Weekend Review In Sports

Weekend Review In Sports

It is always a naive thought to think that the world of sport, well, football, will slow down ever so slightly following the conclusion of most major leagues throughout Europe. As it was, the international fixtures caused plenty of intrigue with a few landmark results thrown in for equal measure. The world of sport outside football continued to produce some outstanding results, records, and talking points that act to build the ideal bridge into a summer of sport.

 

The Dragon Roars

 

It is Wales that will remain at the top of the bill when it comes to European footballing news as The Dragons secured their place at the World Cup for the first time in 64 years.

 

Ukraine is a nation that needs no introduction. Given the atrocities happening in their home country, it feels almost shallow to focus on football. Nonetheless, we find ourselves in a position where we have to hold both thoughts at once, able to analyse the game whilst being aware of the greater social, political, and cultural significance of an illegal invasion of Ukraine. For now, back to football…

 

Ukraine and Wales are both sides that really should already have their places for the World Cup sorted when you purely focus on the footballing quality in each side. Thus, their coming together was certain to throw up a few contentious decisions and a result that makes one nation and disappoints the other.

 

Early Ukrainian pressure failed to materialise as Wales remained rigid and concentrated. Just past the half-hour mark, it was time for Gareth Bale to redirect the course of events; Gareth Bale has always been able to mould the game in Wales’ advantage. A slightly under-hit freekick was placed in the back of the net as Andriy Yarmolenko’s deflected defensive header failed to follow the intended defensive plan.

 

Brennan Johnson hitting the post late on as well as poor finish from Gareth Bale failed to put Wales out of sight, yet the one goal was enough. As the final seconds of the five added minutes faded away, the belief on the Wales sidelines began to materialise into the truth. Welcome to the World Cup, Wales.

 

Now, would you believe me if I told you Lionel Messi scored five, Cristiano Ronaldo scored two and Haaland scored two all on international duty, would you believe me? Well probably. Anyway, that is exactly what happened.

 

Five, Two, and Two

 

Now, would you believe me if I told you Lionel Messi scored five, Cristiano Ronaldo scored two and Haaland scored two all on international duty, would you believe me? Well probably. Anyway, that is exactly what happened.

 

Messi continued his mercurial Argentinian form scoring all five in a 5-0 win over Estonia. Beautiful finishes for all five goals, there was little Estonia could do, however, it is well worth watching Messi’s fourth goal as the communication lines between both teams and match officials was severely lacking, allowing Messi to score a goal that even he couldn’t get his head around. As it was, Argentina continued their outstanding form as they grow increasingly aware that this may be Messi’s last run at winning the World Cup.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo’s two goals helped Portugal breeze past Switzerland 4-0 as the Seleção found themselves in a position reminiscent of Argentina in that their ageing superstar has one last chance to seriously contend for the World Cup one last time; the battle of the greats continues for another round at least.

 

Norway remained at the top of their Nations League group with a 2-1 win over Scandinavian rivals Sweden thanks to a double from the inevitable Erling Haaland. Norwegian football is undergoing a slight renaissance. Given that they have been overshadowed in recent years by both Sweden and Denmark, it is time for Norway to fight their way back into the mainframe. With Martin Odegaard and Erling Haaland in the side, the likelihood of this seems high.

 

Cricket

 

Joe Root secured a match winning century over New Zealand which saw the Englishman become only the second from the country to achieve over 10,000 test match runs.

 

Joe Root is now chasing the record established by Sir Alastair Cook who firmly believes Root will surpass him, calling the English batsman the “the most complete England batsman I have seen”.

 

Joe Root now sits fifth in the all-time list of batting scorers in test matches, with Sachin Tendulkar sat firmly on top. An exciting time for English Cricket as yet another from the Isle of Blighty looks to break records.

 

Tennis

 

Rafael Nadal claimed his 14th French Open Championship with the straight-set win over Norway’s Casper Ruud enhancing Nadal’s claims as being the greatest of all time.

 

On clay, there is no doubt who the greatest is. Nadal has won 112 of his 115 games on clay, a terrifyingly amazing statistic that boggles the mind straight into acceptance as Nadal is simply unstoppable in this version of the game. Yet, with repeated injuries to his left foot meaning Nadal has to constantly undergo therapy and medical treatment, this might be one of the last times a global audience gets to see Rafael Nadal at the peak of his power.

 

In other Tennis news, Britain’s Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid secured their tenth Grand Slam title victory in a row claiming the Wheelchair French Open Championship. A truly remarkable achievement from two of Britain’s greatest tennis players.

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