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

The greatest carnival in the sporting world kicked off in June with Brazil taking on Croatia to mark the opener in the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Eighteen days into the tournament, with the group stages gone by and half of the round of 16 matches completed, the tournament has already given us everything.

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

APMichael Phelps

At the Santa Clara Grand Prix in the United States, Michael Phelps took part in his third meet since coming out of retirement. He took part in four events, the 100 and 200 freestyle, the 100 butterfly and the 200 individual medley. After finishing second in the 100 and 200 free and tied first in the 100 butterfly, Phelps swam the 200 IM for the first time since taking gold at the 2012 London Olympics. He led the race through the first three laps, before tiring and finishing third. Coach Bob Bowman, however, is happy with the progress Phelps is making. Elsewhere, Katie Ledecky broke two world records in four days. After clocking 15 minutes and 34.23 seconds in 1500m, she managed 8 minutes and 11 seconds in 800m, bettering her own world records in both categories.

Checkmate: Carlsen it is!

APMagnus Carlsen

After it was decided that the World Championship rematch between Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand would be held in Sochi in November, action shifted to Dubai for the World Chess Championship in the rapid and blitz formats. Carlsen, who had recently finished second in a tournament in Norway, emerged victorious in both the competitions, reiterating the fact that he is by far the best chess player in the world. Anand, meanwhile, finished a lowly ninth in blitz but managed third place in the rapid tournament, which notably included a victory over Carlsen.

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

Sri Lanka’s dream tour of England came to a dramatic close. After having won the only T20 game, the visitors went on to win the ODI series 3-2. And for all those fans mourning the death of Test cricket, the two Tests between these countries surely proved them wrong. Both matches went down to the last over of the fifth day, but the results were not to be the same. While Sri Lanka held out with one wicket to draw the first Test, England were dismissed off the penultimate ball of the game in the second, thereby handing the match and a historic series win to Sri Lanka.

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.

At the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in Maribor, Slovenia, Jitu Rai bagged three medals and Ayonika Paul won her maiden international medal as a senior shooter. Jitu Rai clinched a gold in the 10m air pistol event and 50 m air pistol event in Slovenia. He added another silver in the 10 m air pistol event in Munich. Ayonika won bronze in the 10m air rifle event. India finished fifth overall out of 14 countries that won at least one medal.

Magic with Sticks: Australian men defend title

APAustralia's Chris Ciriello with the World Cup.

The 2014 Hockey World Cup held in The Hague, The Netherlands threw up predictable winners in the men’s and women’s competition. The final four in both the tournaments, in fact, was dominated by three countries - The Netherlands, Australia and Argentina. Australia beat the Netherlands to defend its men’s title. This was only after the hosts claimed their seventh women’s title earlier beating Australia. Argentina finished third in both the events. As for India, three defeats, one draw and one win placed it in the fifth spot among six teams in its pool. India finished ninth, beating South Korea 3-0 in the ninth-tenth playoff match. The Indian women’s team, meanwhile, provided good news after they blanked out Malaysia 6-0 in a six match hockey Test series in Malaysia, part of a preparatory tour for the Commonwealth games.

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.

An all-Mercedes show in Formula One was given a brief respite in early June when Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo won the Canadian GP and his maiden title. Ricciardo edged past Nico Rosberg in the final two laps to take the title. In the Austrian GP that followed, Mercedes was back to their dominant best with Rosberg and Hamilton claiming the first and second spots. Rosberg leads Hamilton by a full 29 points as of today, after Hamilton had to retire midway in the race in Canada. Meanwhile, off the track, Michael Schumacher woke up from nearly six-months of medically-induced coma. His waking up - the first significant sign of recovery since his skiing accident in Switzerland - sent a collective sigh of relief across the sporting world.

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

Tennis thrills continue through June and July with back-to-back grand slam events French Open and Wimbledon. Maria Sharapova claimed her second Roland Garros title with a win over Simona Halep in the women’s finals, while Rafael Nadal beat formidable foe Novak Djokovic in a rematch of the 2012 finals to claim his ninth French Open crown and his 14th grand slam title. With the win he also equalled American great Pete Sampras’ record of grand slam titles and is close on the heels of Roger Federer who has 17. Clay gave way to grass in mid-June and the run up to Wimbledon saw Gregor Dmitrov triumph at Queens’, Roger Federer defend his Halle title and Roger Bautista Agut win the s-Hertogenbosch title. In its second week now, Wimbledon has had its share of upsets with top seeds Serena Williams and Li Na knocked out in the initial rounds. In the men’s draw the fight is very much alive with the Big four still in contention.

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