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The sports wrap 16th July 2018

LanguedocLiving, Jul 15

France beat Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup in Moscow.

France won the FIFA World Cup for the second time by overcoming Croatia's bold challenge in a thrilling final in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday. Didier Deschamps' side repeated the success on home soil at France '98 by a 4-2 margin that hardly looked possible as Croatia confronted the favourites for an hour. France's victory meant Deschamps, who captained Les Bleus 20 years ago, became just the third man to win the competition as a player and coach. Croatia also felt their luck deserted them, but ultimately France ran out victorious to erase the painful memories of the loss to Portugal in the Euro 2016 final in Paris. The two countries delivered an enthralling spectacle that brought the highest goal tally in a final since 1966, a pitch invasion, and a controversial intervention from the video assistant referee (VAR) that had a huge influence on the outcome. France took the lead after 18 minutes when Antoine Griezmann's (pictured) free-kick deflected in off Mario Mandzukic's head - but Croatia were by far the better side in the first half and deservedly equalised courtesy of Ivan Perisic's left-foot finish. Croatia were left nursing a burning sense of injustice when France restored their lead seven minutes before half-time through Griezmann's penalty, awarded by referee Nestor Pitana for handball against Perisic after a lengthy delay while VAR was consulted. In a compelling second half, France looked to have wrapped it up with two strikes in six minutes from Paul Pogba and teenager Kylian Mbappe either side of the hour mark. Croatia, however, threatened a comeback when Mandzukic took advantage of a bizarre error by France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris who hesitated over a clearance and gifted a goal back. But France closed out the win to bring redemption for Deschamps after defeat at the Euros two years ago, sparking wild celebrations and ensuring Tottenham Hotspur’s Lloris lifted the World Cup (source:BBC Sports).

Degenkolb claims 1st Tour de France win by taming cobbles

Two years after suffering a career-threatening accident, former Paris-Roubaix champion John Degenkolb claimed his maiden Tour de France win on his favourite terrain when he tamed the cobbles and powered to victory in Sunday’s ninth stage (see full article – Degenkolb beats race leader for maiden Tour de France win).

Djokovic beats Anderson to win fourth Wimbledon title

Novak Djokovic earned his first Grand Slam title in more than two years by beating South African Kevin Anderson to win his fourth Wimbledon championship. Djokovic, seeded 12th, won 6-2 6-2 7-6 (7-3) to claim a 13th Slam - his first major since the 2016 French Open. The Serb, 31, quickly took control to win the opening set in 29 minutes, breaking twice more in the second set. Djokovic saw off five set points in an even third set before dominating the tie-break to seal victory. "I had many moments of doubt, I didn't know if could come back to this level to compete," said Djokovic, who also won the Wimbledon title in 2011, 2014 and 2015. "There is no better place to make a comeback, it's a sacred place for the world of tennis, it's very special." He is now in outright fourth place on the all-time list of Grand Slam men's singles titles, moving clear of Roy Emerson and closing the gap on Roger Federer (20), Rafael Nadal (17) and Pete Sampras (14). The former world No.1 will move back into the top 10 when the latest rankings are released on Monday. After struggling with injury, it is his first title since winning Eastbourne last year. In the Women’s Singles, Angelique Kerber beat seven-time champion Serena Williams to win her first Wimbledon title and spoil the American's dream comeback as a mum. The German 11th seed, 30, beat the 23-time Grand Slam champion 6-3 6-3 to add this title to her 2016 Australian Open and US Open crowns. Williams had been the favourite despite it being only her fourth tournament since giving birth in September. "It is a dream come true," said Kerber, who is the first German woman to win the title since Steffi Graf in 1996. (See Tuesday’s Languedoc Living for a full report on the Wimbledon fortnight by our Tennis Correspondent Katrina Allen).

Joe Root’s ton helps England level ODI series against India

Yorkshireman Joe Root's gritty century laid the foundations for England's series-levelling victory over India in the second one-day international at Lord's on Saturday. Root made 113, and David Willey's unbeaten 50 from 31 balls gave England the late impetus to reach a formidable 322 for seven wickets.Though India slipped to 60 for three in reply, the reassuring presence of captain Virat Kohli kept them in the game. However, after he went lbw to Moeen Ali for 45, the tourists limped to 236, losing by 86 runs. The three-match series is left poised at 1-1 and will be decided at Headingley on Tuesday. A 2-1 defeat in the Twenty20 series and a huge loss in the first ODI on Thursday has posed questions for England who are currently the top ranked ODI nation and win the World Cup on home soil next year.

Catalans held to a 22-22 draw by Warrington Wolves

The Catalans Dragons, seeking a ninth victory in 10 Super League outings, had to settle for a 22-22 draw against fourth-placed Warrington Wolves at the Halliwell Stadium. The Catalans, who moved up to seventh on points difference over Huddersfield Giants, were given an early boost by Benjamin Jullien but Bryson Goodwin touched down to level the scores and Josh Charnley crossed to put the hosts into the lead. Michael McIlorum narrowed the deficit after half an hour while Tony Gigot's score put them ahead at the break. Warrington’s Tyrone Roberts and Australian Josh Drinkwater both kicked well to tie the game, but neither side could snatch a late win. With a thrilling final 10 minutes set up when Drinkwater kicked a penalty goal, Gigot missed the opportunity to steal the lead as he kicked a drop goal narrowly wide. A frantic ending continued as Roberts missed a drop goal attempt right in front of the posts with just over two minutes to spare. At the top of the table, St Helens extended their lead to eight points as they came from behind to beat Hull FC 34-18. Tommy Makinson and Australian Ben Barba put Saints ahead at the break after a first-minute Hull try by Bureta Faraimo, who scored again towards the end of the half. Jansin Turgut and Albert Kelly both touched down to put Hull FC ahead but Barba scored again to narrow the gap. Saints led again after Jonny Lomax's brace and tries from Adam Swift and Luke Thompson got the visitors victory.

Marquez wins in Germany for ninth year in a row

Honda’s Spanish MotoGP champion Marc Marquez triumphed for the ninth year in a row in Germany on Sunday to stretch his lead over Italian great Valentino Rossi to 46 points ahead of the European summer break. Rossi finished second, 2.196 seconds behind, with Spanish Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales third at the Sachsenring circuit. Marquez led from pole position but fell behind fast-starting compatriot Jorge Lorenzo before retaking the lead from the Ducati rider with 18 laps remaining and pulling away. Lorenzo was also reeled in by Rossi before struggling for grip and fading to sixth. Marquez’s run of wins at the eastern circuit started in 2010 when he was in the 125cc category (now Moto3). He then won in Moto2 in 2011 and 2012 and is on a sequence of six in MotoGP. Sunday’s could be the last German grand prix at the Sachsenring, however, with speculation that the race could switch to the Nuerburgring due to contractual issues. The Spaniard has 165 points after nine races to Rossi’s 119. The next race is at Brno in the Czech Republic on 5 August.

South African Stone wins Scottish Open with a 10-under-par 60

South African Brandon Stone shot a 10-under-par 60 in one of the best rounds in European Tour history to finish at 20-under and win the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open on Sunday. The round at Gullane Golf Club - which included eight birdies and an eagle - tied the European Tour's single-round scoring record, as no player has ever shot 59 in the 46-year history of the Tour. The 25-year-old Stone had a 12-footer for birdie on 18 to shoot 59, but his birdie effort took a late turn left and did not drop. His 60 is the 29th such round in European Tour history, and it beats the Gullane course record of 61 that was set earlier this week. Stone started the round three strokes behind ovenright leader Jens Danport and two behind a host of players at 12-under, including Rickie Fowler. It is Stone's third European Tour victory and one that gets him into next week's Open Championship at Carnoustie

Samoa beat Germany to qualify for 2019 Rugby World Cup

Samoa qualified for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan after beating Germany 42-28 for a second time in their playoff in Heidelberg on Saturday. The loss means Germany now go through to a repechage tournament in Marseille in November. Samoa, who won the first leg 66-15 in Apia two weeks ago, will join Ireland, Scotland, Japan, and Russia in Pool A at the World Cup in Japan in September-October next year. World Rugby announced that the venue for the four-team round-robin repechage tournament will be the Stade Delort in Marseille. It will be played across three match days on Sunday 11 November, Saturday, 17 November and Friday, 23 November. The repechage tournament is a new concept for Rugby World Cup qualification and represents the last opportunity for a team to qualify for Japan 2019 with four nations fighting it out to secure the 20th and final place in Japan. Hong Kong, Canada and Germany have now been confirmed with the line-up completed on 18 August when the Rugby Africa Gold Cup comes to a conclusion with the champions qualifying directly for Japan 2019, and the runners-up entering the repechage. The repechage winner will enter in to group B at the Rugby World Cup alongside reigning champions New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Africa 1.

Legendary boxer Pacquiao claims WBA welterweight title

Legendary Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao put in a dominant display in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday night as he stopped Lucas Matthysse in the seventh round to claim the WBA welterweight title from the Argentine. Pacquiao dropped Matthysse in the third and fifth rounds before the referee stopped it after he sent him to the canvas for a third time in the seventh. The victory gave the 39-year-old the 60th win of his career, which also includes seven losses and two draws. It was his first inside the distance since 2009. Pacquaio, who has been world champion at eight different weights, was having his first bout since losing the WBO welterweight title to unheralded Australian Jeff Horn in Brisbane a year ago. The win gives him his 11th world title in an incredible career that has made him a national hero and helped propel his political career as a Senator.

For full reports on all the weekend sporting events go to:,,,,,

Calendar Keynotes: 16–22 July 

Monday, 16 July

Cycling: Tour de France, Rest Day, Annecy. 

Tuesday, 17 July

Cycling: Tour de France, Stage 10, Annecy/Le Grand-Bournand, 168.5km, mountain.

Cricket: ODI series, England v India, Headingley, Leeds.

Wednesday, 18 July

Cycling: Tour de France, Stage 11, Albertville/La Rosiere Espace San Bernardo, 108.5km, mountain.

Football: European Champions League qualifying first round – Celtic v Alashkert. 

Thursday, 19 July

Cycling: Tour de France, Stage 12, Bourg-Saint-Maurice Les Arcs/Alpe d’Huez, 175.5km, mountain.

Rugby League: Super League – Wigan Warriors v St. Helens.

Golf: British Open, Carnoustie, Scotland (till 22 July) 

Friday, 20 July

Cycling: Tour de France, Stage 13, Bourg d’Oisans/Valence, 169.5km, flat.

Formula One: German Grand Prix, Hockenheim (till 22 July).

Rugby League: Super League: Castleford Tigers v Huddersfield Giants, Hull KR v Warrington Wolves, Leeds Rhinos v Widnes Vikings.

Golf: British Open, Carnoustie, Scotland (till 22 July)

Athletics: IAAF Diamond League, Monaco. 

Saturday, 21 July

Cycling: Tour de France Stage 14, Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux/Mende, 188km, hilly. .

Formula One: German Grand Prix, Hockenheim (till 22 July).

Rugby League: Super League – Catalans Dragons v Salford Red Devils.

Golf: British Open, Carnoustie, Scotland (till 22 July)

Athletics: IAAF Diamond League, London (till 22 July)

Sunday, 22 July

Cycling: Tour de France Stage 15. Millau/Carcassonne, 181.5km, hilly.

Formula One: German Grand Prix, Hockenheim (race day).

Rugby League: Super League – Wakefield Trinity v Hull FC.

Golf: British Open, Carnoustie, Scotland (till 22 July)

Athletics: IAAF Diamond League, London (final day)





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