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Exams are over (well for some of us anyway) and summer can begin! But, if like me you find that the novelty of having nothing to do wears off after a couple of days, never fear; a great summer of sport awaits, with extensive coverage across the channels. Here’s my pick of the bunch over the next few months.
Football World Cup 2018 (14th June – 15th July)
The pinnacle of the footballing calendar : 32 countries from 6 continents, 64 matches, 11 Russian cities and only 1 winner. England are in Group G and face Tunisia (18th June), Panama (24th June) and Belgium (28th June) in what appears on paper to be a very straightforward group. Sadly, we know from past heartaches not to underestimate England’s opponents. Should England progress, Colombia or Poland are likely last 16 opponents with Brazil or maybe Germany waiting in the quarter-finals. Victory here would set up a heavyweight clash with one of Spain, France or Portugal, or potentially England’s Achilles heel – Iceland… Thanks to quite a kind draw I’m predicting a respectable quarter-final exit for England but I’m prepared to be embarrassed by that statement come the end of June.
If you can’t wait that long for your football fix, there are friendlies against Nigeria (2nd June) and Costa Rica (7th June) to provide a taste of what’s to come.
Wimbledon (2nd July – 15th July)
Summer signals the welcome return of Sue Barker and co. with a triple bill of Roland Garros (27th May -10th June), Queens and Eastbourne at the end of June and, my personal highlight of the sporting year, Wimbledon. The grass court season marks the reappearance of Roger Federer after the clay court season – will he be able to claim his 9th title? This season’s championships could also mark the return to form of Serena Williams in her comeback from pregnancy. A 7x champion (and that’s just in the singles), Serena is always a favourite in SW19.
Tour de France (7th July -29th July)
3329km and 21 stages covering the length and breadth of France. Be prepared for mountains, cobbles, sprints, dramatic breakaways and a welcome return for the team time trial. There are 4 main prizes up for grabs – the green jersey for sprinters, the polka-dot jersey for the king of the mountains, the white jersey for best young rider and the coveted yellow jersey. British successes could come in the shape of sprinter Mark Cavendish, reigning champion Chris Froome (should he be cleared of his drugs charges) and Lancashire lad Adam Yates in the general classification. Stages take all day so you really have to commit but ITV’s highlights show gives you the best of the action in a nice bitesize chunk.
If none of these catch your eye, there’s also county cricket, Super League rugby and the Challenge Cup quarter-finals (2nd-3rd June), Lewis Hamilton in the Formula 1 and plenty more to keep you occupied. Remotes at the ready, let the summer of sport begin!