Monday, July 12, 2021

Super Sports Sunday

6.30 am. I woke up, switched on the TV. 

Late in the night after 3. I switched off the TV, went to bed.

Three matches -- two football and one tennis -- during the course of the day. 

All together over 7 hours. 

COPA AMERICA 2021 FINAL

Image courtesy: The Guardian

The blockbuster Brazil and Argentina match kicked off at 5.30 am IST at Rio's Maracana stadium. But I managed to wake up only an hour late. By that time Argentina had scored. 

The scoreline stayed. A bit surprising, because Brazil dominated the game. 

Brazil had 59% of the possession; 13 shots (Argentina 6), and 4 corners (Brazil 1).

Anyway, the win was huge for Argentina, and Lionel Messi. 

That goal ended their 28-year-long wait for a victory in a major tournament. But a big disappointment for Brazil's Neymar who is yet to win a major international.

WIMBLEDON MEN'S FINAL   

Image courtesy: wimbledon.com

Back in front for the TV at 6.30 pm. 

The result was expected. Novak Djokovic finally caught up with what his two seniors -- Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal -- achieved: 20 Grand Slam titles. 

But Italy's Matteo Berrettini ensured that it was not a cakewalk for his opponent. At one point it looked like the match could go either way. I am glad that was some drama.

It was fascinating tennis stretching 3 hours 23 minutes. When Djokovic lost the first set 4-7 in the tie-break, I thought this will stretch to a five-setter.

But he seemed to be setting the tone as he won the first 4 games of the 2nd set. Berrettini held the serve to make it 4-1. Djokovic held the next and had a chance to wrap up the set. 

But Berrettini gave a stiff resistance and caught up picking up the next three games in a row to make it 5-4. The 10th game was Djokovic's serve and he finally closed it at 6-4.

Berrettini seemed to have lost a bit of the momentum in the 3rd set and Djokovic won that without much difficulty with the same score.

Image courtesy: wimbledon.com

The fourth set, in which Berrettini took a lead with a win in the 1st game, was a bit more challenging for Djokovic as he had to wait till the seventh game to get ahead: 4-3. From then on, the path was clearer and his job was done as Berrettini made an unforced backhand error.

Now all eyes are on the next matches that Djokovic will play. There is something called the Golden Slam, which only Steffi Graf has achieved in 1988, with a victory in all the four Grand Slams and an Olympic Gold Medal. 

But now whether the World Number One can do that is in doubt as he seemed to have been put off by the tight restrictions in the Olympic Village, and he is in two minds if he would go.

If he wins the US Open, which will start on Aug 30, he will get ahead of Federer and Nadal, and he would sort of establish himself as the GOAT or the Greatest Of All Time.

INDIA VS ENGLAND WOMEN'S T20

Image courtesy: Twitter/ICC

While the Wimbledon was on, the 2nd T20 cricket match between India and England women's team was being played at Hove. I kept checking the score on the BBC Sports app. 

India notched up 140 for 8 in 20 overs, and England fell short of the target by 8 runs. 

It was a thriller which I missed. 

The third match is tomorrow.

EURO 2020 FINAL

Image courtesy: BBC

After the tennis match, I took a one and a half hour nap before getting back in front of the TV at 12.30 am for the next epic encounter, at Wimbley.

It was a match truly worthy of a championship final as England and Italy battled hard. 

Within just two minutes of the start, the game got charged up as Luke Shaw scored for England. It should have remained like that at least. 

But in the 67th minute, Leonardo Bonucci equalised for Italy.

As expected the match went into half an hour of extra time and then the penalty shootout.

Though in the back of my mind I had a feeling that Italy might win, I was supporting England. And it was such a heartbreak to see Harry Kane's team fall behind by the thinnest of margins. 

It must be said that barring the initial few minutes, Italy was generally in control of the game, and they were constantly sniffing at opportunities to score.

They had 65% of the possession and had as many as 6 shot on target in comparison to just 2 for England.

In the penalty shootout, for England, Harry Kane and Harry Maguire scored; but the shots of Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka failed to find the target.

It's sad that the England's three were subjected to racial abuse on social media. The flipside of our ubiquitous online world.

For Italy, Domenico Berardi, Leonardo Bonucci and Federico Bernardeschi scored; while the shots of Andrea Belotti and Jorginho were saved. 

And thus the quest of England for a major international win continues 55 years after their last triumph in the 1966 World Cup at the same Wimbley stadium.

England didn't win. But I enjoyed a thoroughly vigorous and enthusiastic contest.

The time was well past 3 am when I hit the sack.


24 comments:

  1. Hari OM
    I had enough just keeping track of Wimbles and the Tour de France! Well done to you. ... now we gear up for the big O's!!! YAM xx

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    1. Hi Yamini - That it was a Sunday helped.
      Yes, looking forward to the Olympics.

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  2. Too many sporting events to watch on that particular day. You were supporting England on the Euro 2020 Final? I was supporting Italy only to teach a lesson to the rowdy England fans. I was happy. Look what happened after the match. Racial slurs against their own players.

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  3. Good that u were able to catch most of the sporting action on that day... You are rekindling our intrest to watch sports again :)

    Destination Infinity

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    1. Hi Rajesh - I find sports interesting because the enthusiasm of the players is sort of infectious and inspirational too.

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    2. That it is, and why I get enthused about certain sports as well.

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  4. What a day! Hope you were stretched out comfortably, with plenty of snacks!

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  5. I am so NOT a sports person. Only time I do sports is when the kids played in things or the grands do. I followed Nascar for yrs cause my nephew raced but once he stopped...I did also.

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    1. Hi Pam - Yes, one needs to have some interest in sports to enjoy it. Pretty much like everything else. Thanks. Take care.

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  6. Your coverage of the various events is accurate and brilliant!

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  7. Hi Pradeep - phew ... that's a lot of tv!! I could only do the tennis - I think Berrettini was slightly injured ... but he'll be back ... also Djokovic is such a great player - he's come through thick and thin.
    I liked the idea of the female Croatian referee.
    I couldn't watch the football ... sad ending for the Brits.
    Cheers - Hilary

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  8. I enjoyed your great enthusiasm for what you are watching. I feel the same zeal with my favorites as well and talk of it to friends. So glad you enjoyed these matches and your run-down here of what happened is superb.

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    1. Hi Katie - Thank you, so much. Nowadays, I enjoy the energy and positivity of sports and games. Sort of infectious and inspirational.

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    2. I must agree that sports with its energy and you are correct. positivity IS inspirational and...it gets you up and around more than you may have done. Now, it's football that I love above all, but I and my children have dear dear friends from India, and my teacher son is at the home, even over night many times and he has begun to love cricket and tennis! That is, of course, what they watch and he watches as well.

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  9. I would love to contribute to this discourse, Pradeep, but since I have no interest at in professional sport, and never watch it, I am afraid that I must await a different topic.

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    1. Hi David - O, that's perfectly okay. We all have our interests; and all subjects don't obviously appeal to everyone.

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    2. Same here. Heh... I hope you got plenty of rest after such a late night, Pradeep!

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    3. Hi Darla - I did. Thanks :-)

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  10. I use to follow sports, mainly baseball.
    Coffee is on

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    Replies
    1. Hi Dora - Okay. We don't have baseball in India. I have seen matches on TV.

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  11. Wow, you did have a day of it, Pradeep! I'm not a real sports fan, but I love cricket (sadly, I never get to see it here in NL) and like the occasional game of tennis. Football leaves me cold, but my partner watches it and we agreed the outcome of the final was disappointing. Penalty shootouts are such an unsatisfactory way of ending a game. Still, hats off to you for your stamina! :)

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