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The best sporting moments of 2017

• Posted in Cricket / Football • By JoeBaker

There has been great sporting drama, quality, excitement and the odd bit of contention in 2017. So, as we bid goodbye to one year and welcome in another, and with a special mention to the finale of the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand, here are our top five moments that truly captivated the world of sport in 2017.

The return of Roger and Rafa in Australia

No one could have foreseen the return this year of the greatest rivalry there has ever been in tennis – or in sport – between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. In 2016, both had looked out of form and had been struggling with injuries. Illustrious careers looked to be ending. Not so. The four Slams were shared between them in 2017, with the pair winning a combined 13 titles. Nadal became the oldest player to end the season as world number 1, whilst Federer had one of his best seasons at the age of 36, winning over 90% of the matches he played. The defining moment that had all sport lovers purring was their unexpected contest in the Australian Open final, which had us reminiscing about old times as they played out an astonishing five set thriller, which Federer came from behind to win. Full of skill, competitiveness and played with real class, it was a reminder of both their enduring quality and everything they have given to the game.

England’s Women on top of the world

One of the most enthralling moments of the year happened in the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup final. And, for once in a major final, it was England who ended up on the winning side. Chasing 229 to win, the favourites India looked set for victory at 191-3. Cue a remarkable comeback sparked by Anya Shrubsole, who took 6 wickets, 5 of them in just 19 deliveries, as India saw 7 batters come and go for just 28 runs. India disintegrated, England rallied. At times it was all too much to watch – such as when Jenny Gunn put down the easiest of catches to win the tournament. Yet Heather Knight’s side got themselves over the line and lifted the trophy in front of a packed Lords at the end of a fantastic tournament. This was the moment that women’s cricket finally got the recognition it deserved.

Joshua v Klitschko

Has there ever been a boxing fight that has received such a level of intrigue and excitement as the world heavyweight title showdown between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko? A packed Wembley and millions of TV viewers were treated to one of the greatest fights in history, with both men barely able to stand by the end. By it’s finale, it was Joshua who found that extra edge to secure the win, thrillingly ending the bout in the 11th round in a fight that ebbed and flowed and left punters and fans clueless as to who was going to end up on top. Through all the pre-fight commitments and the contest itself, Joshua and Klitschko were an example to all current and budding fighters – respectful, committed and, as shown by the fight, immensely talented.

The kids are alright

We hear on a pretty regular basis about the struggles of the England national football teams. Well, 2017 was a little different, as both the U20 and U17 sides won their respective World Cups, whilst the U19s won the European Championship. Out of the three though, it was the efforts of Steve Cooper’s U17s that was the most spectacular. After being the standout team all tournament, they found themselves 0-2 down in the final to Spain, the same side who had narrowly edged them out months earlier in the European Championship final. By the end, they had trounced their opponents 5-2 with a scintillating level of football epitomised by Phil Foden, who ended up winning player of the tournament. For fans of English football, it was a joy to behold. Winning a major tournament is one thing, but doing it in such style is something else altogether – England football teams just don’t do comebacks like this…

A race with everything

As a single achievement, Team GB men’s 4x100m relay team winning gold at the World Championships, whilst brilliant, probably wouldn’t have made it onto this list. Yet some sporting moments have more than one plot line. This one certainly did. In the final event of a successful World Championships, everyone was looking forward to Usain Bolt winning yet another goal in his last ever race as part of the Jamaican team. Consequently, fans were left with emotions of joy and despair as the GB team crossed the finishing line as shock winners and Bolt pulled up in that final ever 100 metres, falling to the floor in agony as his leg cramped. The fact that Team GB prevented another gold for the pantomime villain Justin Gatlin, whose US team finished second, only added to the drama. A stunning British victory and a barely believable end to the career of the greatest sprinter the world has ever seen, unfolding in front of your eyes in a matter of seconds. Does it get more dramatic than that?

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