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Women’s Euro: England crowned at home



English football fans have been waiting for their first title since Bobby Charlton’s gang got their hands on the 1966 World Cup. Deliverance did not come from the men’s team as they had imagined, beaten a while ago. year at home in the final of the Euro by Italy, but women’s football. Sunday July 31 in London, the “Three Lionesses” won their first European championship, which they organized, by defeating Germany in the final, at the end of the extension (victory 2-1).

The English have long been on par with a Germany already accustomed to European honors – eight times titled at the Euro – but deprived, a few minutes before kick-off, of its captain and top scorer, Alexandra Popp, executioner of the France team in the previous round and victim of “muscular problems” during warm-up. Sarina Wiegman’s players had to wait for the hour mark to find the opening thanks to Ella Toone, at the conclusion of a counter-attack with a subtle lob on the German goalkeeper (1-0, 62nd). Before falling back too much and then conceding the equalizer by Lina Magull, cutting off a low center from Tabea Wassmuth (1-1, 79th).

87,000 spectators

Extra time, and a possible penalty shootout, would decide the winner. The meeting definitely tipped over to the English side when Chloe Kelly took advantage of a mess at the reception of a corner to place a sharp close (2-1, 111th), capsizing the mythical enclosure of Wembley and its over 87,000 spectators. Either the record for a European championship match, men and women combined. “It’s the moment of my life that I’m most proud of. (…) I won’t sleep all week, confided the English captain Leah Williamson after the final, at the microphone of the BBC. What this tournament will leave is above all the change in society. That’s all we’ve done together bringing people to the games, but what this team will leave behind are winners and that’s just the beginning of the journey. »

Three years after the World Cup organized in France, which had already concretized the upward trajectory of women in football, and despite the slowdown in this progress due, since 2020, to the Covid-19 pandemic, the English Euro ends on an undeniable popular success. With nearly 575,000 cumulative supporters present in English stadiums in July, the influx of this Euro pulverizes the best mark for the women’s continental competition, which was achieved five years ago in the Netherlands with half as many spectators. . “Your success goes far beyond the trophy you so well deserved. You have all set an example that will inspire girls and women today and for generations to come,” said in a press release Queen Elizabeth II, who now only speaks on very rare occasions.

At the national level, this success also validates the choice as coach of the Dutchwoman Sarina Wiegman, undefeated since taking office in September 2021, she who had led the Netherlands to the European title in 2017 and to the final of the World Cup 2019. One year from the next World Cup and two years from the Paris Olympics, this title also crowns a country that has returned to the map of women’s football in Europe in recent years, thanks to a major reform decided in 2017 by the English Federation and aimed at professionalizing its championship.

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Roland-Garros: 14th coronation at the end of pain for Rafael Nadal



“It’s extraordinary for me to play here. » Normally, the expression of Rafael Nadal would be classified among the few clichés that the player recites in French on the court after each of his victories on clay in Paris. This Sunday, June 5, however, the public had every reason to believe in the sincerity of the Spaniard, who remained to greet his supporters after his victory in the Roland-Garros final against the Norwegian Casper Ruud (6-3, 6-3, 6 -0).

→ PORTRAIT. Victory of Iga Swiatek, undisputed patron of women’s tennis

If he had come to covet a 14e crowned this year at the Porte d’Auteuil, the “Manacor bull” did not advance in the skin of the favorite, but rather with a muffled step, three weeks after limping during the preparation tournament in Rome, where the Marjorquin had been eliminated in the round of 16. Blame it on chronic foot pain, which had already kept him out of court for five months last season.

An incurable degenerative disease

Like Federer in 2017, Nadal made a triumphant and surprising return to Melbourne in January, at the first Grand Slam of the year, one of the four most demanding tournaments on the calendar, which are played over two weeks. and best of five sets. The title may have brought him the record of victories in major tournaments (21), he could not remove the discomfort felt from the middle to the back of his left foot, which the Spaniard has been dragging like a ball since his first Roland-Garros , contested – and won – 17 years ago.

At the time, the player was diagnosed with Müller-Weiss syndrome, an incurable degenerative disease with unknown origins affecting the navicular bone, usually observed in 40-60 year olds. ” This bone is subjected to significant stress and, for reasons that we do not know, loses its vascularization and becomes necrotic,” explained this week Denis Mainard, president of the French Association of Foot Surgery, quoted by Agence France-Presse.

→ LANDMARKS. Between Rafael Nadal and Roland-Garros, a history made of records

While an operation would make his foot too stiff, and would in fact prohibit him from continuing at the highest level, the Spaniard is holding on thanks to “a ton of daily anti-inflammatories, he explained between two games. If I don’t take it, I limp.”

Since the start of the tournament at Roland-Garros, Rafael Nadal has been physically pushed to his limits by the Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime in the round of 16, won in five sets. He suffered against world No. 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals. He will thus have chained more than eight hours of play at very high intensity in two days.

He started on the same basis in the semi-final, before Alexander Zverev’s ankle twisted and forced the German to retire, after three hours for only two sets, the most hung of the fortnight.

Resilience

The champion seems to have clung all the more to join the final as it could be his ” last match at Roland-Garros or even [sa] career “he warned at a press conference. “After this tournament I don’t know what will happen. If we can’t find an improvement, a small solution, it will be very hard for me. So far, we haven’t found a solution. »

Despite a preparation also truncated by a rib injury, at the end of March, his coach and former player, Carlos Moya, did not say “not surprised” of the career of his player, who, at 36, has become the oldest to play in a final at Roland-Garros: “ I know what he is capable of doing to survive in the worst conditions, I know his resilience. This is further proof of this tournament. […] You always hope Rafa gets something out of next to nothing. Every game he’s saved since the start of this tournament is like turning into a new player.”he assured The TeamSaturday.

→ STORY. Roland-Garros: Nadal bends Djokovic and qualifies for the semi-finals

“Players have a better resistance to pain in individual sports, because their careers largely depend on this parameter”, agrees Nicolas Rolland sports doctor and referent at the France pole in Poitiers, who already observed several Müller-Weiss syndromes” in his career. “But it’s rarely caught early: tennis players compensate for the pain so much with their muscles that when the pain shows up, you often realize that it’s already at an advanced stage. »

With this 22nd Grand Slam trophy won at the end of the pain, Nadal could be tempted to prolong his effort and further push the record of titles in major tournaments, from Wimbledon in three weeks.

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Athletics: Frenchwoman Cyrena Samba-Mayela crowned indoor world champion in the 60m hurdles



The French Cyrena Samba-Mayela was crowned indoor world champion in the 60m hurdles on Saturday March 19 in Belgrade. This is the first podium for the French team since the start of the World Championships on Friday. Samba-Mayela, 21, won in 7 sec 78, a new French record, ahead of Bahamian Devynne Charlton (7 sec 81) and American Gabriele Cunningham (7 sec 87).

A discipline in crisis

Samba-Mayela, one of the greatest hopes of tricolor athletics, won his first medal on the international level. The protege of Teddy Tamgho thus confirms at the highest level a potential glimpsed in the youth categories. The native of Champigny-sur-Marne was indeed vice-world champion among the cadets in 2017 and silver medalist at the Euro juniors in 2021 in the 100m hurdles.

It gives a little balm to the heart to a discipline in the midst of a crisis in France and which has been accumulating poor results for two years (2 medals at the Doha Worlds in 2019, 1 medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021).

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Formula 1: the coronation of Max Verstappen after a staggering season



The 2021 drivers’ world champion is Max Verstappen, and history will remember that the Dutchman won his first coronation at 24 by winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday 12 December, securing a tenth victory this season. , against eight to his rival Lewis Hamilton. Logical then.

Not quite, however, in view of an incredible end of the race and a Grand Prix that was played on the dice and on the last lap. It is necessary to tell this crazy ride with rebound, to measure to which point this season of Formula 1 was placed under the sign of a malicious chance like never before. That the two rivals of the great automobile circus would find themselves tied on points after 21 events was already statistically unlikely. But that the ultimate explanation would unfold like this on a few bends was unimaginable.

A season on a roll

Because everything seemed to be played out from the start, and for the benefit of Lewis Hamilton. First, thanks to a great start, much better than that of a Max Verstappen who was in pole position. Then thanks to a limit maneuver of which the Briton often has the secret. In turn 7, Max Verstappen dared to try to regain the lead by passing inside. Well done, except that the Dutchman forced Lewis Hamilton to leave the track, then to cut a chicane, operation finally allowing the Briton to better settle in front! The Dutchman could protest behind his wheel, the race marshals did not even see fit to open an investigation.

→ ANALYSIS The popularity of Formula 1 driven by a thrilling end of the season

The rest then resembled a Lewis Hamilton recital, imperial on his Mercedes. Impressing an unbearable pace for the Red Bull of his rival, he sped rather quietly towards the victory which was profiled with a good ten seconds in advance with six laps of the arrival. But patatras. A departure from the road by the Canadian Nicholas Latifi called everything into question. Here are all the competitors forced to line up behind the safety car. Max Verstappen could thus pick up again, and take advantage of a significant advantage: wearing soft tires, his car potentially became faster than that of Lewis Hamilton handicapped by worn tires.

The safety car thus let go of the beasts for a last lap, and in the same turn 7 where the Dutchman had attacked at the start, he again passed a helpless Lewis Hamilton. Surprisingly final. “I had a little luck for me”, will recognize the new world champion at the foot of the podium. So here he is who wins this title that some have been promising him since his beginnings. He had to wait, Max Verstappen, but his victory is all the more tasty.

A precocious talent

Man in a hurry, he was in a hurry when he arrived in the world of Formula 1 in Melbourne in 2015 at 17 years and 166 days, in a Toro Rosso car, the satellite team of Red Bull. A record of precocity, which not all saw a good eye. “Does the Red Bull team realize that they are putting a child in F1? “, wondered the champion Jacques Villeneuve. The kid from his second Grand Prix nevertheless entered the points (seventh in Malaysia). And the following year, he was promoted to the flagship Red Bull team. To win in his first Grand Prix with the “big guys”, in Spain. At 18 years, 7 months and 15 days. The youngest winner of a Grand Prix since the creation of the world championship in 1950!

Too early and too fast? After his many precocity records strung like pearls in 2015 and 2016, the guy seemed to mark time then, a tone below in his performances, but above all condemned to suffer like the others the technical superiority of the Mercedes and the overwhelming domination by Lewis Hamilton. Things have changed this year, and the Dutchman did not miss the opportunity to showcase his driving science. With all the arrogance of youth, a touch of aggressiveness also sometimes, of the one he still summoned at the best time on the track in Abu Dhabi. Because still it was necessary not to let it pass, this chance offered in extremis.

But undoubtedly it was to end like this, on a twist, this exceptional season. Next year, the counters will be reset with new cars redesigned to offer perhaps even more spectacle, and more possibilities for the other teams to join in the battle of the chefs. “I am sure that next season, we will do it again”, has already bet Max Verstappen. Can’t wait for tomorrow, then.

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Tokyo Olympics: French handball players hold their first Olympic coronation



As soon as they entered the game, you could swear that nothing was going to resist them. There is this joyful tranquility on the faces, combined with this rage to win in the looks. And finally its luxury spectators to support them from the stands of the Yoyogi Stadium: the French handball players, some with the gold medal around their necks, sing the Marseillaise at the top of their lungs to accompany them.

→ READ. Tokyo Olympics: the Blues of volleyball, finally an Olympic title in their net

On Sunday August 8, the French handball players achieved the feat against the Russians, winning the only title that was missing from their wallet: Olympic gold. Five years after a final lost in Rio against the same Russians (22-19), they dominate the game and take their revenge in Tokyo (30-25), while their Olympic tournament had started in pain.

We had a delicate, difficult course, but we were able to progress from match to match ”, comments coach Olivier Krumbholz. In groups, the Blue had lost against Spain and Russia, which they therefore found in the final. Recalled before Rio after having held this position from 1998 to 2013, Olivier Krumbholz is delighted with the balance found since: “ There is a very good complementarity between the young and the old.

As if to add suspense to a game while in control, the Blue were glued to the score at the start of the second period (16-16). Everything then has to be rebuilt. It will only take a few minutes: two goals from Océane Sercien-Ugolin pave the way for a recital, coupled with decisive stops by goalkeeper Cléopatre Darleux.

Sumptuous weekend for the Blues

Les Bleues were able to demonstrate their unity throughout the competition. ” When you see us laughing all the time, explains Béatrice Edwige. Everything is sincere. It matches perfectly between us. On the podium, goalkeeper Amandine Leynaud, one of the captains, presented the medals to each of her teammates, often in tears.

While most of the French medalists returned to France, the French handball players were the last to be able to bring the country up, 10th Sunday morning, in the medal ranking. Their victory allows them to climb to 8th place and to equal the number of titles of Rio (10).

→ READ ALSO. Tokyo Olympics: the French handball team achieves a historic Olympic treble

This performance ends a sumptuous weekend for French team sports. On Saturday, the Blues in handball and volleyball won gold, basketball players silver, and their female counterparts bronze. Now we are on course for 2024. ” The Olympics in Paris will be the competition of the century », Announces Olivier Krumbholz.

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Alpine skiing, the coronation of Alexis Pinturault



Alexis Pinturault will remember the day of his thirtieth birthday all his life. This Saturday, March 20, the skier from Moûtiers won the Alpine Skiing World Cup. This is the first time since 1997 that a French has won the big crystal globe.

His victory in the giant slalom in Lenzerheide (Switzerland) allows Alexis Pinturault to beat Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt by 107 points. He can no longer be joined in the World Cup standings in the last event, Sunday’s slalom.

Second in the World Cup in 2019 and 2020, Pinturault became at 30 the fourth French skier to win the title after Jean-Claude Killy (1967 and 1968), Michèle Jacot (1970) and Luc Alphand, the last, in 1997 .

He benefited from the cancellation due to bad weather in the canton of Graubünden of several events scheduled in Lenzerheide, including the downhill and the Super-G, which could have benefited Odermatt and his top speed. But the Swiss could not do better than 11th on Saturday, 1 second 28 behind his French rival.

His victory also allows Pinturault to win the small globe of the Giant’s World Cup.

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