How lucky are the Lionesses to dominate the sports journals this time next year, like they were last week?
Transformational coach Sarina Wiegman has persuaded the FA to fly their Euro business class winners to the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand – and they have the ability, and more importantly the mentality, to do so. the case again – even if the United States, above all, will strengthen the opposition.
Euro backheel heroine Alessia Russo could be part of another double – at club level. The men and women of Manchester United have that quality of delivering on the day that can win an FA Cup.
Pardon a boring notion, but Manchester City’s men and Chelsea’s women remain the most likely league champions, despite mounting challenges.
In the Scottish Premiership, Celtic’s nine-point league is too big for new Rangers manager Michael Beale to bridge.
And in Europe? Will the Erling Haaland goal machine deliver a long-awaited Champions League debut for Manchester City. With a problem or two for most of their strongest rivals, now is surely the time for boss Pep Guardiola.
At the first major global event of the year, Novak Djokovic is rightfully the heavy favorite to win the Australian Open in tennis and equal Rafael Nadal’s record 22 Grand Slam wins.
UK fans have reason to hope that Emma Raducanu will begin a strong climb from 80th in the world rankings, if she is successful under new trainer Sebastian Sachs and – most importantly – fitness guru Jez Green.
The Six Nations kick off the international year of rugby union – the men of France and the women of England win – but the men’s autumn World Cup will dominate.
New coaches for Wales and England add to the fascination, but if Ireland ever have to win, this is the year.
England male and female cricketers in the 50+ and 20+ versions are also vying for World Cup glory. The men can keep the trophy they won in spectacular fashion in 2019; women may find Australia too strong.
In this summer’s Ashes, will Australia provide a rude awakening to conquering England and the new-look sword of Ben Stokes? Instinct says the Stokes bandwagon will continue for a while yet.
There are British world championship gold medals in prospect in athletics (Jake Wightman and Keely Hodgkinson on the rise), gymnastics (as are the Gadirova twins, Jessica and Jennifer) and swimming (Adam Peaty against the others at new, but can he still do it at 27? Maybe right.)
In F1, as always, it’s all about the cars and the rules, but British Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and rising star George Russell could find world champion Max Verstappen still too much to crack, although they should get closer than ever. ‘in 2022.
And two individuals to finish with – 6-foot-9 Tyson Fury and 5-foot-9 Rory McIlroy.
Ukrainian heavyweight Oleksandr Usyk will be a tougher test than anyone with Fury in 2022, but the ‘Gypsy King’ punches as hard as he talks and should prevail again.
And to finally bring McIlroy back to win his first major golf tournament since 2014, help Europe win back the United States Ryder Cup in Rome and play a starring role in the sports journals this time next year.