At a time of the year when we’re usually starved of sport, the summer of 2012 has been unseasonably good to us. With domestic football wrapped up until August (a lifetime away for many fans, granted, but in reality it isn’t that long to wait), we’re now enjoying the sporting equivalent of the calm before the storm.
The new England football boss, Roy Hodgson, is battening down the proverbial hatches, shoring up England’s defence to ensure the team can weather the thunderous frontline of France at their first Euro 2012 match on Monday June 11. Having cobbled together a side after only three training sessions, the signs are good, especially considering Hodgson will have further defensive reinforcements at his disposal in the form of the Chelsea contingent, who’ll be joining the squad this week after a post-Champions League break.
Conversely, the Germans leaked five goals against the Swiss (who failed to qualify for Euro 2012) in a game that ended 5-3, while favourites Spain made light work of Serbia with a 2-0 win in their first pre-tournament warm-up match. At this stage, it’s difficult to see anyone but Spain lifting the trophy.
Of course, summertime sport isn’t solely about Euro 2012 – there is, in case you haven’t heard, the small case of the London Olympics. With less than two months until the opening ceremony, now’s not the best time to suffer a dip in form – something that one of the biggest names of the Games is acutely aware of. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, the fastest man on Earth, recorded his slowest time in the 100m since 2009 (a snail-paced 10.04 seconds) at the Golden Spike meet in the Czech Republic. The man who first broke the 100m world record at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing (famously preparing for the race by eating chicken nuggets between naps) was at a loss as to why he performed so badly, but promised he’ll impress in London.
The English rugby season culminated with a showpiece clash between Harlequins (regular visitors to these shores) and Leicester on Saturday May 26, with the Quins lifting the Premiership trophy for the first time in their history after a 30-23 win. Rugby fans now have the summer internationals to look forward to, starting with Australia v Scotland on Tuesday June 5.
Keeping with rugby this side of the Arabian Gulf, the UAE clung onto their place in Asian rugby’s top tier despite losing 47-21 to South Korea. However, with two tries scored against the Koreans and results elsewhere going their way, the newly formed union can look forward to another season in the Asian Five Nations.
This week’s TV sporting highlights
Saturday June 2: Euro 2012 England v Belgium 8.15pm Norway v Croatia 9pm Poland v Andorra 9pm Denmark v Australia 9pm Holland v Northern Ireland 10pm Portugal v Turkey 11.45pm All games shown live on Al Jazeera