A look at the sporting calendar of 2014

A look ahead to the 2014 UK sport calendar, with some predictions as well

2012 had the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

2013 had successes for Andy Murray at Wimbledon, the British and Irish Lions in Australia, a thrilling Rugby League World Cup, a very successful World Athletics Championships and back-to-back Ashes series that at least started well.

2014 may not have the depth of global events, but I predict that it will at least be as high profile.

The highlight of the calendar for most people will be the 2014 Football World Cup in Brazil. For the first time since 1950, the event goes to Brazil (the supposed second-home of football) and following a difficult and somewhat fraught campaign, England has managed to qualify.  However, a combination of the climate conditions, the draw, and perhaps most importantly, the quality of the side; it seems unlikely that Roy Hogdson’s men will become the first England team since 1966 to lift the Jules Rimet trophy…

An initial impression would also suggest that the other major world sporting event, the Sochi Winter Olympics, would also struggle to provide British success – but  Team GB  are heading into the games with plenty of confidence that this could be their best winter Olympic performance since the original games in 1924, where we left with four medals.

Genuine medal contenders include Eve Muirhead’s curling team, the current world champions, while the men’s team, skippered by David Murdoch, may not quite be at their best, but are previous world champions as well. Elise Christie is a current world medalist in short track speed skating, as is James Woods in Slopestyle. Shelley Rudman is the current world Skeleton champion and will look to add to the silver medal she won back in  2006 in Turin, while John Jackson’s four man bobsleigh team where only 0.07 seconds adrift of a medal at the 2013 world championships.

These names may not be household-known at the moment, but a strong Olympic performance could change that.

It might not be on the same scale as London 2012, but the Commonwealth Games comes to Glasgow in July and August and once again will give the British public a chance to enjoy and celebrate some of the best athletes in the world competing on British soil.

And also on British soil will see the beginning of the 2014 Tour de France, starting with two stages in Yorkshire before a third runs into London. Following the massive success of the previous Grand Depart in England in 2007, and the recent victories for Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, combined with the free roadside viewing, the three stages in England could be one of the hottest tickets of the year.

2012 saw the ‘Miracle of Medinah’ as the European Ryder Cup team came from 10-6 down to secure a 14.5-13.5 victory in one of the greatest sporting comeback of recent times. They will hope to defend the title when the event comes to Gleneagles in September.

It may not quite have the same impact on the consciousness of the public as an Ashes series, but England will host India in five test matches over the summer, while the World T20 in Bangladesh in March will be the first chance for England to redeem themselves following the disappointing tour of Australia.

And following his return from injury, Andy Murray will be looking to add to his Wimbledon and US Open titles, and with Great Britain back in the Davis Cup World Group for the first time since 2008, and with the team having a draw that if they get the USA in round one, is as nice as it could be, Murray will hope to break another British tennis hoodoo and lift the Davis Cup for the first time since 1936.

Now wouldn’t that be something nice to achieve?  So here is a few predictions that can be laughed at in 12 months time…

  1. Spain will retain the World Cup.
  2. England will reach the quarter finals of the World Cup
  3. All the domestic football trophies will end up in Manchester
  4. Great Britain will win at least three medals at the Winter Olympics, with at least one gold medal
  5. Andy Murray will win another Grand Slam title and will retain the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award
  6. The Fed Cup team will get promoted to the World Group II
  7. An England team will win the World T20 championships
  8. Europe will retain the Ryder Cup.
  9. Chris Froome will win the 2014 Tour de France
  10. 2014 will be a great year for sport
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