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What to look forward to in the 2021 Summer of Sport

This time last year, with the first lockdown in full swing, the sporting picture was bleak with huge summer events postponed or cancelled. Thankfully, the summer of 2021 looks very different, with a quite astonishing amount of sport due to take place over the next few months. Here, we cast our eye over some of the biggest events, so you can mark your diaries for the drama and excitement that’s on the way.

Euro 2020 (11 June – 11 July), all over Europe

Despite it clearly being 2021, Euro 2020 will still be known by its original name, as 24 of Europe’s finest footballing countries vie for supremacy. World champions France (16%) and England (15%) are currently heading our win market, but don’t rule out Portugal (9%) who have a star-studded squad, although they’ll need to emerge from a pool with France, Germany and Hungary - clearly the toughest of the Euro 2020 groups. 

Copa America (13 June – 11 July), host country TBC

Whilst Europe’s finest put their skills on display at the Euros, South America’s best players will be doing likewise in the Copa America, with Brazil (33%) hoping to defend their crown. The host country for the tournament is still to be determined after Argentina were stripped of hosting rights due to Covid, with Brazil looking most likely to take over.

The US Open (17-20 June), Torrey Pines and The Open (15-18 July), Royal St George’s

A double whammy of golf majors in June and July, and after Phil Mickelson’s victory at the US PGA in May, who knows what lies in store next? Despite not winning a major since 2014, Rory McIlroy starts most of them among the favourites in the betting markets and has a 6% chance of winning in America at the US Open. Elsewhere, world number one Dustin Johnson is the favourite on the Smarkets exchange (9%) to triumph in the UK at the 149th Open.

Tour de France (26 June – 18 July)

Slovenia’s Tadej Pogačar is the 35% favourite to win the Tour for the second year running, but he will be pushed all the way by compatriot Primož Roglič (31%), while Geraint Thomas (7%) carries British hopes.

Wimbledon (28 June – 11 July), London

The SW19 strawberries and cream festival returns after taking an unexpected gap year, and Novak Djokovic (31%) is currently favourite to add to his Australian Open title from earlier this year. Whether Andy Murray will return to fitness in time to feature in Wimbledon 2021 remains to be seen. Naomi Osaka is available to back at 11% for the women’s singles, although her participation remains uncertain following her French Open withdrawal.

Olympics (23 July – 8 August) and Paralympics (24 August – 5 September), both Tokyo, Japan

Another delayed event from 2020 is the world’s biggest sporting showpiece, as Tokyo prepares to host the Summer Games for the first time since 1964. The United States (83%) are favourites to top the medal table, with Team GB given a 28% chance of finishing second, and 46% for third.

South Africa vs. British and Irish Lions (24, 31 July and 7 August), South Africa

You have to go back to 1997 for the last time the Lions were able to beat South Africa in a three-match series, and their task could not be tougher this year as they take on a Springbok side who are world champions, and looking stronger than ever.

England vs. India Test series (4 August – 14 September), England

After The Hundred starts (July 21 – August 21), the highlight of the English cricketing summer is a five-Test series between England and India, with the home side looking to avenge their defeat away from home earlier this year. Before both of those, the inaugural World Test Championship between India and New Zealand takes place in Southampton from June 18-22.

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