2018 is set to be a huge year in sport. It’s a World Cup year, so we know that there’s group-stage heartbreak for England to look forward to in Russia. Away from that gloomy prospect, there are so many big events that it would be easy to get overwhelmed. But fear not, as My partypoker LIVE have put together a handy list of eleven of the biggest and best sporting events that you will not want to miss in 2018:
Six Nations (February 3rd – March 17th)
Rugby’s greatest championship kicks off with Wales taking on Scotland in Cardiff. England are the defending champions, having followed up their 2016 Grand Slam with a successful title defence in 2017. Expect six weeks of fiery, passionate rugby that stirs the soul, as old rivalries are resumed and ancient enemies clash. Also expect Italy to pick up yet another wooden spoon.
Winter Olympics (February 9th – February 25th)
Around 90 nations will be sending athletes to compete in Pyeonchang, South Korea. They will compete for medals in 102 events across 15 disciplines. New events will include big air snowboarding, mixed doubles curling, mass start speed skating, and mixed team alpine skiing. British medals are likely to be thin on the ground, though who doesn’t love staying up to watch a bit of curling?
Masters (April 5th – April 8th)
The most prestigious of the four majors, golf’s elite will once again do battle for the famous green jacket on the gorgeous lawns of the Augusta National in April. Sergio Garcia ended his long wait for a major title at the 74th attempt in 2017, and there is likely to be no shortage of drama this time around.
Grand National (April 14th)
The thunder of hooves, the pulsating excitement, the thrill of the chase. The Grand National is always an incredible spectacle and we'd expect the 2018 edition to be no different. 14/1 long shot One For Arthur surged to victory at Aintree last year, and, with 25% of the UK adult population estimated to have a flutter on the National, who will you be backing this year? One thing is for sure, it just can't be as dramatic as the Grand National in 1967!
UEFA Champions League Final (May 26th)
Europe’s elite club competition is beginning to hot up, with a record five English clubs amongst the last 16. Manchester City are best placed of the quintet to challenge reigning champions Real Madrid and favourites PSG for the title. The 2018 Champions League final will be held at the Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex in Kiev, Ukraine, and is always a must-watch for any football fan. Last years final was an absolute classic.
FIFA World Cup (June 14th – July 15th)
The grand daddy of all sporting competitions, the 21st FIFA World Cup will be hosted in Russia this summer. Reigning world champions Germany are among the favourites for the crown alongside usual suspects Brazil, France and Spain. Newcomers Panama and Iceland will add a unique flavour to the World Cup, with established superpowers like Italy, Netherlands and USA all missing out. In 2014 over a billion people watched the 2014 final. Can Gareth Southgate’s England end 52 years of hurt in Russia? In a word, nyet.
Wimbledon (July 2nd – July 15th)
Strawberries and cream, jug after jug of Pimms and a fortnight of top-quality tennis. What’s not to love about Wimbledon? In 2017, Roger Federer added a record eighth SW19 title to his stunning CV, and you wouldn’t bet against the Swiss maestro getting a ninth this year, with Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic all plagued by various ailments. Always one of the highlights of the British sporting summer.
Tour de France (July 7th – July 29th)
Chris Froome will be the rered-hotavourite to claim a fifth overall Tour de France victory this July. 176 riders from 22 teams will participate in the 21-stage event, with the Grand Depart of the 3,329 km race taking place in Noirmoutier-en-l'Île. After three brutal weeks, one of the toughest challenges in sport will finish on the Champs-Élysées. Will Froome be wearing yellow in Paris yet again?
Women’s Hockey World Cup (July 21st – August 5th)
Sixteen nations will fight it out for World Cup glory at the Lee Valley Hockey Centre in London this summer. After the Great Britain Women’s Team’s inspired a nation by taking gold at the Rio Olympics, the World Cup on home soil will be a fantastic opportunity for England and the sport as a whole to build on that momentum. Australia and defending champions the Netherlands will likely provide England’s toughest competition.
England vs India Test Series (August 1st – September 11th)
After the disastrous Ashes series that ended in a humiliating 4-0 defeat down under, England’s next big cricketing examination arrives this summer with a five-test series against the mighty India. With test matches at Edgbaston, Lord’s, Trent Bridge, The Rose Bowl and the Oval, Joe Root’s boys will be looking for redemption against the number one team in the Test Rankings.
Ryder Cup (September 28th – September 30th)
The 42nd Ryder Cup will be held at the Albatros Course of Le Golf National in Paris. Europe and America will do battle across 28 foursomes, fourball and singles matches as Europe look to regain the title that they lost to the USA 17-11 at Hazeltine in 2016. Ryder Cup’s are always special occasions, with the passionate support and the high drama of team matchplay golf generating a unique atmosphere. Always worth a watch for any sports fan.
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