London’s Olympic Games will be the poorer for David Beckham’s absence and his omission from Britain’s football squad highlights the lottery of selections based on subjectivity instead of results.
The fact that so many of the UK’s esteemed football writers - normally highly critical appraisers of sporting talent – have voiced their dismay on social networking sites shows how many experts recognized that Beckham’s place at the Olympics was about more than just his merit as a player.
Henry Winter of Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper wrote “Becks deserved more respect.” Matt Dickinson from The Times tweeted, “shocked by the Beckham news” while The Mirror’s John Cross said he was “Stunned – Beckham deserved it on every level.” FULL POST
You wouldn’t blame Mario Balotelli for digging out his “Why Always Me?” T-shirt after he was compared to King Kong by Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.
It was an ill-judged cartoon which proves, yet again, how much more attitudes in the football world need to change to stop black footballers being singled out for the color of their skin.
If a respected publication like Gazetta, which has been running for more than a century, can sanction an illustration comparing someone from an ethnic minority with a famous gorilla – even in jest – then is it any wonder that anti-racism campaigners remain dismayed by football’s attempts to eradicate the problem? FULL POST
Back during his unveiling with Miami in July 2010, LeBron James promised Heat fans he would bring them “not two, not three… not seven” but maybe even more NBA championships.
While seven or eight may be a stretch, “King James” delivered at least one after the Heat ousted the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games in the NBA Finals. After all, you need to win one to get to eight, right?
It took James until his ninth season to claim his maiden title. But this victory could open the floodgates. It’s not just that he won, it is how he won. FULL POST
Novak Djokovic and Petra Kvitova defend their titles when the 126th edition of Wimbledon begins next week, but the odds are against both of them lifting the trophies for the second year in a row.
Such is the competitive nature of modern tennis, this feat was last achieved back in 1986 when Boris Becker and Martina Navratilova completed the double double. FULL POST
Wow! What a tournament! The group phase of Euro 2012 has yielded some fantastic games. No 0-0 draws and a total of 60 goals in 24 matches.
With the tournament now moving to the knockout stage, this is a good time to pick out some of the top performers so far. My choices are below, and let me know your thoughts about the action in Poland and Ukraine. FULL POST
Even just a few months ago, it would have been sporting heresy. Now, it was just a throwaway comment between colleagues in the office. “I’m bored with Spain.” I nodded in agreement - it was hard to argue.
Can it be true? Are we really getting tired of watching the world and European champions? An international side that echoes the quality of Barcelona; a team of footballing matadors with players who can humiliate their opponents, passing them to death and running them into the ground as they chase the ball in vain. FULL POST
And so it goes on. The era of first-time major winners, the age in which golf's biggest prizes are shared around, the Olympic Club's tendency to favor the underdog and even, in perhaps God's little joke, the trend of deeply religious men winning U.S. Opens in San Francisco.
Webb Simpson did what few others have managed before in a U.S. Open – and what no-one else managed this weekend at Olympic - when he shot a closing pair of 68s to win his first major. He thoroughly earned his elevation - and proved he has the game and temperament to win another.
Whether he does so given this unprecedentedly democratic run of changing champions - 15 different major winners in a row, the last nine of them first-timers - remains to be seen, but for now there's time to enjoy his achievement, and the profile and security it will bring. FULL POST
"Sing" was the name of Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber's song to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Shame it wasn't given the subtitle "And Prove You Know the Words." Then it could have been used as the official anthem for football's European Championships and the London Olympics as well.
Because it seems people have a bit of a bee in their bonnets. Even the non-royal ones. FULL POST
It’s official - I have Euro fever. After three days in Warsaw I am already starting to eat, breathe and sleep football.
With the 2012 UEFA European Championship kicking off on Friday, it’s time to look into my crystal ball and predict what will and won’t happen over the next month in Poland and Ukraine. FULL POST