Despite winning the last three Olympic tournaments, the USA women's national football team hadn't won the World Cup since 1999. That changed this weekend, with a dominant and striking 5-2 win over defending champions Japan in the title match. The two have now swapped back-and-forth the last two World Cups and the last Olympics. Does the pendulum swing toward Japan in Rio 2016? Meanwhile, England, heartbreak losers to Japan in the semis, won third over Germany.
Sweden Tops UEFA U-21
Sweden won UEFA's U-21 Championship this week, with a 4-3 penalty kick win over favorites Portugal after a 0-0 draw in overtime. With the victory, the Swedes won their first U-21 title. Their next stop will be the Olympics, an U-23 tournament for which both Sweden and Portugal (and semifinalists Denmark and Germany) qualified.
And Spain Tops UEFA U-17
The women's side, that is...Spain won the U-17 title this week, in Reykjavik, after defeating Switzerland in the final match. This was the Spaniards fifth time in the final, and their third title (let's hope that translates to stronger senior showings). Germany, the defending champions, and France were the other two semi-finalists.
South Korea Tops Asian Fencing Again
Matching their performance from last year, South Korea won the medal table at the 2015 Asian Fencing Championships, with 16 medals overall, including all possible medals in both women's foil and men's sabre this year. The top powers remained the same throughout, as China and Japan followed again, this time with ten overall each.
Tour de France Begins
The preeminent cycling road race began on the 4th; after Australian Dennis Rohan's victory on the first day's time trial, Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara took over the leader's yellow jersey on day two. Lots of racing still to go with the final and 21st stage on July 26th.
As Do the University Games Begin
The biennial Universiade opened this weekend in Gwangju, South Korea, with over 12,000 athletes in 21 sports for international teams of university students. The Games last through the 14th; Russia and hosts Korea lead the medal table after the first three days.
After beating Peru in the semifinals, Chile beat arch-rivals Argentina to win their first Copa America, and in Chile no less. The final match ended in a 0-0 draw, then Chile powered to a 4-1 win through penalties. Chile will now represent South America in the 2017 Confederations Cup in preparation for the World Cup, both in Russia.
Modern Pentathlon Worlds End
The World Championships for Modern Pentathlon ended in Berlin this week, with Olympic qualifications spots on the line. Ukraine scored the big win in that regard, with Pavlo Tymoshchenko and Andriy Fedechko leading a 1-3 finish, with Russia's Aleksandr Lesun in the middle. On the women's side, Germany's Lena Schoneborn finished ahead of China's Chen Qian and Brazil's Yane Marques to complete the podiums and the six qualifications.
The Island Games
Focused on competition for the world's smallest islands, the 16th Island Games took place this week, in the British isle of Jersey - and with the hosts Jerseyans taking the medal table in first, with 133 medals to Guernsey's second place 95.
U.S. Repeats as FIBA's U-19 World Champs
Also taking place this week was the World Championships for U-19 in men's basketball. Competition in Heraklion, Greece concluded with Team USA repeating as gold medalists, defeating Croatia in the title game 79-71. Turkey reached the podium for the first time, beating Greece for third, 80-71.
The Pacific Games Begin
'tis the season of international multi-sports...The XV Pacific Games opened this week in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea for Pacific Islander nations. So far, the football tournament has generated the global headlines, as it doubles as the Olympic qualification tournament for the region. As Australia competes in Asia for football, New Zealand is the heavy favorite - but the quality is sorely lacking through the groups. Micronesia not only lost 0-30 to Tahiti, but then lost 0-38 to Fiji. Perhaps a lone goal can come for them vs Vanuatu in their final match...
World Police Games Marred by Accident
The death of Brazilian Carlos Silva, a police inspector competing in the cycling road race, marred the week-long competition at the 2015 World Police and Fire Games in Fairfax. Silva was honored with an honorary gold medal during the close of the events.
Thaliand Big in Southeast Asian Weightlifting
Hosts Thailand dominated the inaugural Southeast Asian Weightlifting Championships this week, winning nine of the 13 titles. What they didn't win, Vietnam (with three golds) took - just about. Philippines' Hidilyn Diaz won the women's 53kg event, breaking up the Thai-Viet conglomerate.
And in Sailing News...
Slovenia's Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol are the European 470 Champions, as the top continental finishers behind overall champions from New Zealand Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie at the 470 Women Open Europeans this weekend. On the men's side, Germans Ferdinand Gerz and Oliver Szymansk won the continental title, but the overall 470 Men's European Open went to USA's Stuart McNay and David Hughes. Sailing in Aarhus continues as the Nacra 17 Worlds have started and the Laser Europeans start after. Meanwhile, the Laser World Championships have started in Kingston, Canada, with competition through July 8th. Germany's Philipp leads through seven races.
Boy, are they ever ready for Rio 2016...Brazil completely dominated the Beach Volleyball World Championships, ending this weekend in the Hague. First, in the women's competition, Brazil pairs took all three podium places, led by gold medalists Barbara Seixas de Freitas and Agatha Bednarczuk. And on the men's side, Alison Ceruti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt won the gold over the home favorite Dutch pair of Reinder Nummerdor and Christiaan Varenhorst. Meanwhile compatriots Pedro Solberg and Evandro Gonsalves took third. Let's see what they can do next year at the Olympics!
Wimbledon Rolls On
Wimbledon completed its first week of competition, with the usual surprises here and there, perhaps highlighted by Spain's Rafael Nadal's loss to 102nd-ranked Dustin Brown of Germany in the second round. On the women's side, defending champion and Czech Petra Kvitova lost in the third round to Serbian Jelena Jankovic. On to the fourth round starting tomorrow, with another Serena vs Venus match!