[imagesource: Associated Press / Fulton Sun]
Each week, I’ll be putting together a wrap of the weekend’s sporting action, standout moments, and major talking points, with a focus on football, cricket, and rugby.
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It’s happened again.
Oosthuizen went into the final round of the US Open at Torrey Pines with a share of the lead, and the weight of five second-place major finishes around his neck.
Sadly, we can now make that six, thanks to a late rally by Spaniard Jon Rahm and a bogey on the par-four 17th hole from Oosthuizen.
Credit should be given to Rahm, who pulled out two clutch putts on his final two holes to secure a birdie on each:
— U.S. Open (USGA) (@usopengolf) June 21, 2021
Rahm’s six-under pipped Oosthuizen by one, and you get the feeling that whilst the cheque for second place, a cool $1,35 million (around R19,3 million), will be welcome, the South African will look back ruefully on some missed opportunities.
He’s sticking to his guns regarding using a driver on 17, saying he would do it again, and you have to love him for that:
I’ll keep knocking on that major door. Gave it my best and am thankful to the @USGA and @usopengolf for a great week. Enjoy the win, @JonRahmpga! Nothing like a major win on Father’s Day as a new dad. #USOpen pic.twitter.com/WlXjzDhX6R
— Louis Oosthuizen (@Louis57TM) June 21, 2021
Here are the highlights of the fourth round:
I expect our man to be back soon challenging for major titles, or to ‘Rise Up’, as he so famously sang after finishing second at the 2017 PGA Championship:
The football world currently has all eyes trained on Euro 2020, and Saturday saw the pick of the matches as Germany downed Portugal.
Despite an early Cristiano Ronaldo goal, the Germans won out 4-2, with things now very delicately poised in Group F.
If Portugal can avoid a heavy defeat against France in the final match, there’s still a chance they would go through as one of the best third-placed finishers from the group stages.
Let it go down in the record books that increasing the number of countries at the tournament, from 16 to 24, has really diminished the drama of the group stages, where you used to have to secure a top-two spot to make the next round.
Here are those Germany versus Portugal highlights:
I can’t mention Germany without mentioning their coach, Joachim Löw, and his odd habit of scratching his nether regions during matches.
Follow this thread below for an unexpected ending:
Joachim Low’s balls.
A thread. pic.twitter.com/LLK50woxLL
— Pete 🏴 (@fifelike) June 16, 2021
On Sunday, Italy beat Wales 1-0 to extend their unbeaten streak to 30 matches, stretching back to September 2018.
The last 11 matches have also shown how well organised Roberto Mancini’s defence is:
Italy’s last 11 matches:
✅ 2-0 Estonia
✅ 2-0 Poland
✅ 2-0 Bosnia
✅ 2-0 Northern Ireland
✅ 2-0 Bulgaria
✅ 2-0 Lithuania
✅ 7-0 San Marino
✅ 4-0 Czech Republic
✅ 3-0 Turkey
✅ 3-0 Switzerland
✅ 1-0 Wales
ZERO goals conceded! 😳👏 pic.twitter.com/8w4mhIWRVM
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 20, 2021
Off the field, there was some great news coming out of the Danish team, when Christian Eriksen surprised teammates at training on Friday.
He was released from hospital earlier that day, and headed straight to see his teammates.
Despite losing their first two matches, the Danes still have a chance to make the next round, so perhaps Eriksen’s visit can inspire them to great heights when they take on Russia this evening.
There is also the small matter of Copa America, South America’s international competition, where Leo Messi will hope he can inspire his Argentinian team to glory.
As things stand, after two matches they sit atop Group A, with four points, with Messi named man of the match in both.
You’d have to be pretty heartless to not want him to taste some international success, although Brazil have looked deadly so far, scoring seven without reply in their two matches.
Closer to home, Kaizer Chiefs scored an unlikely 1-0 win over Wydad AC in the first-leg of their CAF Champions League semi-final.
That was due in large part to the heroics of Chiefs ‘keeper Bruce Bvuma, who pulled off a string of great saves:
The Glamour Boys, as Chiefs are known, will play the Moroccan outfit at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
Goalkeeper heroics, you say? If Alisson can do it for Liverpool, so too can fellow Brazilian Lucas Covolan.
Playing for Torquay in the National League play-off final against Hartlepool, he netted a stoppage-time equaliser to make the match to extra time:
90+5 goalkeeper goal alert pic.twitter.com/gFCvqdwHgQ
— Joe Crann (@YesWeCrann) June 20, 2021
Sadly for his side, they went on to lose 5-4 in a penalty shootout, but a great moment nonetheless.
Over in the US, Matthew ‘Alright Alright Alright’ McConaughey continues his love affair with football (or soccer, sies).
Here he is drumming up interest before an Austin FC match:
Matthew McConaughey, part owner of Austin FC in MLS, was HYPING up the fans last night 📣 pic.twitter.com/B4FTUSmPuo
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 20, 2021
Very American, and the same can be said for the commentary for this thunderbolt from Jakob Glesnes.
92nd minute, your side’s a goal down, and bang:
JAKOB GLESNES FROM DEEEEEEP!
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 20, 2021
To finish off our football section, you may have caught yourself doing a double-take during Czech matches at Euro 2020.
You’re not hearing things, because there is a chap called Masopust, and his name sounds exactly as you imagine it:
Just heard there’s a Czech football player in Euro 2021 called Lukáš Masopust and it’s pronounced like that phrase, which is hilarious to hear in live commentary. 🤣 https://t.co/7qLsw7R2Uw
— faranaaz (@faranaaz) June 19, 2021
Whilst not related, one of the Czech’s greatest ever players, who was named by Pele as one of the 125 greatest footballers ever, is Josef Masopust.
I wonder if he went by ‘Jo’?
The Super Rugby Trans Tasman final took place Saturday, pitting the Blues against the Highlanders.
We have been treated to some incredibly tight finishes during the tournament (except for any match featuring a Kiwi team facing an Ozzie team, because those almost ended in a drubbing), and the final was no exception.
There was just one point in it as we entered the final five minutes, but in the end, the Blues were victorious:
South African rugby fans would have been keeping an eye on the PRO14 Rainbow Cup Final, featuring the Bulls taking on Italian outfit Benetton.
It was one-way traffic, though, as Jake White’s side produced a terrible showing to go down 35-8.
All in all, a bit embarrassing, and a reminder that our sides may be some way behind Europe’s top professional teams:
The best rugby match of the weekend was, without a doubt, the Gallagher Premiership semi-final between Harlequins and Bristol.
Having fallen behind by 28 points, Harlequins rallied back to take the match to extra time, eventually winning 43-36.
South African Tyrone Green scored the decisive try in extra time, with some fine stepping skills:
— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) June 19, 2021
This is one match where watching the full highlights package is certainly encouraged:
Happy Father’s Day to everyone for yesterday, and that includes Rassie Erasmus.
The World Cup-winning coach, who is now our Director of Rugby, shared this montage:
Miss them so much today, but this did help pic.twitter.com/Ksfm8Nuk9k
— Rassie Erasmus (@RassieRugby) June 20, 2021
Formula 1 fans were treated to a great race yesterday, with the French Grand Prix lead changing hands a few times.
With just more than a lap to go, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen overtook Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, winning his third race of the season thus far.
He’s now 12 points clear of the Brit, and must feel like he’s in with a real shot at claiming the mantle of world champion.
Let’s allow the Dutch to describe that overtaking moment:
Max Verstappen’s brilliant overtake is even better with the Dutch commentary! 😅
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 21, 2021
If you click on ‘Watch on YouTube’ below, you’ll be redirected to watch the full race highlights:
So, the cricket.
I will start with the Proteas, who are in the ascendancy in the second test against the West Indies.
However, this must come with a huge disclaimer that once again our batting has been woeful.
Bar Quinton de Kock, who fell for a duck during a disastrous collapse in our second innings, we have failed to show much resolve at the crease.
The Windies, set 324 to win, ended day three 15/0, and with our bowling attack firing, we should be good enough to secure a 2-0 series win.
However, when Jason Holder pulled off this grab, reducing us to 73/7, there was plenty to worry about:
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) June 20, 2021
KG Rabada, in partnership with Rassie van der Dussen, then added 70 for the eighth wicket, with the latter ending on 75 not out.
Your day three highlights below:
The other test match on the go, which sadly looks like it will be ruined by the English weather, is the World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand at Lords.
Even with a reserve day, the dreary English weather may prove the decider. The action we have seen so far, featuring gritty batting against superb bowling in helpful conditions, is a reminder of the gulf in class between those two outfits and the Proteas.
Side note – imagine being this chap, asking Shane Warne if he understands how spin bowling works?
Oh dear! I’ve no words. pic.twitter.com/6MbPGgQLlh
— Sarang Bhalerao (@bhaleraosarang) June 19, 2021
Social media in a nutshell.
Let’s wrap up with some good news, and Wayde Van Niekerk has qualified to defend his 400-metre title at the Tokyo Olympics.
At Saturday’s World Athletics Continental Tour event held in Madrid, Wayde produced a qualifying time of 44,56 seconds.
Sadly, Caster Semenya failed to run an Olympic qualifying 5 000-metre time this weekend, falling short in Regensburg, Germany.
She does still have another shot, and will run the same distance in Liege, Belgium, on June 30.
Well, that about does it for this past weekend.
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