You know Spain was the last World Cup champion, but did you know they’re the first team to go in Brazil after two consecutive losses?
You know the Spanish football dynasty began when the Spaniards won the European championship in 2008 and 2012, winning the World Cup in the intervening years, but did you know if their reign is now a little shaky?
You know Barcelona and Real Madrid have overtaken Manchester United and Arsenal in popularity, but did you know England’s national football team share a similar fate with the Spaniards?
You know no football team from Europe have ever succeeded on the South American continent, but did you ever expect the misfortune to start with Spain?
You know the all-star Spanish team have been intensely competitive this season but did you know they’re burned out?
Enough said about the World Cup surprise this morning (thanks to Chile’s 2-0 shutout of the Spaniards). You know there will be more surprises. That is why we stay up late with panda eyes from all the excitement.
Today’s papers brought no surprises either. Jimmy Lai’s Apple Daily was targeted by hackers, the ICAC is about to arrest former chief executive Donald Tsang in a graft investigation and his former deputy, Rafael Hui, has entered the third week of his corruption trial.
And of course, Standard & Poor’s flirting with new highs should not be a surprise, so are Hong Kong and China stocks going sideways in the wake of consolidation ahead of several new listings.
One of the few real surprises came from Hang Seng Bank which Bloomberg Markets Magazine anointed as the world’s strongest lender. The HSBC subsidiary and the second largest retail bank in Hong Kong with 220 branches, was No. 10 last year.
The magazine praised Hang Seng Bank for growing its assets 53 percent in seven years to HK$1.14 trillion.
Behind Hang Seng Bank in the ranking was Canadian credit union Desjardins Group. The highest ranked United States bank was US Bancorp, but where was Wells Fargo or JP Morgan?
It appears Bloomberg ranked the lenders by five criteria including tier 1 capital compared with risk-weighted assets; nonperforming assets against total assets; and efficiency, a measure of cost, against revenue.
It also ended with a little footnote that “only banks that provided data in all five categories were included”.
Not surprisingly, no local paper picked up the story – and therefore, Spain being booted from the World Cup is bigger news than Hang Seng being declared the best of its kind in the world.
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