In any World Cup year, football has a tendency to overshadow the exploits of the rest of the sporting world. Such was the case when a perplexed Andy Murray (from Dunblane, Scotland), was asked his thoughts on England’s chances of lifting the Jules Rimet.
Unsurprisingly, relatively little attention was paid to Murray’s own activities this summer, which included an all too brief visit to Wimbledon. Novak Djokovic once again went on to be crowned king of SW17, and the Serbian superstar has since gone on to reach his eighth straight semi-final in the US Open.
Fortunately, Scotland found relief from Murray’s disappointing showing in hosting the Commonwealth Games; a strange colonial hangover, the highlight of which appeared to be Usain Bolt wearing a Tam o’ Shanter and dancing to The Proclaimers. The Empire might be finished, but for those interested in what appeared like a re-run of London 2012 on UK Gold, the Games represented pride, patriotism, and lots of Kenyans running quickly round a track.
Whether or not Scotland are about to break free from Britain’s stranglehold remains to be seen, but the record books will note a number of medals won by UK athletes. Although Mo Farah was forced to pull out through injury, Nicola Adams secured another gold, two years after becoming the first woman to win a gold medal for boxing.
There was less of a buzz surrounding England’s footballing achievements – or lack, thereof – at Brazil 2014. Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson warned Wayne Rooney of his last chance to impress at the highest level, only to realise that apparently, no England players are capable of performing at major tournaments.
Nonetheless, the World Cup with all its highs, lows and biting incidents (no prizes for guessing who), will go down as the highlight of this year’s sporting calendar, as Germany lifted the World Cup in front of a delighted Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Amid all the glory, for some survival was the order of the day. Alistair Cook remains England cricket captain, having finally overseen a Test victory after a year’s wait. His position as one-day skipper is far from secure however, with calls for Eoin Morgan to take the mantle reaching an all-time high.
England’s cricket and rugby teams have a World Cup to look forward to in 2015, though the former certainly have much to do if they are not to be torn apart by spin as they were so often against India.
For England fans across the board, it has been a summer of ups and downs – though mainly downs. But there are still plenty of positives looking ahead.
Danny Welbeck scored twice as Hodgson’s beat Switzerland in their opening Euro 2016 qualifier, and Kevin Pietersen has finally stopped lingering around Lord’s before England cricket matches. What a summer it’s been!