Trinidad and Tobago secured their first medal of the Pan American (PanAm) Games courtesy of the Men’s 3X3 basketball team, which edged Venezuela 21-20 in the third-place playoff in Santiago, Chile on Monday.

The twin island republic, who had knocked off Brazil in Sunday’s quarterfinal, lost in their semi-final contest 21-9 to the United States. The Americans eventually won gold, 21-15 over hosts Chile in the final.

Trinidad and Tobago's National Basketball Federation vice president of organising and development Daron Lall was over the moon and said the fraternity appreciates every effort the team put out.

“We are extremely proud of our team. These guys have been working extremely hard over the last eight to ten weeks. We played some powerhouses. Thank you to the team and the coaching staff for all they did. We know the struggles they went through and the obstacles that happened, but we are grateful as a country for putting us on the map. It’s emotional," Lall said.

At the Centro Acuatico, TT swimmer Nikoli Blackman had another tough day in the pool as the settled for sixth place in the men’s 100m freestyle B final. He clocked 50.81s.

In the earlier heats, Blackman placed sixth in heat three of four, in 51.01s. His time was 17th fastest overall but good enough for the B final. Racing out of heat four was compatriot Zarek Wilson, who was eighth fastest to the wall in 58.37s.

Meanwhile, one of CARICOM’s best hopes for a PanAm Games boxing medal in Chile, Keevin Allicock was eliminated Monday.

The Guyanese lost his featherweight quarter-final bout to American Jahmal Harvey, the 2021 world champion in the 57kg division. Top Barbadian Charles Cox also lost his light heavyweight quarterfinal, going down 4-1 to Haiti’s Cedric Belony-Duliepre.

Concacaf has confirmed the pairings for the 23/24 Concacaf Nations League quarterfinals. The four home-and-away series, scheduled for the FIFA Match Window of November 2023, will determine the four teams advancing to the Concacaf Nations League final, scheduled for March 2024, and the first four Concacaf teams that will qualify for next year's CONMEBOL Copa America to be staged in United States.

After the completion of group stage play for League A, which took place in September and October, the two top teams from each group: Panama and Trinidad and Tobago (Group A) and Jamaica and Honduras (Group B), advanced to the quarterfinals, joining the four top-ranked League A nations (based on the Concacaf Rankings of March 2023) that received a bye: Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, and the United States.

The four Quarterfinal pairings are as follows: 

QF1: Costa Rica (4) vs Panama (best group winner)
QF2: Canada (3) vs Jamaica (next best group winner)
QF3: United States (2) vs Trinidad and Tobago (best runner-up)
QF4: Mexico (1) vs Honduras (next best runner-up)

After the matches played in the September and October FIFA Match Windows, the CNL League A Group Stage standing are as follows:

Group A
1. Panama (10 pts, +7 gd) – advances to Quarterfinals
2. Trinidad and Tobago (9 pts, +1 gd) – advances to Quarterfinals
3. Martinique (7 pts, -1 gd)
4. Guatemala (4 pts, -2 gd)
5. Curacao (3 pts, -1 gd) – relegated to League B
6. El Salvador (1 pts, -4 gd) – relegated to League B

Group B
1. Jamaica (10 pts, +5 gd) – advances to Quarterfinals
2. Honduras (7 pts, +7 gd) – advances to Quarterfinals
3. Suriname (5 pts, +3 gd)
4. Cuba (5 pts, -3 gd)
5. Haiti (3 pts, -1 gd) – relegated to League B
6. Grenada (1 pts, -11 gd) – relegated to League B


The schedule for the quarterfinals is as follows, with the home team for each match listed first. As per the competition regulations, the four pre-seeded federations, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, and United States, had the opportunity to decide whether they would play at home or away first.

Thursday, November 16, 2023
United States vs Trinidad and Tobago
Costa Rica vs Panama

Friday, November 17, 2023
Jamaica vs Canada
Honduras vs Mexico

Monday, November 20, 2023
Trinidad and Tobago vs United States
Panama vs Costa Rica

Tuesday, November 21, 2023
Canada vs Jamaica
Mexico vs Honduras

After home-and-away play, the aggregate score winner in each pairing will advance to both the 23/24 Concacaf Nations League final and the CONMEBOL Copa America. The four losing quarterfinalists will still have an opportunity to qualify for next summer’s Copa America via a single-match direct elimination Play-In, where they will play for the two remaining slots for Concacaf nations. This Play-In will also take place in March 2024. 

23/24 Concacaf Nations League Finals

The third edition of the Concacaf Nations League final is scheduled to take place in March 2024. The final four, between League A's quarterfinal winners, includes semifinals, to be played on Thursday, March 21, 2024, followed by a third-place match and final on Sunday, March 24. 

To determine the semifinal pairings, the four participating nations will be ranked 1-4, according to their performance in the quarterfinals (points, and if required, goal difference), with the highest-ranked team facing the lowest-ranked team (1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3).

More details on the 23/24 Concacaf Nations League Finals and the Concacaf Copa America Play-In will be announced in due course.

Frankie Dettori is eager for a new challenge after reversing his retirement plan to continue his career in America.

Last December Dettori stated he would bow out at the end of this year, but on Thursday he announced he was in fact no longer prepared to call time on his illustrious career.

While he had already indicated his intention to ride at the Melbourne Cup meeting, the Breeders’ Cup in November and Hong Kong in December, he was then expected to retire.

However, as the months wore on and Dettori continued to fire in the big winners, which this year have included the 2000 Guineas, the Gold Cup at Ascot and the Juddmonte International and Ebor at York, rumours began to circulate that he was maybe not prepared to depart the weighing room after all.

With his children all now self sufficient, Dettori and wife Catherine placed their Newmarket home on the rental market and announced they would be travelling the world.

Instead, they are moving to California, where he spent a successful few months last winter, finishing second in the jockey standings at Santa Anita.

Dettori revealed the news at an event to promote his last appearance at British Champions Day.

“I am simply not ready to retire completely. I’m still enjoying riding and want to carry on for a while on the international circuit,” said Dettori.

“I have had the most amazing career (based in the UK), and head to British Champions Day (October 21) with some brilliant rides. This will mark my final day riding in Britain, after which I will head to America for the Breeders’ Cup and then Melbourne for the Carnival.

“The current plan is to return to ride at Santa Anita in the States at the end of the year. How long I continue race riding overseas and where my American journey takes me, no one can predict but I welcome the challenge in this new chapter.”

Not even Dettori himself could have forecast how successful his final full season in the UK would have been.

It began with his 2000 Guineas strike on Chaldean and another Classic quickly followed on Soul Sister in the Oaks at Epsom.

While a third Derby victory eluded him, he did win the Coronation Cup on Emily Upjohn and enjoyed what was thought to be his final Royal Ascot, highlighted by Courage Mon Ami in the Gold Cup.

The rumours of a possible extension to his career really picked up pace at York’s Ebor meeting in August, however, when he stepped in for a suspended Jim Crowley on Mostahdaf and produced an excellent front-running ride before adding the Ebor for good measure on Willie Mullins’ Absurde.

Then last week he added another Group One in the Sun Chariot on Inspiral, fittingly his 500th winner at Newmarket.

“When I announced my retirement, I thought it was a matter of saying my goodbyes and slowly easing my way out of the sport through the back door but it has been success after success (this year),” he told Sky Sports Racing.

“It started off in America, which I really enjoyed, then the Guineas, Royal Ascot, York, France and it got to a point that my emotions were out of control and I thought I wasn’t ready to stop.

“I spoke to my family and they all said to do what makes me happy because I have to live with myself.

“Obviously I’d told everyone I was retiring at Ascot in October, that will be the case in Europe but because I enjoyed California so much last year – and it was an easier decision because my wife agreed – I’ll extend my career in the USA.”

He went on: “The decision was made easier because my kids have all left home, we’ve rented the house out and it has been in my mind for a few weeks but I wanted to make sure it was all in order.

“I applied for a visa and I’ve got one, so now I could announce it.

“It will still be sad for me on Saturday week, I will say goodbye to my fans and my beloved Ascot and a country that has been my life for 38 years but I have something more to look forward to.

“It could be three months or three years, I don’t know. It depends how well I do and depends on my body, I just felt I wasn’t ready to stop.

“The reason was because of the success I’ve had this year, it was very hard to let go.

“It’s a new challenge. I’ve achieved everything I wanted to achieve in Europe but I’d love to find a horse for the Kentucky Derby.”

Simone Biles became the most decorated gymnast in history after sealing her sixth career world all-around title at the 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp.

The tournament marks the American’s return to major international competition after a two-year absence, and on Wednesday she led her team to a record seventh straight title.

Biles’ golden comeback continued in record-breaking style as she finished with a top score of 58.399, 1.633 points above Brazilian silver medallist Rebeca Andrade with compatriot Shilese Jones rounding out the top three.

Friday’s medal was Biles’ 34th at an Olympics or World Championship, the most achieved by a male or female gymnast in the history of the sport after surpassing the 33 achieved by Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo.

In a serendipitous twist, the 26-year-old’s historic gold came precisely 10 years – and in the exact same venue – as her first world all-around title in 2013.

Biles could still add more medals to her collection with the individual apparatus finals still to come on Saturday and Sunday – Biles has qualified for all four.

There was drama for Great Britain before the all-around competition even got under way.

Jessica Gadirova, the 2022 world floor champion, dropped out of the event at the last minute, British Gymnastics announcing the decision in a tweet which read: “Update. As a precautionary measure Jessica Gadirova will not be competing in tonight’s all-around World final, Alice Kinsella will now compete in her place for Great Britain.”

Kinsella ultimately finished seventh with a score of 54.032, while team-mate Ondine Achampong placed 13th in her first world all-around final.

Kinsella, the 2023 British national all-around champion, admitted the dramatic call-up came as a shock.

She told the BBC: “I only went [out] to do little bits and bobs like stretching, conditioning, and then I went off to get my foot rubbed, then my coach came over and was like, ‘Alice, you need to get your leotard on straight away.’

“I was a bit stressed, I didn’t really know what to do or say to anyone. I just ran to the toilet, shoved it on, and that was it really.”

The established Central Broward Regional Park Stadium has been announced as one of three venues which will host matches on the United States leg of the men’s Twenty20 World Cup next year.

Located in Lauderhill, Florida, the venue has already hosted six One-Day Internationals and 16 Twenty20 Internationals and will be joined by Grand Prairie in Dallas and the yet-to-be constructed Eisenhower Park in New York.

The T20 World Cup is being jointly hosted by West Indies and the United States from June 4-30.

“We’re delighted to announce the three USA venues that will host part of the biggest ICC Men’s T20 World Cup ever staged, with 20 teams competing for the trophy,” said ICC Chief Executive Geoff Allardice.

 “The USA is a strategically important market, and these venues give us an excellent opportunity to make a statement in the world’s biggest sport market.

“We explored a number of potential venue options in the country, and we were hugely encouraged by the enthusiasm the event generated amongst prospective hosts, reinforcing the growing awareness around cricket’s massive fanbase and its power to unite diverse communities.”

He continued: “We are very excited about the opportunity to use modular stadium technology to present world class cricket in a location that has not previously hosted an ICC global event giving USA cricket fans the chance to watch the world’s best on their doorstep. 

“This technology has been used at previous ICC events to increase venue capacity and it’s routinely used in other major sports around the world. 

“In the USA, it will give us the opportunity to increase the size of the venues in both Dallas and Florida and create what is going to be a stunning venue in New York.”

The ICC said Wednesday the Eisenhower Park, to be constructed in Nassau County, would be built to a capacity of 34 000 and take the form of a purpose-built sports and events park. 

Nassau County is an affluent area located on Long Island, on the outskirts of New York City.

“Whether it be PGA events, record breaking concerts in our parks, or the annual Belmont Stakes, we are no stranger to hosting large scale events on the world stage,” said Nassau County Executive, Bruce Blakeman.

“I look forward to bringing our many diverse communities together to watch some of the best cricket in the world, right here in Nassau County.”

Grand Prairie, meanwhile, came to cricketing prominence earlier this year when it hosted matches in the inaugural Major League Cricket tournament.

 

It was always expected to be an almighty clash between reigning women’s 4x100m relay champions United States and Olympic champions Jamaica. In the end, it was the Americans who prevailed in the final at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Saturday.

The American quartet of Tamari Davis, Twanisha Terry, Gabrielle Thomas and Sha’Carri Richardson, topped the event in a Championship record 41.03s Championship Record, ahead of their Jamaican counterparts – Natasha Morrison, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Shashalee Forbes and Shericka Jackson –who ended in season’s best 41.21s.

Great Britain’s quartet of Asha Phillip, Imani Lansiquot, Bianca Williams and Daryll Neita, was third in a season’s best 41.97s.

During the event, Fraser-Pryce who has been braving a chronic knee injury, suffered what is reported to be a muscle strain, but like a warrior, pushed through the difficulty to safely hand off the baton, ensuring the country ended with a medal.

A prayer before making their way into the stadium was the perfect way for the Jamaican quartet to start their bid in the women’s 4X400m relays and they will indeed challenge for a medal at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

This, as they booked their spot in Sunday’s showpiece event, after finishing tops in their heat on Saturday.

Cherokee Young, running from lane eight, ran the lead leg for the Jamaicans handing off to Nickesha Pryce, who ran a well-paced leg to send Shiann Salmon on her way.

Salmon did well to maintain the gap for Stacey-Ann Williams, who only had to run steady and true to take the team home in a new world leading time 3:22.74.

They won ahead of Canada (3:23.29), with Netherlands (3:23.75) taking the third automatic qualifying spot.

Great Britain won the second heat in 3:23.33, ahead of the favourites United States, who were later disqualified via Technical Rule 24.7, as they passed the baton outside the takeover zone.

That meant Belgium (3:23.63) and Italy (3:23.86) got second and third respectively, while Poland (3:24.05) and Ireland (3:26.18) got the two fastest non-automatic qualifying spots.

The final will be the curtain-call event of the nine-day Championships at 2:47pm Jamaica time.

Catch live action of the 2023 World Athletics Championships by downloading the Sportsmax App.

Jamaica’s lone competitor Danniel Thomas-Dodd remains in contention to possibly add another medal to the country’s tally, as she progressed to the women’s shot put final at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Saturday.

Thomas-Dodd, the only Caribbean representative in action on the morning session, launched the instrument to a best mark of 19.36m, comfortably clearing the automatic qualifying standard of 19.10m.

The 30-year-old, who copped silver in Doha in 2019, seems poised to replicate or even better that feat, provided she puts together a good series of throws in the final scheduled for the evening session at 1:15pm Jamaica time.

This, as she had to recover from a sluggish start where she opened with 17.75m and 18.77m, before achieving the qualifying mark.

To medal, Thomas-Dodd will need to possibly match or better her 19.77m National Record, as the final includes reigning champion American Chase Ealy, as well as last year’s silver medallist and Olympic Champion, Lijao Gong of China.

Catch live action of the 2023 World Athletics Championships by downloading the Sportsmax App.

Jamaica’s Ackera Nugent and Danielle Williams, as well as Bahamian Devynne Charlton secured their spot in the women’s 100 metres hurdles final, after safely navigating their respective semi-finals on Wednesday’s fifth day of the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

While it was unbridled joy for those three, it was heartbreak for another Jamaican Megan Tapper, as the Olympic medallist placed fourth and her time was not good enough to see her through to tomorrow’s final scheduled for 2:25pm Jamaica time.

Charlton and Tapper both ran from semi-final one, where they placed second and fourth respectively. Charlton, 27, secured the second automatic qualifying spot in 12.49s, behind American Kendra Harrison, who won in 12.33s.

Despite running her heart out, Tapper (12.55s) was out dipped by Switzerland’s Ditaji Kambundji (12.50s), who progressed to tomorrow’s final as one of the two fastest qualifiers on time ahead of the Jamaican.

The second semi-final was just an exciting with Ackera Nugent leading for most of the way but was pipped on the line by Nigeria’s World Record holder Tobi Amusan. Nugent stopped the clock in 12.60s, behind Amusan’s 12.56s.

The last of the three semi-finals saw Jamaica’s former World Champion Danielle Williams off to a blistering start, but she lost her composure close to the end and had to settle for third in a season’s best 12.50s. Fortunately, for her the time was good enough to progress to the final.

Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn produced a late burst to win in 21.41s, with American Nia Ali (12.49s), just bettering Williams on the line.

 

You can catch live action of the 2023 World Athletic Championships by downloading the Sportsmax App.

Six Caribbean ladies will line up in Thursday’s 200 metres semi-finals, following contrasting performances in their respective heats on day five of the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Wednesday.

The six, a Jamaican trio of reigning champion Shericka Jackson, Kevona Davis and Natalliah Whyte will be joined by Bahamian Anthonique Strachan, St Lucian Julien Alfred and young British Virgin Islands sensation, Adaejah Hodge. Another Jamaican Ashanti Moore was the only Caribbean athlete to miss out.

Strachan, running from lane nine, got the show going in the first heat, where she was comfortable from start to finish, stopping the clock in 22.31s, ahead of Great Britain’s Daryll Neita (22.39s), with Jael Betsue (22.58s) of Spain taking the third automatic spot.

Moore, who was giving the opportunity to run the event following Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s withdrawal, found herself in a tough second heat. Though she went out hard, Moore had to settle for fifth in 23.12s, which was not good enough for one of the six non-automatic qualifying spots.

The heat was easily won by newly minted 100m champion American, Sha’Carri Richardson in 22.16s, ahead of Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou, who clocked a season’s best 22.26s. Olivia Fotopoulou of Cyprus clocked a new personal best 22.65s for the third spot.

Jackson, the reigning 200m champion, expectedly made light work of rivals in heat three, as she cruised to 22.51s. Singapore’s Veronica Shanti Pereira, was second in a national record 22.57s, with Jessika Gbai (22.78s) of Ivory Coast in third.

Though Hodge was fourth, her time of 22.82s, was good enough to progress as one of the non-automatic qualifiers.

St Lucia’s Alfred was tops in heat four, as she powered her way to 22.31s, ahead of Jamaica’s Whyte 22.44s, with Great Britain’s Bianca Williams (22.67s) in third.

The fifth and penultimate heat saw another young Jamaican Davis (22.49s), also booking her semi-final spot with a second-place finish behind American Gabrielle Thomas, who clocked 22.26s.

Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith justified favouritism in the final heat which she won in 22.46s.

 

You can catch live action of the 2023 World Athletic Championships by downloading the Sportsmax App.

Jamaica’s pair of Natoya Goule-Toppin and Adelle Tracey both safely progressed to the women’s 800 metres semi-finals, as they had little problems navigating their respective heats on day five of the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Wednesday.

Goule-Toppin, who entered the championships ranked second in the world, contested the last of the seven heats, where she bided her time in the early stages, before challenging and pushing America’s reigning World Champion Athing Mu in the homestretch.

In the end, Goule-Toppin finished second in 1:59.64, behind Mu, who stopped the clock in 1:59.59. Switzerland’s Lore Hoffman clocked a season’s best 2:00.14 to secure the third automatic qualifying spot.

Though she ran a national record of 3:58.77 in the 1,500m semi-finals, where she shaved 3.07 seconds off the previous mark set by Yvonne Graham in Monaco in 1995, Tracey was more at home in the two-lap event, and she performed accordingly to book her spot in the next round.

The 30-year-old occupied the inside lane for most of the way before finding space in between competitors in the home stretch to close fast for second in heat four.

She stopped the clock in a season’s best 1:59.92, behind Uganda’s Halimah Nakaayi (1:59.68), with French athlete, Renelle Lamote (2:00.22, taking the third automatic qualifying spot from the heat.

Meanwhile, Cuba’s Rose Mary Almanza, who contested heat six, placed sixth in 2:01.33 and failed to progress.

The semi-finals are scheduled for Friday.

You can catch live action of the 2023 World Athletic Championships by downloading the Sportsmax App.

Former West Indies batsmen Lendl Simmons and Dwayne Smith, both produced much-needed cameos but their efforts were in vain, as Atlanta Riders suffered a seven-wicket loss to New York Warriors in the US Masters T10 competition on Monday.

Smith led the way with a 24-ball 36, while Simmons contributed 21 off 11 balls, which assisted Riders to 97 for four off their allotment, at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium.

Simmons, 38, put on 29 for the first wicket with captain Robin Uthappa (24), and added another 28 in a second-wicket partnership Smith, who had four boundaries in his knock.

Former Pakistan seamer Sohail Khan was the chief destroyer for the Warriors, as he claimed three for 21, with former West Indies seamer Jerome Taylor taking the other wicket.

Meanwhile, Kamran Akmal struck a brisk 34 off 11 balls, including three fours and three sixes, in a 63-run opening stand with Tillakaratne Dilshan, who struck 28 from 14 balls.

Though former Bangladesh left-arm spinner Elias Sunny slowed their progress, snaring two of the three wickets that fell in quick succession, former West Indies all-rounder Jonathan Carter and Shahid Afridi took the game away from the Riders, with an unbroken 40-run stand for the fourth wicket.

Carter struck one boundary and a maximum in his 17, while Afridi was unbeaten on 22.

Sunny ended with two wickets for 11 runs.

Another former West Indies player Chris Barnwell struck an unbeaten 28 off a mere 10 deliveries to lead New Jersey Tritons to victory over the Warriors on Sunday.

Barnwell’s knock, which included four sixes saw the Tritons chased down 85 in a contest reduced to five overs per side due to rain.

Jamaica’s Rajindra Campbell is off to a dream start on debut, as he secured his spot in the men’s shot-put final on Saturday’s opening day of the World Athletic Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Campbell, who earlier this year became the first Jamaican man to go beyond 22m when he launched the instrument to a national record of 22.22m, took his time to get going in Group A of qualifying, but eventually found his rhythm.

Though he missed the automatic qualifying mark of 21.40m, Campbell’s 20.83m on his third attempt, was good enough to make the final as it ranked him 10th across the two groups.

Prior to achieving the mark which placed him sixth in his group, the 27-year-old Campbell, opened with an underwhelming 19.83m and registered no mark on his second attempt.

Campbell rued a lack of warm up and the wet conditions for his slow start.

"I didn't get through the complete warm up, the rain poured so I didn't get to warm up around the back because there was lightning and all that, so I came out here and tried to force it. the ring was very slippery, so that caused a lot of downhill performance today, but as we progressed the ring got dryer and I could actually feel the grip and that is how the last one came together," the vibrant thrower shared.

While his national record ranked him fourth coming into the championships, Campbell remains grounded where his medal prospects are concerned.

"Honestly, I don't want to start getting into that right now because later on (the final is to come). So, the job is not done yet, for now I am holding it together, I want to get some food in my system, take a nap and then I will be back," he said.

"It is a level playing field...that's the thing about competition, anything can happen on the day. So, I am confident in myself, I believe when it is necessary, I can pull something together just like I did with this last throw. It's something I have been doing consistently all season, so anything is possible," Campbell added.

Brazil’s Darlan Romani headlines the finalist with a big season’s best of 22.37m. The big American pair of two-time World Champion Joe Kovacs (21.59m) and Olympic Champion Ryan Crouser (21.48m) are also in the mix for the final scheduled for later this evening at 1:35pm Jamaica time.

 

You can catch live action of the 2023 World Athletic Championships by downloading the Sportsmax App.

The ninth edition of the Women’s World Cup is almost over with only the final left to play.

A new winner will be crowned when England and Spain do battle in Sydney on Sunday.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at what we learned from this tournament.

USA dominance over

USA have been the leading force in women’s football for the past few decades, winning the previous two World Cups and claiming three gold medals at the Olympics, but they suffered a shock defeat to Sweden in the last 16 in Melbourne.

A number of other nations made early exits, including Olympic champions Canada going out in the group stage along with Euros runners-up Germany, but it was USA’s penalty shoot-out loss which caused the most astonishment.

With Megan Rapinoe retiring and other stalwarts Alex Morgan, Kelley O’Hara and Alyssa Naeher unlikely to play at another World Cup, it finally feels safe to say USA’s glittering era is over despite the excitement around Sophia Smith.

Year of the underdog!

 

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Along with USA leaving the tournament early on, a number of emerging nations made their mark in Australia and New Zealand with South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco and Jamacia all making the knock-out stages.

Morocco qualified through Group H at the expense of Germany, who had thumped the African outfit 6-0 at the start of the World Cup. The Moroccan players were crowded around a phone watching the final seconds of Germany’s draw with South Korea before erupting in celebration.

Their journey only lasted until the last-16 stage and it was the same for South Africa and Nigeria but never before had three African countries all made the knock-out phase. Meanwhile, Jamaica were able to send Brazil packing in the group stage. It helped to highlight the growing depth in the women’s international game.

England’s golden generation

England were close to exiting this World Cup against Nigeria after Lauren James’ red card, but Mary Earps and heroic defending was followed by shoot-out success to send them through to the quarter-finals.

The European Championship winners would have always hoped to go deep in this tournament, but a tricky draw on paper and injuries to Beth Mead, Fran Kirby and Leah Williamson alongside the retirement of several key players last summer could easily have resulted in a poor showing.

In serial winner Sarina Wiegman and a group of players with incredible resolve and belief, England have managed to break new ground to reach a first World Cup final and given so many of this squad are in their twenties, it feels whatever happens on Sunday the Lionesses are ready to be the country to beat over the coming years.

Glass ceiling smashed!

Records have tumbled during this tournament co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand. The bigger than usual format of 32 teams has resulted in more games and while plenty of drama has followed, the quality of football on show has helped to ensure ticket sales and TV viewing figures continue to go through the roof.

A whopping attendance of 75,784 has been recorded three times at Sydney’s Stadium Australia and according to FIFA, the average crowd across the 10 venues has been 28,900. A big increase from the previous edition in France or any other World Cup, but the world has also tuned in.

Despite matches usually being played outside of prime-time slots, Fox still had 2.52 million viewers watch USA’s last-16 defeat on penalties to Sweden, which kicked off at 5am in the Eastern time zone of the United States. BBC One had 7.3 million viewers watch England’s semi-final win over Australia and millions also turned on the TVs in Brazil, Colombia and China for matches containing their respective countries.

Room for improvement

 

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There is still plenty of work to achieve in the women’s game though, with the build-up to this World Cup dogged by controversy and several countries playing amid the backdrop of internal tension, which should not be the case when players get the chance to perform on the biggest of stages.

FIFA faced criticism for its ‘Unite’ armbands, which were similar to the OneLove armband banned, but did not promote LGBTQ+ communities. The governing body also found itself in a storm for almost allowing Saudi Arabia to sponsor the tournament and president Gianni Infantino’s peripheral role at this World Cup compared to the men’s edition in Qatar.

Meanwhile, Spain’s presence in the final will conjure mixed emotions after several of their own players threatened to quit international football if head coach Jorge Vilda did not leave his position, citing the impact his regime had on their “emotional state” but he remained. Hati and Zambia’s participation in this World Cup occurred amidst sexual misconduct allegations against staff to highlight the hurdles still facing elite women footballers.

Jamaica missed out on the cut for the final of the Mixed 4x400 metres relay, as they could only manage fifth in heat two of the event on Saturday's opening day of the ongoing World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

The Jamaican quartet of Demish Gaye, Natoya Goule-Toppin, Malik James-King and Stacey-Ann Williams, running in that order, struggled from the off and was at the back of the pack for the first two legs.

In fact, it was on the third leg that James King tried to force the initiative and gradually made progress, but faded in the latter stages, leaving Williams with much to do on anchor.

Despite facing an uphill task, Williams showed grit and determination to bring Jamaicans from eighth into fifth and ninth across the two heats in a season’s best 3:14.05.

They finished behind the Femke Bol led Dutch team, who won in 3:12.12, followed by France (3:12.25) and Czech Republic (3:12.52), with fourth-placed Germany taking one of the non-automatic qualifying spots.

United States with a World lead 3:10.41, Great Britain, with a national record 3:11.19, Belgium (3:11.81) and Ireland (3:13.90), are the other finalists.

 

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