Big sports events to watch in 2014

30 December 2013 | Sports

This year provided many thrills and spills in the sporting world with New Zealand dominating the rugby scene while MotoGP got its youngest winner in Marc Marquez while Bayern Munich slayed all before them in Europe and Germany. With today being the last day of the year, sports fans around the world will be looking forward to next year being another spectacular one. So here are some highlighted the sports events that you need to have in your calendar for the year ahead. Fifth Ashes Test: January, 2 England swept Australia away in the first Ashes series of 2013, but can they couldn’t do the same down under in December. With the Aussies having already wrapped up the series by 4-0, England will have to dig deep to avoid a complete whitewash in the final test. If they do succeed in salvaging some pride during that fifth test, then 2014 sports events could kick off with a classic in Sydney. So far England have been a far cry from the side that easily beat their rivals in the beginning of this year but victory in the final test could spur them on to challenge South Africa for their rating as number one test playing team. Super Bowl: February 2 An increasing interest in American Football has meant that sports fans the world over are now eagerly awaiting the arrival of the event. TNT describe the Super Bowl as “the perfect sports event/excuse to get your friends round on a Sunday night, drink beer and eat junk food, while pretending you care about the Patriots or Broncos”. Whether that is applicable to a country like Namibia where most fans have to work on Mondays remains open for debate but there is no denying the impact of American Football’s popularity on the global scene. FA Cup, Champions League finals: May 17 and 24 May throws together back-to-back weekends with two great sports events in the world of football. The FA Cup final – football’s oldest cup competition - will be followed a week later by the increasingly popular Champions League final. English sides Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal are all hoping to make it to Lisbon, Portugal where the final will be held. The question, though, remains: Will they be good enough to displace defending champions Bayern Munich or will they withstand the test provided by Real Madrid; a side that is desperate to lay their hands on the trophy having gone without it for 14 years now? They will also have to get past the big-spending Paris St Germain while Barcelona will be eager to show that they can reclaim their former glory with AC Milan – as the only Italian side remaining in the competition - hoping to score points for their country. British Grand Prix: July 6 Sebastian Vettel has dominated Formula One in recent years. Will 2014 prove any different? British fans will at least be hoping for a UK winner when the Silverstone race comes around. Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button failed to fire on all cylinders this year and both will be desperate to break the German driver’s stranglehold on F1. The fact that the race comes in the middle F1’s calendar events means that it will give an indication as to whether Vettel will be deposed from his position as king of the track. Wimbledon Final: July 6, 2014 The Wimbledon final is quite possibly the quintessential sports event in the United Kingdom. Following two weeks of rain, strawberries and Cliff Richard, the British public will be hoping the likes of Andy Murray and Laura Robson can reach the finals weekend in 2014. But the home hopes will have to overcome serious players in Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams in the women’s draw while the men’s draw features the resurgent Novak Djokovic and the hard-hitting Rafael Nadal. The aging Roger Federer will also want to prove that he still has what it takes to compete with the younger players; thus making for some intriguing viewing. World Cup Final: July 13 Not just 2014?s biggest sports event, the biggest sports event of them all: The Football World Cup. And with the 2014 edition being in Brazil, it promises to be a fascinating period of sporting history. Some have suggested that this could be the year that Africa breaks its duck in the event by claiming its first victory. With representatives in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Algeria, the continent will have to get past perennial forces like Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Uruguay, Spain, England and Italy. The continent, though, is yet to reach the semi-finals of football’s premier international tournament with Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) all falling by the wayside in the quarter-final stages. A victory for any African team - in what is commonly referred to as the cauldron of modern football: Brazil - would be a big boost for the continent. -Additional reporting by Hector Mawonga LONDON-TNT MAGAZINE

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