The Sports Week That Was and Will Be

FORMULA 1

 
After Nico Rosberg‘s barnstorming four victories to start off the 2016 season, it all seems to be heading in a familiar direction once again as triple World Champion and teammate Lewis Hamilton took two races in a row, including Nico’s home race at Monaco, to pull within nine points of the Championship lead. Hamilton’s troubles are far behind him after seven races, and many – including F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone – have tipped him to win his fourth world title. His Canadian Grand Prix victory over the weekend will need him to keep the champagne on ice, with the European Grand Prix coming up this weekend – his chance to take a clear lead for the first time this season. Rosberg will have to quell the flow somehow after winning seven in a row earlier this year, and he will need a good deal of luck, because everyone knows who the more talented driver is.

FOOTBALL

COPA AMERICA

 
Heading towards the fag end of the Copa America 2016, the weekend will see quarterfinals between the eight qualifying teams – of which there will be no Brazil for the first time since 1987. Coach Dunga has finally been given the sack after Brazil’s exit at the hands of Peru. Meanwhile, an unbeaten Argentina will take on Venezuela, who qualified behind Mexico in their group. Venezuela went through despite their status at the bottom of the World Cup qualifying standings (with one point from six games), while Mexico – so far the second favorites behind Argentina – will take on defending champions Chile. Jurgen Klinsmann‘s USA has beaten Ecuador in their quarters after losing the first game against Columbia, while Columbia will take on Peru for a spot in the semis. 
 
Semifinalists predictions: Argentina, Mexico, USA and Columbia.

EURO 2016

 
In the dying minutes of the game, Daniel Sturridge drove English fans into a frenzy after a desperate second half against Wales, which they entered a goal down. At that point, England would have headed into their final game with Slovakia as a virtual knockout, but goals by Jamie Vardy and Sturridge have put England top of their group – with Russia eliminated, and Slovakia and Wales left to fight it out for a spot. They looked like they were heading for disappointment in a major tournament once again, until they broke Wales’ hearts in the final thirty minutes, there by getting the win they so deserved against Russia. Meanwhile, Germany and Poland, the top two of their group, played out a goalless draw, while Northern Ireland pulled off arguably the upset of the tournament by demolishing Ukraine 2-0, making it a three-way battle for two spots.

BASKETBALL

 
The NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors – between LeBron James and Stephen Curry – is tied at 3-3, heading into the final Winner-take-all game. James played perhaps the most legendary fourth quarter in the history of the Finals in the sixth game, single-handedly forcing a seventh. He doesn’t want to lose his fifth finals in seven appearances after trailing 3-1 in the first four games, and has been putting in the Magic-meets-Jordan Herculean effort to make this about his own redemption. As a result, the Cavaliers have stormed back to, believe it or not, even the points score too at 610-610. No other team in the history of the championships has come back from 3-1, and on Sunday night, it could be the Cavaliers at the Oracle Arena.

HOCKEY

 
Big news, finally. The Indian Hockey team has qualified for the Champions Trophy final for the first time ever, despite losing 2-4 to Australia in their final league game. A 3-3 draw between Britain and Belgium meant that India went through with two wins, two losses and a draw in their five games, while Champions Australia went through without losing a single game. The final of the six-team round robin tournament will be played on Friday night in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic park in London, after the Germany-Britain third place match and Belgium-Korea fifth place game.

GOLF

 
The 116th Men’s US Open Championships is underway at Oakmont today – after storms and rain has played havoc with the opening round, throwing the field into disarray. Will it be Jordan Spieth, World No. 1 Jason Day, Bubba Watson or Rory Mcllroy?

CRICKET

 
A second-string Indian team has whitewashed a sorry Zimbabwean team away to take MS Dhoni‘s ODI winning record to 107, the second highest for any captain behind Ricky Ponting‘s 165. KL Rahul capitalized on his T20 form to score his maiden ODI century on debut, becoming the only player in the history of the game to score a century on debut in both tests and ODIs – ending up as the Man of the Series, after India lost only three wickets in the three-match bilateral series, while chasing down 120 in the second and third match. The other RCB star, Yuzvendra Chahal, was also given a Player of the Series award after his riveting spells of spin on slow, sluggish pitches that triggered three Zimbabwean collapses in a row.

Meanwhile, West Indies, South Africa and Australia will continue doing battle in an interminable tri-series – with everyone having beaten each other once already. The final will almost definitely be played between South Africa and Australia after their bonus-point wins against the unpredictable hosts.
 

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