A shorter Monday Musings’ today so that I also have time to look at the various permutations surrounding who can qualify from the group stage of the World Cup with the final round of group games about to commence.

A quick look back at the weekends World Cup results. Costa Rica continued their rather improbable run with a scrappy 1-0 victory over Italy in their Group D encounter, a result which eliminated England from the World Cup. Ghana kept their slim hopes of progressing from Group G alive as they held Germany to a 2-2 draw. It was a pulsating and historic match, as Miroslav Klose equaled Ronaldo’s record for the most goals in World Cup history. France and Algeria scored the most convincing wins of the weekend. France destroyed Switzerland 5-2. While favourites, I was one who thought the French would struggle but they were breathtaking on the counter. Switzerland had only conceded two goals in their previous six World Cup games but they could not cope with a dynamic French side who had five separate goal scorers. Elsewhere an inspired Algerian side put four past South Korea to take a giant step toward the Round of 16. Portugal and the USA played out one of the most exciting games of the World Cup with a 2-2 draw. The match wasn’t of the highest quality but was exciting because of the score and the implications, with Portugal scoring in the 95th minute to keep alive their World Cup hopes.

Round 14 of the AFL season saw wins for Sydney, Port Adelaide, Hawthorn, Gold Coast, Fremantle, Essendon, Greater Western Sydney, West Coast and North Melbourne. While my World Cup tipping wasn’t spot-on, in AFL I forecast eight of the nine, just missing Sydney who defeated Richmond by 11 points after trailing for most of the night. Fremantle moved into the top four at the expense of Geelong, and rankings are tightening up at the bottom of the eight. Collingwood (6th), North Melbourne (7th) and the Gold Coast Suns (8th) are all level on 32 points, one game clear of Essendon (9th), who are a game clear of West Coast and Adelaide.

The Melbourne Vixens were crowned champions of the trans-Tasman netball competition after a 53-42 win over the Queensland Firebirds. The Vixens entered the match as favourites. After a tight first three quarters, Melbourne led by just two points, and ran away with the match in the final term.

Tony Martin duly won the time trial and then held on to his lead on the penultimate stage of racing in the Tour de Suisse. However he was unable to defend the jersey on the final day. Instead it was a win for Rui Costa, his first in the rainbow jersey of the World Champion. Rui Costa took the stage honors ahead of Bauke Mollema and Mathias Frank, who both climbed on to the podium. The final stage was short, sharp and full of attacking racing. When Costa, Mollema and Frank attacked mid-way through the stage their teammates from the early breakaway dropped back to drive them on and this was the moment that the race was lost for Martin. He fought on gallantly to limit his losses and finish fourth overall. It was Rui Costa’s third consecutive Tour De Suisse win and he will now take to the start line of the Tour De France hoping to dispel doubts over his ability to lead a team in a Grand Tour.

To golf, briefly, and not because there was a major event but because something remarkable happened. American Kevin Streelman set a PGA tour record as he came from the clouds to win the Travelers Championship. Streelman became the first man on PGA Tour history to birdie the final seven holes of a tournament to win, as he snatched a one shot victory from Sergio Garcia and KJ Choi.

Nico Rosberg extended his lead in the Formula 1 drivers’ Championship with victory at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix. He led home another 1-2 for Mercedes, with Lewis Hamilton in second. Behind them it was the Williams duo of Valterri Botas and Felipe Massa, who had started on the front row of the grid after dominating qualifying. It was the first podium of Botas’ fledgling career.

The Wimbledon tennis championships start today. If you live in Australia good luck trying to balance tennis and World Cup viewing!


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