The sporting highlights of 2022 so far
As winter gently turns to spring, and the days get warmer and the nights shorter, it’s a good time to take stock of some of the top-class sporting drama we’ve seen unfold in 2022 so far. With spectators returning to sporting venues thanks to the easing of coronavirus-related restrictions, there has been something of a celebratory atmosphere at many matches and events so far this year.
With plenty still to look forward to on the 2022 calendar, including the World Cup in Qatar, we’ve had a quick look at three of the most interesting developments in the first three months of this exciting sporting year.
Liverpool win the League Cup
On a pulsating afternoon at Wembley Stadium, it was Liverpool’s supporters who ultimately savoured the taste of victory in the League Cup final. Both they and Chelsea had goals disallowed over the course of an entertaining 120 minutes, but the match finished goalless to set up a nerve-shredding penalty shootout.
With both Kepa Arrizabalaga and Caoimhin Kelleher unable to save any penalties for their respective sides, the two goalkeepers were forced to step up to the mark themselves. Kelleher confidently stroked his spot-kick home, but Arrizabalaga could only watch on with horror as his shot soared over the crossbar and into the masses of jubilant Reds fans.
Liverpool had laid claim to the trophy, and it was they who climbed the famous steps at Wembley to receive the trophy, which Jordan Henderson held aloft in celebration.
A thrilling Cheltenham Festival
Turning to horse racing, there’s no denying that the Cheltenham Festival offered a welcome glimpse of what makes this sporting occasion so special. As fans packed into the Prestbury Park concourses for the first time in two years, there was an added fervency to the famous ‘Cheltenham roar’ as horse racing enthusiasts up and down the country eagerly examined the Betdaq racing betting.
Highlights included Honeysuckle’s stunning performance to win a second successive Champion Hurdle crown, Energumene’s victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, and the thrill of A Plus Tard’s dominant Gold Cup triumph.
The star trainer of the Festival was Willie Mullins, who had saddled a record-breaking 10 winners by the time the four days had come to an end. Meanwhile, Paul Townend won the Leading Jockey accolade, boasting five winners.
Six Nations glory for France
Heading into the 2022 Six Nations, it had been 12 years since France last enjoyed a title triumph, but Fabien Galthié’s side produced some stunning rugby to win an impressive Grand Slam. With everything on the line, Les Bleus produced a fine performance to beat England on the final night and prevent Ireland from snatching the title.
The triumph has come at an important time for France in the context of world rugby. With another Six Nations championship to come next year, before attention turns to the 2023 Rugby World Cup which France will be hosting, they seem to be coming into form at just the right time.
It was a terrific Six Nations overall, and with capacity crowds lending a vibrant atmosphere to each match, the 2022 tournament will live long in the memory.