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The sports wrap 8th July 2018

LanguedocLiving, Jul 8

England, France through to semis as Russian fairytale ends.

European nations saw off the South American challenge in the World Cup quarter-finals with France despatching Uruguay 2-0 and Belgium beating favourites Brazil 2-1 to set up a mouth-watering encounter, while England beat Sweden 2-0 and will meet Croatia in the last four after they cruelly ended host country Russia’s fairytale in a 4-3 penalty shoot-out. In Nizhny Novgorod, France made the semi-finals for the first time since 2006 after seeing off Uruguay with the help of a terrible error by goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. Raphael Varane headed France into a first-half lead from a free-kick that came straight off the training field, with Antoine Griezmann checking his run before delivering the perfect cross for the Real Madrid defender to glance home. France continued to control possession in the second half and were gifted the goal that made certain of their victory. When Griezmann let fly from the edge of the area, Muslera misjudged the flight of the ball, flapped at the shot, and saw it loop slowly over the line. In Samara, England reached the semifinals for the first time since 1990 as Leicester City’s Harry Maguire and Tottenham Hotspur’s Dele Alli struck either side of the interval to beat an organized Sweden. Gareth Southgate's side will now face Croatia in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday with help from a magnificent display by goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. Maguire, outstanding once more, broke the deadlock on the half-hour when another England set-piece bore fruit – the powerful defender flashing a header past Sweden keeper Robin Olsen from Ashley Young's corner. England sealed their victory after 58 minutes when Alli headed in Jesse Lingard's cross at the far post. In Kazan, superstar Neymar joined Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi on the way home as Belgium produced a brilliant performance to beat five-time winners Brazil 2-1 and reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1986. Roberto Martinez's side turned on the style to clock up their fifth straight win of the tournament and ensure the semifinals will be contested by four European sides for the first time since 2006. In Sochi, Croatia ended Russia's remarkable run with a heart-breaking defeat on penalties as they bounced back from a late extra-time equalizer to make it 2-2. Russian defender Mario Fernandes, who had brought his side level through a header in the 115th-minute, missed what proved to be the decisive spot-kick, with Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic making no mistake as he ended the hosts' remarkable run at this tournament.

Sagan back with a vengeance to win Tour de France Stage 2

World champion Peter Sagan won stage two of the Tour de France to take the overall race lead. The Slovak surged past French hope Arnaud Demare on the slight incline to the finish and held off the fast-finishing Italian Sonny Colbrelli. Sagan takes the yellow jersey from stage-one winner Fernando Gaviria, who was unable to contest the sprint after being held up by a late crash (see full article - Sagan back with a vengeance to win Tour de France Stage 2)

Vettel deprives Hamilton of home Formula One GP victory

Germany’s Sebastian Vettel won the British Grand Prix for Ferrari on Sunday to deny Lewis Hamilton a fifth successive home victory and move eight points clear at the top of the Formula One standings. In a race with two late safety car periods, reigning champion Hamilton went from pole position to the rear of the field before finishing second for Mercedes in a brilliant fightback. The Briton appeared drained by the effort, and deeply unimpressed by a first-lap collision with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen that sent him spinning to the back. Raikkonen ended up a close third, after incurring a 10-second penalty. The win was Vettel’s fourth of the season, 51st of his career, and once-dominant champions Mercedes’ first defeat at Silverstone since 2012 before the V6 turbo hybrid era start. It was Ferrari’s first win in Britain since 2011. Hamilton was on a charge from the first lap, back up to seventh after nine laps but still 26 seconds behind his fellow four-times world champion. The appearance of the safety car on the 33rd of 52 laps, after Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson crashed at Abbey, was greeted with a huge cheer from the 140,500 crowd who had already cheered Hamilton’s every overtake. Vettel and Raikkonen pitted but Mercedes kept their drivers out, assuring Hamilton that he was “the fastest guy by miles” with everything to play for on tyres that would last the distance. Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas led and might have won but for a second safety car, after Renault’s Carlos Sainz and Haas’s Romain Grosjean collided, that kept the front four nose to tail and only fractions apart. Vettel passed Bottas at Brooklands five laps from the end, with the Finn’s tyres fading, and Hamilton was also through a lap later and the chase was on to the finish with the German winning by 2.2 seconds. Bottas was fourth with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo fifth and Nico Hulkenberg sixth for Renault.

Federer, Nadal and Williams all in action on “Manic Monday”

The great tennis rivals and world No.1 and No.2, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, will both be in action on 'Manic Monday' at Wimbledon with all of the men's and women's last 16 singles ties taking place in what promises to be one of the most exciting days in the tennis calendar. Defending champion Federer faces French 22nd seed Adrian Mannarino while two-time champion Nadal plays Jiri Vesely. Seven-time winner and 25th seed Serena Williams, now the favourite for the women's title after the defeat of nine of the 10 top seeds, plays Russian qualifier Evgeniya Rodina. Three-time champion Novak Djokovic will play Karen Khachanov while mercurial Frenchman Gael Monfils meets eighth seed Kevin Anderson. Karolina Pliskova, the only remaining women's top 10 seed, plays world No.20 Kiki Bertens. The demise of nine out of 10 women’s top seeds is a record for the Open era - since tennis went professional in 1968 - because until now at least four of the top 10 seeds had always reached the fourth round. Seventh seed Karolina Pliskova is still in the draw but a total of 14 women's seeds had made exits from the All England Club by the end of the second round. On Saturday world No.1 Simona Halep was knocked out by Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei. In the men's draw, 16 seeds got through to the third round, which is the lowest number since 2003 when there were 15.

India wrap up Twenty20 series with brilliant Rohit ton

Rohit Sharma made a stunning 100 not out to help India beat England by seven wickets in the third Twenty20 and secure a 2-1 series victory in Bristol on Sunday. England, batting first, could only manage 87 runs from the final 10 overs to post 198 for eight wickets, despite Jason Roy's 67 from 31 balls. Rohit shared an 89-run stand with captain Virat Kohli and accelerated in the final overs to put India in control. He and Hardik Pandya closed out the match with eight balls to spare. It is the highest successful run chase by any team against England in an international T20 match. Three terrific catches from England - one from Jake Ball and two by Chris Jordan - interrupted India's chase. However, Hardik took 20 runs from Ball's bowling in the 18th over to put India ahead of the run rate and turn the match firmly in their favour. A lofted drive from Hardik, who made 33 from 14 balls, ensured an impressive victory from India in front of a packed crowd. In Headingley, England women swept to a record 142-run win over New Zealand in the opening match of the three-match one-day series. Amy Jones and captain Heather Knight each made 63 and Tammy Beaumont 40 in England's 290-5, despite 17-year-old Amelia Kerr's 2-36 at Headingley. New Zealand collapsed from 70-0 to 148 all out, bowled out with 14.3 overs unused on a blameless surface as Nat Sciver took 3-18 and Laura Marsh 3-24.

Catalans win again to continue surge up Super League ladder

Brayden Wiliame scored twice as Catalans Dragons,continued their surge up the Super League ladder with a 35-18 victory away to Wakefield Trinity on Saturday. It was the Dragons seventh win from their last nine Super League games and moved them up to seventh in the table, level on points with Wakefield. First-half tries from Greg Bird, Benjamin Julien, David Mead and Wiliame helped the Dragons into a 22-12 interval lead. Wakefield scored through Justin Horo (two) and Tom Johnstone. But Wiliame completed his brace while Fouad Yaha also went over and Australian Josh Drinkwater kicked five goals. St Helens maintained their six-point lead at the top of the table with an emphatic 36-6 win over bottom club Widnes Vikings with Wigan Warriors second after edging Warrington Wolves 13-12 at home.

Scotland’s Knox wins dramatic Irish Open in play-off

Scotland's Russell Knox won a dramatic Irish Open as he edged out New Zealand's Ryan Fox on the first hole of a play-off at Ballyliffin on Sunday. World No.87 Knox, 33, secured victory by holing a 40-foot birdie effort after knocking in an almost identical putt to force the extra hole. Fox, son of All Black great Grant Fox, missed a 10-footer on the 72nd green to clinch victory and then saw a putt of similar length lip out on the same 18th in the play-off. Knox hit a closing 66 and Fox a 68. The duo finished a stroke ahead of Spain's Jorge Campillo, who fired a course-record equalling 65 as defending champion Jon Rahm hit an eventful 66 to share fourth with overnight leader South African Erik van Rooyen. Van Rooyen's four-stroke lead was cancelled out when Fox birdied the 11th to join the South African on 12 under. The South African had birdied the fourth to move to 15 under but his three bogeys in four holes from the sixth gave hope to the chasing pack. World No.5 Rahm looked out of contention following a triple bogey at the second but an eagle at the sixth undid some of the damage and his four closing birdies included a tap-in at the 18th after wedge approach hit the pin. The victory earned Knox a prize of almost £890,000 and his first win since the Travelers Championship in the US in 2016. Tournament host Rory McIlroy finished in a share of 28th place on two under par after a closing 71. In White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, South Korean-born American Kevin Na captured his first US PGA title in seven years on Sunday, with a six-under-par 64 to claim the Greenbrier Classic by five shots. The 34-year-old finished on 19 under and choked up when thanking fans in Korean on television after his triumph. He had made 158 starts since his only prior PGA victory at the 2011 Shriners Hospitals Open. Third-round co-leader Kelly Kraft carded an even-par 70 to claim second place on 14 under, with fellow Americans Brandt Snedeker and Jason Kokrak tied for third a shot further back.

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

Calendar Keynotes: 9–15 July 

Monday, 9 July

Tennis: All England Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon (till 15 July)

Cycling: Tour de France, Stage 3, Team Time Trial, Cholet/Cholet, 35.5km.

Tuesday, 10 July

Football: World Cup semifinal - France v Belgium (20:00)

Tennis: All England Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon (till 15 July)

Cycling: Tour de France, Stage 4, La Baule/Sarzeau, 195km, flat.

Cricket: Women’s ODI series, England v New Zealand, Derby. 

Wednesday, 11 July

Football: World Cup semifinal – Croatia v England (20:00)

Tennis: All England Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon (till 15 July)

Cycling: Tour de France, Stage 5, Lorient/Quimper, 204.5km, hillly 

Thursday, 12 July

Tennis: All England Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon (till 15 July)

Cycling: Tour de France, Stage 6, Brest/Mur-de-Bretagne Guerledan, 181km, hilly.

Cricket: ODI series, England v India, Trent Bridge, Nottingham.

Rugby League: Super League – Huddersfield Giants v Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves v Catalans Dragons.

Golf: USPGA Tour, John Deere Classic, TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Illinois, US (till 15 July), PGA European Tour, Scottish Open, Gullane Golf Club (till 15 July). 

Friday, 13 July

Tennis: All England Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon (till 15 July)

Cycling: Tour de France, Stage 7, Fougeres/Chartres, 231km, flat.

Rugby League: Super League: Hull FC v St Helens, Leeds Rhinos v Wakefield Trinity, Salford Red Devils v Castleford Tigers.

Cricket: Women’s ODI series, England v New Zealand, Leicester.

Golf: USPGA Tour, John Deere Classic, TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Illinois, US (till 15 July), PGA European Tour, Scottish Open, Gullane Golf Club (till 15 July).

Athletics: IAAF Diamond League, Rabat, Morocco. 

Saturday, 14 July

Football: World Cup third place play-off (16:00).

Cycling: Tour de France Stage 8, Dreux/Amiens Metropole, 181km, flat.

Tennis: All England Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon (till 15 July)

Cricket: ODI series, England v India, Lord’s London.

Rugby League: Super League – Widnes Vikings v Hull KR.

Golf: USPGA Tour, John Deere Classic, TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Illinois, US (till 15 July), PGA European Tour, Scottish Open, Gullane Golf Club (till 15 July). 

Sunday, 15 July

Football: World Cup Final (17:00).

Cycling: Tour de France Stage 9, Arras/Citadelle Roubaix, 156.5km, hilly.

Tennis: All England Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon (final day)

Cricket: Twenty20 International, England v India, Bristol..

Rugby League: Super League –

Golf: USPGA Tour, John Deere Classic, TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Illinois, US (till 15 July), PGA European Tour, Scottish Open, Gullane Golf Club (till 15 July).





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