMs across the island.  Traditionally, Dominicans receive money through home delivery or cash pickup during business hours.  This new faster option gives them access to their money during evening hours, weekends and holidays through the Banco Popular Dominicano ATM network.

“Xoom is an exciting partnership for Banco Popular Dominicano,” said Francisco Ramírez, Banco Popular Dominicano’s Marketing Vice President. “Xoom shares our vision in providing a faster way for sending and receiving money in the Dominican Republic.  The innovative bank deposit service makes money available for withdrawal at any of our ATMs in usually less than 15 minutes.”

Xoom customers can send money to the Dominican Republic any time from by clicking here:  The site is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, from any internet-connected device.  Banco Popular Dominicano processes bank deposits seven days a week, 23 hours a day.  For customers who prefer cash pick up, Banco Popular Dominicano branch locations are open Monday to Saturday from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM, and Sunday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

Spanish Language App and SMS Text Alerts
Last year, Xoom announced that it is the first pure-play remittance provider to offer a Spanish-language App for Android and iOS phones.  The Xoom App is unique in its simplicity, allowing Xoom customers to complete a quick send money transfer to their recipient with “one tap and one swipe.” This slide-to-send technique allows Xoom customers to send a money transfer to an existing recipient in just seconds.

Xoom offers customers a Spanish-language experience on its mobile App, their desktop and mobile sites and their 24-hour customer care center.

In addition to fast and simple money transfers on the go, Xoom customers can use the App to track the status of their money transfer as their money moves to their loved ones.  Other key features of the Xoom App include the ability to review Xoom’s low fees, check exchange rates, contact customer service and access links to other Xoom services.

The Xoom App is available at the Apple AppStore and at Google Play.

About Xoom
Xoom is a leading digital money transfer provider in 31 countries, focused on helping consumers send money in a secure, fast and cost-effective way using their mobile phone, tablet or computer. During the year ended December 31, 2013, Xoom’s more than one million active customers sent more than $5.5 billion to family and friends. The company is headquartered in San Francisco and can be found online at

About Banco Popular
Banco Popular Dominicano is the first bank in the capital of the Dominican Republic, and is a leader in commercial banking and financial services in the country. In 2011, it generated assets of RD $205.553 million (about U.S. $5.265 million and € 4.000 million).  Constituted in 1963, Banco Popular opened its doors in Santo Domingo, January 2, 1964. It has 200 branches and more than 700 ATMs across the country.