Messi, England, Djokovic eye history on blockbuster Sunday

IANS/New Delhi
Filed on July 10, 2021
A combination of file pictures shows Brazil's Neymar (left) Argentina's Lionel Messi ahead of the Copa America final. — AFP

England's best at the Euros have been semifinal finishes in 1968 and 1996, when they hosted the event

Sunday, July 11, is a day of blockbusters as sports fans will find little time off their screens while witnessing what could turn out to be important events in sporting history.

Argentina's Lionel Messi, who has earned honours at Barcelona to become one of the two best footballers of this era alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, is yet to win a major trophy in national colours. On Sunday morning, he will lead Albiceleste in the Copa America final against arch-rivals Brazil in Rio de Janeiro's iconic Maracana Stadium.

The two teams have shared iconic rivalry and the last Copa America game between the two countries went in favour of Brazil, who won the 2019 semifinal 2-0.

Despite his legendary status, Messi has had near-misses with Argentina team and has often fallen at the last hurdle. He lost the Copa final in 2007, 2015, 2016 as well as the World Cup final in 2014.

These are massive disappointments that have made Argentina fans question his commitment towards the national team.

In fact, the 2016 Copa America final loss was too tough to bear for Messi, who announced his retirement after missing a penalty in the shoot-out in the final against Chile.

But this is the chance to redeem himself. His closest rival at international stage, Ronaldo, has won European Championships with Portugal as well as club trophies to stay a step ahead of him.

The match will begin 5.30 a.m. India time, 4.00 a.m. United Arab Emirates (UAE) time and 1 a.m. British Summer Time.

While the Copa final will start the day, the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy will wind up the day as England will look for their first ever major international trophy in football since the 1966 World Cup.

They face Italy at the iconic Wembley Stadium in London in front of their home crowd.

In fact, this will be their first-ever final at a major football tournament since 1966.

England's best at the Euros have been semifinal finishes in 1968 and 1996, when they hosted the event.

English fans have been mentioning "It's coming home" on social media since the last three years. They were in the running to win the 2018 World Cup. But they lost the 2018 World Cup semi-final to Croatia.

Their opponents Italy have won the Euro in 1968 and finished runner-up twice, in 2000 and 2012.

They've also been world champions as recently as 2006.

The Euro final will begin late on Sunday night at 12.30 a.m. (Monday) India time, 11.00 p.m. UAE time and 8 p.m. British Summer Time.

In between these two football continental finals, Novak Djokvic will be playing at the Wimbledon final against Matteo Berrettini, eyeing his 20th Grand Slam title to draw level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as players to have won most Grand Slam men's singles titles.

Djokovic, the world No 1, has won 19 so far and starts favourite against Berrettini, who is into his first Grand Slam final.

The Wimbledon final will be played in the evening.

Apart from football and tennis, there are cricket matches as well.

The Indian women's cricket team, on tour in England will be playing the second T20 International on Sunday night. They lost the first game on Friday night. The match will begin at 7 p.m. India time, 5.30 p.m. UAE time and 2.30 p.m. British Summer Time.

Australian men's team, on tour of the Caribbean, will play West Indies in the second T2O International after losing the first. The match will begin 5 a.m. India time, 3.30 a.m. UAE time and 12.30 a.m. British Summer Time.

In the third international cricket game of the day, South Africa will play Ireland in the first ODI in Dublin. The match will begin at 3.30 p.m. India time, 2 p.m. UAE time and 11 a.m. British Summer Time.

Schedule of events:

Copa America final

Argentina vs Brazil (Maracana Stadium at Rio de Janeiro)

4 a.m. UAE time

Wimbledon final

Novak Djokovic vs Matteo Berrettini at Centre Court, Wimbledon, London.

Time: Undecided but in the evening.

Euro 2020 final

Italy vs England (Wembley Stadium in London)

Time: 11.00 p.m. UAE time


India Women vs England Women, 2nd T20I at Hove

Time: 5.30 p.m. UAE time

Australia vs West Indies, 2nd T20I at St Lucia

3.30 a.m. UAE time

South Africa vs Ireland, 1st ODI at Dublin

2 p.m. UAE time

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