The Sports Editors’ Blog

This article was co-written by Chris Gray and Max McLean.

Well, what a very interesting couple of weeks it’s been.

The Confederations Cup, or “Festival of Champions” as FIFA call it has more than wetted the appetite for next years World Cup.

A very exciting tournament full of stunning games and even better goals.

The 4-3 Italy against Japan sticks out as a favourite and of course the mammoth group game between Brazil and Italy, ending 4-2 in favour of the host nation.

After an interesting group stage, involving Oceania champions Tahiti, we were left with the predictable semi final ties of Brazil vs Uruguay and Spain vs Italy.

Brazil secured passage to the final with a late goal from Paulinho, while Spain had to rely on a penalty shootout to beat Italy. That left the dream final, hosts Brazil and World Champions Spain at the Maracena.

What happened was a shock. Not simply the result, but the manner of it. Spain looked lethargic while Brazil, spurred on by a home crowd and an entire nation, battered Spain 3-0.

Throughout the tournament, the area around the stadiums was taken up by protest marches in response to the amount of money being spent on infrastructure for the World Cup, money the public believe could be put to better use to improve the health care and education in Brazil.

These protestors however, directed their anger towards the government and FIFA, not the national team. When Brazil came together to support the national team, it was scary to watch and if that support continues into next years World Cup, I dare say they will be unstoppable.

Moving away from football to Wimbledon.

It’s been one of the most shocking weeks at a major in a long time. Federer, Nadal, Sharapova, Roddick, Tsonga were just a few of the big names that suffered defeats in the early stages.

Brit Andy Murray has looked imperious so far, winning all his matches in straight sets. The latest challenger, Mikhail Youzhny, gave Murray a tough test in the second set, but Andy battled through to progress comfortably to the quarter final.

Laura Robson had an excellent tournament but a 4th Round defeat to Estonian Kanepi, was disappointing for her and a packed crowd on Court 1. The experience will be invaluable for Robson however, as she continues to push on in what looks like a very promising career.

The latest shock from is the defeat of the favourite Serena Williams by German 23 seed, Sabine Lisicki. The women’s draw as a result is wide open, while it looks like a colossal men’s final between top seeds Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.

In the cricket, the ICC Champions Cup final saw England and India, arguably the two best one day sides in the world, fight it out for victory. But the British weather, like a dog attempting foolishly to please its master, came out to play.

The rain reduced the contest to a 20/20 bash, which rendered the tournament useless for me. Changing a 50 over tournament to a 20/20 in the most important match is like changing the FIFA world cup final to a game of 5 a side. You’re no longer competing in the format of the tournament.

But apparently I don’t have much influence, so the game went ahead.

India set a modest 130 target for England to win. 6/10 difficulty really in T20 terms, and England confirmed that, moving to 110-4 with 16 balls remaining.

However, when Morgan threw his wicket away as England were looking strong favourites, he sparked a run of 4 wickets in 8 balls for England, and the damage was done. England finished 6 runs short and India won the ICC Champions Trophy.

This weekend also saw the Formula 1 show come to town as Silverstone hosted the British Grand Prix.

A Mercedes front row lockout in qualifying brought cause for celebration for British fans, but expectations formed from qualifying would be blown out of the water by one of the most unpredictable races so far this season.

As Lewis moved into his groove in lap 8, tyre failure struck as a puncture saw him travel almost an entire lap on nothing but metal, before somehow pulling into the pits, and coming out of them last.

Vettel in the meantime moved into first place with all the comfort and familiarity of a man putting his bathrobe on, with Rosberg in hot pursuit.

But the story of the day was to follow on from Hamilton’s issues, as Massa spun off almost immediately after. Sergio Perez, Jean Eric-Vergne and Esteban Gutierrez also suffered from tyre problems, as well as Alonso who fortunately was near enough his pit stop to limit the damage.

Perhaps most significantly though, Vettel suffered gearbox failure and was forced to retire from the race.

As if to rub salt into Vettel’s wounds, the safety car that dealt with Sebastian’s incident closed the pack up, leaving the final seven laps wide open.

With Webber 5th, Alonso 8th and Hamilton having made his way up to 9th, the trio eventually finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively, with Alonso’s climb doing the most damage to Vettel’s title challenge.

The coming weeks will bring The Ashes, the beginning of the transfer market, the Lions Tour deciding test and the British Open, among many other sporting events.

 

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