June was perhaps the best month for sports fans across the world. What with two World Cup events hogging the limelight – the Hockey World Cup and the Football World Cup – and the regular sporting action from other sports competing for their fair share of headlines with exceptional performances, the month was never short of interesting moments. Take a look at a recap of all the action in our monthly wrap up – The Month That Was.
Football fever: The carnival has begun
APNetherlands' Robin van Persie
From sublime goals to mind-numbing assists, reckless challenges and headbutts, spectacular saves and inch-perfect free kicks, the World Cup has lived up to its expectations. With goals flowing freely and the big names delivering the goods, the tournament has also had its fair share of shocks and controversies as well.
While reigning champions Spain, along with England, Italy and Portugal, were some of the European powerhouses to catch the early flight out of Brazil, it was not before Uruguay’s Luis Suarez had captured global headlines by sinking his teeth into the shoulder of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini. Asians and Australians didn’t do themselves any good either, as they could not muster a single win in the group stage between them.
Half the cast of the quarterfinals have now been decided after four Round of 16 games. While Brazil and Costa Rica had to edge out Chile and Greece in penalty shootouts after both their games ended 1-1, Netherlands and Colombia made it through in contrasting fashions. Colombia, with James Rodriguez as their star, thumped Uruguay (minus Suarez, who has been banned for four months) 2-0 to set up a clash with Brazil. Netherlands came-from-behind scoring twice in the final seven minutes to ensure that they knocked out Mexico 2-1 in the sweltering heat of Fortaleza.
APDefending champion Spain bowed out of the group stages of the World Cup in one of the major upsets in the tournament.
Swimmers’ splash: Phelps gets better and better
Checkmate: Carlsen it is!
Shuttle speed: Saina wins in Australia
In badminton, June witnessed three Super Series events in Japan, Indonesia and Australia. While Tanvi Lad and the doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa lost in the second rounds of the Japan open, thereby ending India’s participation in the competition, Saina Nehwal made it through to the quarterfinals in Indonesia, before eventually bowing out against the eventual winner, Li Xuerui of China.
Things were set to get better as Saina produced a dominant display to lift her second title of the season and become the first non-Chinese woman to win a Super Series event in 2014. Saina defeated Spain’s Carolina Marin 21-18, 21-11 in the final to win the Australian Open.
Connect with Cricket: Test Cricket is alive
APThe Sri Lankan team
Staying with Tests, West Indies and New Zealand also did their bit to keep up the hopes. After losing the first Test, West Indies bounced back and won the second Test, despite having to struggle hard against the tail. They’ll have to struggle hard again on the fifth day of the third Test, as the Kiwis have done well to claw their way back into the game.
India played three ODIs in Bangladesh and finished it 2-0, the third ODI being washed out. Lacking some of the leading protagonists, the series failed to create a stir. Stuart Binny’s six-wicket haul in the second One day international (ODI), giving away just four runs, was the lone bright spot as it overhauled Anil Kumble’s 6 for 12 as the best ODI bowling effort by an Indian.
Off the field, Australia were handed International Cricket Council (ICC) Test mace at the beginning of the month to mark the fact that they are the number one ranked Test side in the world. And by the end of the month, N. Srinivasan was confirmed as the new chairman of the ICC.
Bull’s eye: Jitu shines at Shooting World Cup
At the Archery World Cup Stage III in Antalya, Greece, Indians bagged two silvers and one bronze. Rajat Chauhan went down against Korean Yong Choi 145-141 in the final of the compound individual section to finish with a silver. In the women’s compound team event, Trisha Deb, Lily Chanu Paonam and Purvasha Shende beat the higher-ranked Mexicans 226-224 in the bronze medal match. The recurve mixed team of Jayanta Talukdar and Laishram Bombayla Devi went down against Chinese opponents, to take the silver on the concluding day of the event.
APNetherlands' captain Maartje Paumen holds the World Cup trophy after they beat Australia 2-0.
Magic with Sticks: Australian men defend title
APAustralia's Chris Ciriello with the World Cup.
NBA: Spurs take sweet revenge
APSan Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (center) trying to score during game three in the NBA finals.
In May, the stage was set for the NBA finals with Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs battling it out for the title a second time in a row. The Spurs started the proceedings with a 110-95 win in game one. Miami bounced back to level the series with a close 98-96 win in the next game. Game three was a ‘crazy’ encounter as far as Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich was concerned. The Spurs shot 86 percent in their first quarter alone, and beat Miami 111-92. The next wins for the Spurs came off games four and five as they took their fifth championship title, also their first since 1999. 22-year-old Kawhi Leonard of Spurs was the hero of the finals and the Most Valuable Player with 29, 20 and 22 points coming off in the last three games.
On the fast lane: Ricciardo wins maiden title in Canada
APRed Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo celebrates his victory at the Canadian GP.
MotoGP: Seven, eight… Marquez keeps counting
Marc Marquez put up with some tough competition from Yamaha drivers Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, to take the Catalunya Grand Prix title in early June. He followed it up with his eighth win at the Assen Grand Prix in Netherlands to equal Giacomo Agostini’s record of winning eight straight titles from the start in a MotoGP season. He leads the drivers’ standings with a perfect 200 points, 72 ahead of Yamaha’s Rossi.
Track and Field: Bondarenko wins battle of heights
Justin Gatlin is in a race of his own and keeps bettering records for this season with each meet. In Ostrava, Czech Republic this month Gatlin bettered his 100m timing by 0.01 seconds when he clocked 9.86 seconds. In May earlier he had clocked 9.87 at the Beijing World challenge meet to register the best world-leading timings for the year. He also won the Rome diamond league contest, albeit finishing it at 9.91 seconds before the Ostrava meet. Meanwhile, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has provided temporary reprieve - pending a hearing on their appeals in July - for Jamaican sprinters Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson.
APBohdan Bondarenko of Ukraine.
In the New York diamond league, Ukrainian Bohdan Bondarenko and Qatari Mutaz Essa Barshim lighted up the skies by simultaneously clearing the height of 2.42 m. This was the first time in two decades that two athletes in the same meet had cleared the height. The medal, however, went to Bondarenko who cleared it in his first attempt. Ashton Eaton, meanwhile, has his eyes set on events other than decathlon. In the Oslo diamond league meet last month, Eaton won the 400m hurdles - a non-decathlon event - to become the first decathlete to win at the diamond league. Eaton competed at the diamond league, which does not comprise of decathlon, for lack of meets hosting the event this year.
Tennis thrills: It’s Maria’s second and Rafa’s ninth at Roland Garros
APRussia's Maria Sharapova