My sporting week this week has mostly been spent watching the electric atmosphere in Budapest for the Aquatics World Championships, although I did find time over the weekend to catch a bit of football, Formula 1 and cricket as well. The reappearance of Fantasy Football chat in my office also means that we have only a few short weeks before the sports news is even more dominated by the re-emergence of the Premier League.
Football – England exorcise French demons to progress to Euro 2017 semi-final against Dutch hosts; Germany shocked by Denmark, who will meet Austria
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/40765772 (England 1-0 France) http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/40765446 (Netherlands 2-0 Sweden) http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/40765453 (Germany 1-2 Denmark) http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/40766590 (Austria 0-0 Spain)
England’s Lionesses beat France for the first time in 43 years to progress to their second successive semi-final at a major tournament. It was a fourth win in a row at Euro 2017 for England, and, although the quarter-final was a cagier affair than the group games, the performance of the likes of Jordan Nobbs, Lucy Bronze and Jodie Taylor justified the approach taken by coach Mark Samson to rest his first choice team against Portugal. It looked an even better decision in the 75th minute when first-choice goalkeeper Karen Bardsley was forced off with an injury and replaced by Siobhan Chamberlain, who had played the full match against Portugal, and might otherwise have found her first action of the tournament to have been a very nervous 15 minutes defending a slender lead against a resilient French side. England now move on to a semi-final against the Netherlands on Thursday. The Dutch women overcame a strong Swedish side, and have also won all four of their matches so far, and will present a tough challenge for England.
The Lionesses will go into their semi-final as the newly-installed tournament favourites and highest-ranked team left in the competition, following Germany’s surprise defeat to Denmark in a rearranged fixture on Sunday lunchtime. Originally scheduled to play on Saturday evening, the match was postponed due to heavy rain, although not before a farcical wait for the referees to determine that the pitch was not suitable for play. When the game finally did kick-off, it seemed to be a decision that favoured Germany, as they took a 1-0 lead after just 3 minutes, following a goalkeeping error by Stina Lykke Pedersen. Danish forward Nadia Nadim equalised after half-time and Theresa Nielsen scored late on to snatch the win. The other quarter-final, between Spain and Austria, finished goalless, but it was Austria who triumphed in the penalty shootout, as Silvia Meseguer missed the crucial spot-kick for Spain. The Spanish side have dominated possession charts, but have now failed to score in their past three games, and failed to create enough chances here. Austria have been the surprise package of the tournament so far, and their match-up against Denmark should be an exciting game.
Swimming – Katinka Hosszú brings curtain down on Budapest championships with second gold; Sjöström, Ledecky and King also shine
On the final day of the swimming World Championships in Budapest, Katinka Hosszú brought delight to the home crowd, winning her second gold medal of the meet in the 400m Individual Medley. The week has seen a number of spectacular performances, not least from Sweden’s Sarah Sjöström, who won three gold medals, all in individual events, and broke the 100m Freestyle world record on the opening day. USA’s Katie Ledecky won enough to come second on the medal table on her own, with five gold medals (400m, 800m and 1500m Freestyle, 4x100m Freestyle relay and 4x200m Freestyle relay) and one silver (200m Freestyle).
Water Polo – USA back up Olympic victory with record fifth World title
The USA proved they remain the dominant force in women’s water polo with a 13-6 victory in the final against Spain. The European side did well to keep the game tight at 5-3 at half-time, but saw the Americans up the tempo in the third and fourth quarters, scoring four goals in each to stretch away. 19-year-old Madeline Musselman was named tournament MVP for the USA. In the bronze medal match, Russia won 11-9 against Canada.
BMX – Alise Post wins Elite Women World Championship after photo finish in Rock Hill, USA
USA’s Alise Post just held off a late surge from Australian Caroline Buchanan to claim the World Championship title. After both progressed easily through their semi-finals, it was Post who made the early move in the final, but as her stamina ran out towards the end of the race, Buchanan came storming back and was only denied on the line thanks to photographic evidence. Venezuela’s Stefany Hernandez initially looked well set to take bronze, until she was passed by Colombia’s Mariana Pajon. Earlier in the day, the UK’s Bethany Shriever won the Junior World Championship title.
Tennis – Jordanne Whiley reveals pregnancy, just weeks after Wimbledon triumph
Britain’s wheelchair tennis player Jordanne Whiley revealed on Saturday that she was 11 weeks pregnant as she won the wheelchair doubles title earlier this month against Wimbledon. The news came just months after Serena Williams made a similar announcement following her Australian Open win. My wife can’t understand it – she struggles to get off the sofa during her first trimester, never mind playing competitive sport!
WOMEN’S SPORT IN THE NEWS
A new thing here, but there has been a couple of articles that I thought were worth highlighting.
The Good: Marina Hyde – “Why can’t we celebrate women’s sport without relating it to men’s?”
The Bad: The Economist – “The rise of women’s cricket”
While it’s great to see an article about women’s cricket in The Economist, it’s also sad to see that the only player mentioned by name is Len Hutton.
COMING UP THIS WEEK
- Football: UEFA European Championships, Netherlands – July 16th-August 6th
- Denmark v Austria – July 27th 5:00pm
- Netherlands v England – July 27th, 7:45pm
- The Final – August 6th, 4:00pm
- Beach Volleyball: World Championships, Vienna – July 26th-August 6th
- Athletics: World Championships, London – August 4th-13th