Our event of the day is the FIFA World Cup semi-final between France and Belgium at the Krestovsky Stadium in St Petersburg. France have been growing in strength as the tournament has progressed. They were somewhat uninspiring during the group stages despite topping the group. Their last 16 showing was a completely different story. Les Bleus marched into the quarter-finals with a stunning 4-3 victory over Argentina. Teenager Kylian Mbappé announced himself onto the world stage in spectacular fashion, winning a penalty and scoring two other goals himself. A sturdy quarter-final display against a good Uruguay side saw France run out 2-0 winners against their South American counterparts. With an attacking threat consisting of the raw talent of Mbappé and the much-sought-after Antoine Griezmann, they will certainly be Belgium’s biggest test so far. Having finished as runners up in their own back yard at Euro 2016, France will be desperate to go one better this time around. Victory today would see them one step away.
Belgium boast a squad overflowing with world class talent. Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku have all shone in Russia. The Belgians’ have found the net fourteen times, the most goals scored by any team at the tournament. However, their attacking flair has been balanced with a steely grit and determination. This resilience was evident as they came from 2-0 down to knock out Japan in the last 16, before holding on to a slender one goal lead against the mighty Brazil to book their place in the semi-finals. Having underperformed at the previous two major tournaments, Belgium’s golden generation have finally found the winning formula. A win today would make them the most successful team in Belgium’s history. All eyes are on St Petersburg for what should be a compelling contest.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, where it’s women’s quarter finals day at the All England Club. The women’s draw has been blown wide open after nine of the top ten seeds were eliminated in the first week and the seventh seed, Karolína Plíšková, losing yesterday in her Last 16 match. Elsewhere in the UK, England Women play New Zealand Women in the second match in their one-day series at the County Ground in Derby. England lead the series 1-0 after a convincing win at Headingley on Saturday. In the USA, it is the second game in a four-game series between the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park in MLB action. Qualifying for the biggest prize in club football gets underway throughout Europe in multiple Champions League Preliminary Round fixtures. Notably, Celtic, who reached the group stages last season, travel to Alashkert. There’s also two Europa League qualification matches, with FC Samtredia hosting Tobol Kostanay and Zalgiris travelling to KI Klaksvíc. Stage 4 of the Tour de France begins in La Baule and finishes in Sarzeau, with riders clocking up 195 kilometres along the way.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by FIFA World Cup
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