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Two of the world’s great sporting traditions continue today, the World Cup and the Tour de France.  Both of have seen great shock and disappointment in the past 24 hours.  Yesterday, Brazil, without services of their young offensive ace, Neymar, and more importantly, their captain and defensive leader, Tiago, was thrashed by an organized and relentless German squad 7-1.  Today, the Tour lost its defending champion, Chris Froome of Great Britain to a wrist injury in the rain splattered Stage 5 race.

Germany will be a formidable opponent for whomever emerges as the winner this afternoon.  I expect the Netherlands to prevail in a tight game today.  Even the masterful Lionel Messi will have trouble placing as much pressure on Holland’s defense as the three-headed monster of van Persie, Schneider and Robben will place on Argentina’s.  The Brazilians meanwhile will have to rebound quickly for the 3rd place game.  If the Netherlands were to defeat Argentina, then Brazil and Argentina will have a serious battle for pride on Saturday; the Verde-Amarela will want to avoid being embarrassed twice at home.

As for the Tour, even without its defending champion (and hopefully without the drug problems that have plagued its past decade), it is a magnificent race to watch.  Not only the rivalries and intrigues that crop up during the three weeks of competition, but the beautiful old French towns and countryside as seen in the helicopter shots make it a fun escape for sports fans – or even non-sports fans if they like beautiful scenery – to make, if only for a little while.  Do yourself a favor in the coming days and tune in for just a few minutes; I think if you do, you’ll find yourself coming back for more.

– 1 TF

 

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