1) The 2019 Women’s World Cup begins in France on Friday, so let’s take a look at finals through the years. Last time out, the United States thrashed Japan 5-2, with Carli Lloyd scoring a 15-minute hat-trick, the third goal scored from the halfway line. In 2011, Japan had shocked USA by winning the final on penalties, months after the tsunami that devastated the country – with two players who had worked at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Germany defeated Marta’s Brazil in 2007, and beat Sweden in 2003 thanks to Nia Künzer’s golden-goal header. The only other team to win the trophy are Norway, who won in 1995 after Hege Riise’s solo effort did for Germany. There’s also the first ever final, in 1991, And how about this: the 1984 Mundialito final, between Italy and West Germany from 1984.
2) Following on from Andy Ruiz Jr’s shock win over Anthony Joshua, here are some more historic heavyweight upsets. Buster Douglas knocks Mike Tyson out back in 1990; Lennox Lewis seriously underestimates Hasim Rahman in 2001, and gets rocked by Oliver McCall in 1994 (complete with no-expense-spent intro!). Back to 1978, and a declining Muhammad Ali is well beaten by Leon Spinks. Worth remembering, though, that two of Ali’s finest victories – against Sonny Liston and George Foreman – came against the odds.
3) Rugby Sevens is brilliant fun – never more so than when the ball inadvertently disappears into a player’s shirt that is ripped off and passed inside with the ball still in it.
4) The world shin kicking championships in Chipping Campden featured some wince-inducing clunks, clacks and thuds.
5) In France’s third-tier play-offs, Le Mans needed one more goal to win promotion against Gazélec Ajaccio. With 97 minutes on the board (and Gazélec having just missed a penalty), this happened:
6) Downhill skiing in the dark anyone?
Our favourites from below the line last week
1) Think Ben Stokes made the best catch in World Cup history last week? Think again. Step forward big Dwayne Leverock for Bermuda in 2007.
2) The US Open takes place at Pebble Beach from next Thursday – so here’s a supercut of every winning moment since 1960.
3) A young Lionel Messi does his thing on a shocker of a pitch back in Argentina.
4) Imagine volleyball. But with a shuttlecock. And you can’t use your hands. You’ve just imagined the hardest sport on earth.
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