It’s Our Ball So Let Us Play
It remains the most popular sport in the world and at the international level , there is no more popular quadrennial event than the World Cup . Last held in 2014 , this year’s event is being held in Russia , where President Vladmir Putin hopes to see the host country raise the Jules Rimet Trophy to signify themselves as world champions. In the opening game of the tournament Russia overpowered their opponent , Saudi Arabia , winning the game in a lopsided fashion , 5-0 . Good enough, to set the host country on their way within their group.
The top thirty-two teams in the world have gathered together for Soccer’s most prestigious event looking to succeed the current defending champions Germany , who will be looking to make a successful defense of their title. Quite rightly, they remain a firm favorite with an established and world-class team .Germany got off to a really rocky start in the defense of their title with a shocking loss , 1-0 against Mexico in their opening game of their group, Group F . This was one in a line of truly embarrassing results for a number of the favored teams as the opening schedule of games took place.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are considered to be the two best players in the world with each having been named the world’s best player on several occasions . Ronaldo seeks to lead Portugal to the first World Title , while Messi and his Argentinian teammates will be looking to win their third title .
Lionel Messi and his teammates will take to the field on Thursday,21st June to face Croatia . Portugal’s next game in the opening round of group games will see them face Iran . Cristiano Ronaldo has continued to set records at the international level for his country and the player will further seek to establish himself perhaps the best European player in the history of the game.
Well we can’t talk about international soccer without mentioning the name of Brazil and their list of all-time great players. Currently the best player on their roster , is Neymar Jr , perhaps the closest thing they have to matching both Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo on the international soccer stage. Brazil has gotten to a dogged start to this World Cup with a very unimpressive debut game, resulting in a 1-1 tie against Switzerland . With Serbia leading Group E , a group many believed Brazil would have all to themselves , they now have to win their next outing , when they are due to face the group leaders in a game to be played on the 27th June . Failure to win the contest and there is a chance that the Brazilians would face a tough time qualifying from their group.
While the world continues to watch the World Cup unfold, here on the West side of the Atlantic , the biggest story likely to unfold over the next forty-eight hours will be how the NBA Draft unfolds as the top-ten picks of the first round go down. Luka Doncic was thought to be the consensus number one overall pick , but his stock has been dropping faster than the popularity ratings of both Kanye West and Roseanne Barr combined. The knock against the Slovenian player , has been his lack of physicality to his game. It’s something I believe once he’s in the weight room adding on the muscle , his game being what it is , the team who drafts him will get the benefits of what made him a European Player of the Year and a Finals Four MVP in the European Club Championships. Whether or not the front office of the Phoenix Suns will choose to make Doncic that overall number one pick remains to be seen.
If Luka Doncic isn’t the player to be taken at number one , then look for the stocks to rise of players such as Marin Bagley III and DeAndre Ayton . These two players, are thought to be the best of the college declaree’s for this year’s Draft.
Over the past five years , it would appear that Dwight Howard was never going to be able to fulfill the early promise shown at the start of his career . For the second time in the last two years the player finds himself on the move as the Charlotte Hornets traded the veteran center to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Timofey Mozgov and some future picks. Far be it for me to suggest , but the Hornets even with this trade are far from where they need to be. Team owner Michael Jordan and the front office have done little to raise the profile of this franchise , since Jordan took controlling interest , having bought the Hornets from BET founder Robert L Johnson .
The decision to move Dwight Howard might well have a great deal more to do with the fact his relationship with his teammates had soured due to his antics . It was also rumored that Michael Jordan sought to improve the cap space for the team as he sought to lure a marquee free agent to the Hornets.
With the opening round of the NBA Draft set to begin tonight , 21st June and plays out over the next two nights. . It will be interesting to see what transpires , as well as bearing in mind LeBron James has yet to make the world aware of his plans. James is looking to hold the NBA’s franchises hostage and in doing so, it affects how they are likely to proceed.
Soured relationship or not what has taken place this past season between Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs should be a lesson for all teams who have superstars who now want to make demands , purely because they can’t get their way. Leonard’s season was curtailed due to injury with his only playing nine regular season games for the Spurs and being unable to participate in the NBA Playoffs where they would be summarily dismissed in the first round by the eventual NBA champions the Golden State Warriors .
Kawhi Leonard has met with Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich and it’s not known what was discussed between Popovich and the player, but it is believed that as a senior front office executive for the franchise in his capacity in that role , he has pulled the plug on any demands that Leonard might have in wanting to be traded. The disruption to the franchise has not yet met a crescendo level , but there’s no doubt in my mind Kawhi Leonard is pushing to be traded. The Spurs for their part will be concentrating on the Draft, but I also believe if the right offer came along, they might well be willing to part ways with their disgruntled star.
Jeff Luhnow , the front office executive who has systematically brought the Houston Astros back to life was given a healthy contract extension by team owner Jim Crane . Having gone from the verge of bankruptcy to their current situation where they are considered the best team in baseball , with a growing fan-base . It would be safe to say the Astros have finally arrived. The managerial staff of AJ Hinch has set this ball-club for success, for a long time come , especially with the core of this roster signed to very good contracts.
The Houston Astros have simply carried on from where they left off during the MLB postseason having won the World Series with a great deal of ease, with their lopsided triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers . Having started out of the gate really fast in 2018, the Astros now have a commanding lead within the AL West and could have the division sewn up by late August if things carry on as they are. Houston will be in action on Friday when they take on the Kansas City Royals in a home game being played at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas,. This will be the first in a three-game home set of a weekend series against the Royals, where I fully expect the Astros to prevail against their AL rivals .
Having become the first team in the Majors this season with fifty wins to their name the Houston Astros are showing why in many respects the AL might be considered a better quality league than that of their NL rivals . That being said , it should not be considered a major knock against those teams.
Highest paid player in the game, by way of his contract and now the naysayers are sitting up and taking note as to what Giancarlo Stanton means to the New York Yankees and the team in general . It’s at times like this , I just wish the idiots would just shut hell up and simply learn something about the game of baseball ! Stanton might not be the best player in the game but he’s certainly in the argument to be considered a top-ten player that’s for sure. Giancarlo Stanton is proving to be a leader both on and off the field and his productivity this season is proof of that fact. Is he ready to assume the mantle of the team captain ? Well that’s an honor not often bestowed upon a Yankees’ player , with the last such person to be given the honor , being Derek Jeter . It has been almost five years since Jeter was last seen in the Yankees’ pinstripes.
Right now it has been the New York Yankees’ offense which has held away for the team as they battle the Boston Red Sox within the AL East . Giancarlo Stanton , Aaron Judge , Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius are the primary reasons why the Yankees are firing on all cylinders . That’s not to say the pitching staff haven’t played a part in the team’s success as it would be remiss to do so. The team’s best pitcher this season to date has been Luis Severino (11-2, 2.24 ERA) and he’s due back on the mound for the Yankees when they face the Philadelphia Phillies on the road on the 26th June. However , before that game takes place the New York Yankees will
begin a weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida. New York’s CC Sabathia will be the starting pitcher on the mound as he faces Ryne Stanek of the Rays in the first of the three encounters beginning on Friday ,22nd June ,2018. I fully expect the Yankees to dominate this series , as they encounter a Rays’ team which remains very inconsistent .
As this month winds down within the world of sports, what are you own expectations of the coming months ? Also, which story within the past few days has been the one which has captured your attention the most ?
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