Portugal struggled without a regular-time win through all of its games during the Euro 2016 until the semis, but they scored when they counted - including the title game's lone goal in the 109th minute to upset host and favorite France for the champions' title. This then became Portugal's first Euro title despite leading-team status in many editions, as well as the first victory over the French in a major tournament. And, this was despite losing star Cristiano Ronaldo in the first half to injury. France dominated the game, with 17 shots to Portugal's six, but the one shot that counted was the one goal, by substitute Eder Lopes. Congrats!
With the conclusion of the three separate Olympic Qualifying Tournaments this week, the men's Olympic basketball tournament is finalized with the last teams earning berths. In Belgrade, host Serbia (FIBA ranked #6) easily overcame Czech Republic in the semis and then Puerto Rico in the final to take one spot. In Milan also on Saturday, Croatia (#12) needed overtime to defeat host Italy by six points to advance to Rio. And finally, in Manila, favorites France (#5) won the last berth by taking out Canada. This was the second time in a row the Canadians fell one game short of the Games.
Dutchman Niek Kimman was the 2015 world champion and the 2016 world runner-up, but it was compatriot and two-time Olympian Raymon van der Biezen taking the European title in Verona this weekend, continuing a strong showing for the Netherlands in the sport. In second was Switzerland's David Graf (third in 2015 Worlds), with Sylvain Andre of France third. On the women's side, Sarah Sailer of Germany, a former junior-level international medalist, won over Marine Lacoste of France in second and Sandra Aleksejeva of Latvia in third. France topped the overall medal table, with
Czech Republic Tops Euro Modern Pentathlon
The European Modern Pentathlon Championships ended this week in Sofia, Bulgaria with Czech Republic taking the top spot on the overall medal table. That tally was led by men's individual winner Jan Kuff, who took the title by only one point over Hungary's Robert Kasza. Riccardo de Lucca of Italy finished third. Defending champion Arthur Lanigan-O'Keefe of Ireland only competed in the relay events. On the women's side, Lithuania's Laura Asadauskaite won her third-ever title and cemented her favorite status to retain the Olympic crown. Russian Gulnaz Gubaydullina and Turk Ilke Ozyuksel finished second and third, respectively. The Cezchs also won the women's and mixed relays, and a silver in the men's, to complete their medal total of four.
The European Athletics Championships ended this weekend in Amsterdam, with tension high as the event served as key preparation for Rio. As probably expected, Germany and Great Britain led the medal table sixteen each (and both with five gold), but Poland and Turkey served notice with twelve each. Highlights from the men's competition included Great Britain's Olympic and World champion Greg Rutherford winning the long jump, Dutchman Churandy Martina winning the 100m and then having his win in the 200m disallowed for a lane violation, Norwegian brothers Filip and Henrik Ingebristen finsihing 1-3 in the 1500, and Belgian Thomas van der Plaetsen winning the decathlon. On the women's side, Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands re-confirmed her global power with a win in the 100m, and leading her team to the 4x100 title. Meanwhile, the British 4x400 set a new world lead in their win, Bulgarian veteran Ivet Lalova finished second in both shorts sprints, Turkey's Yasemin Can won both the 5000 and 10,000, and seven championship records or European leading marks were set.
The USA's Serena Williams finally got her 22nd career Grand Slam title, equaling Germany's Steffi Graf for the lead, when she won the women's title at Wimbledon. The victory came at the expense of German Angelique Kerber, the Australian Open champion in her first Wimbledon final. Williams also took home the women's doubles, with sister Venus, for their 6th joint title. On the men's side, Great Britain's Andy Murray won his second Wimbledon title, and third Grand Slam, winning in three sets over Canadian Milos Raonic. Men's doubles went to Pierre-Hugues Hubert and Nicholas Mahut of France, with mixed doubles to Henri Kotinen of France and Heather Watson of Great Britain.