After the coronavirus put paid to so many sporting events last year, it was great to see fans out and about this summer, enjoying the thrills and spills that live events can bring – even if numbers were restricted. We’ve still got plenty to look forward to for the remainder of the year, so while you check the latest odds for online betting with Betfair, let’s recap some of the actions of the last month.
Football: Euro 2020
Following its cancellation last year, Euro 2020 (or should that be 2021?) took place, culminating in the final on July 11th. Celebrating the 60th anniversary, the tournament was hosted by no fewer than 11 cities in as many countries, with Munich, Saint Petersburg, Rome, and Baku hosting the quarter-finals in early July, and Wembley the venue for the remaining fixtures,
Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions gave as good as they got, making it to a first major final since the 1966 World Cup win, but it wasn’t to be – with Roberto Mancini’s Italy side winning on penalties. Cristiano Ronaldo was named Golden Boot with five goals and one assist in 360 minutes of football. Gianluigi Donnarumma was named Player of the Tournament, while Spain’s Pedri won Young Player of the Tournament.
Football: Copa America
Across the Atlantic, the South American nations were meanwhile battling it out for Copa America. After several issues regarding hosting, Brazil was named emergency hosts – and Tite’s side were the reigning champions, having won on home soil in 2019 – beating Peru 3-1.
Argentina won their 15th title, after beating Brazil 1-0 in the final – a goal by Angel Di Maria the difference between the two sides at the Maracanã. Victory for Lionel Scaloni’s side ensured they leveled with Uruguay for the most titles won. It was also a huge achievement for another Lionel – Messi won his first major tournament with La Albiceleste. And the pint-sized forward won the Best Player Award, as well as the (joint) Top Scorer.
Golf: The Open Championship
Golf fans were treated to the 149th edition of The Open Championship earlier this month, which was held at Royal St George’s in Sandwich, Kent. And there was a surprise as Collin Morikawa won his second major title. Adding to the PGA Championship he won last year, the American recorded a score of 265, 15-under-par, and two strokes ahead of Jordan Spieth. Fellow former champion Louis Oosthuizen finished T2 alongside Jon Rahm, winner of the US Open.
Horse racing: Eclipse Summer Festival
The Summer Festival at Sandown Park took place earlier in July – with the two-day meeting playing host to the prestigious Group1 race, the Eclipse Stakes. The first day is known as Ladies’ Day, while day two is Eclipse Day.
The 2021 winner was St Mark’s Basilica, ridden by Ryan Moore and trained by Aidan O’Brien. Only a field of four took to the stalls, and beat Addeybb by three-and-a-half lengths, to record his fourth successive win – and stands in good stead to win the Horse of the Year. Of his colt, O’Brien said:
“He’s an incredible horse. He’s fast, is getting a mile and a quarter well, and relaxes. He changes gears and quickens.”
After it was postponed last year, the only Grand Slam played on grass returned, as Wimbledon returned. While many big-names pulled out pre-tournament, and there were further withdrawals as the tournament went on, the crowds who turned out at SW19 weren’t left disappointing.
Overwhelming favorite Novak Djokovic won the men’s singles final – retaining the title he had won back-to-back in 2018 and 2019. Not only was it his sixth Wimbledon title, but it marked his 20th Grand Slam – pulling level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who all share the record. The Serbian beat Italian Matteo Berrettini 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.
In the women’s singles, reigning champion Simona Halep pulled out, and instead it was the world number 1 Ashleigh Barty who retained her status and landed her second major title – adding to the French Open she won in 2019. The Australian beat the number eight seed Karolína Plíšková: 6–3, 6–7 (4–7), 6–3.