(Reuters) – Major sports events around the world that have been hit by the coronavirus outbreak:
FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face mask, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), walks past walk past the Olympic rings in front of the Japan Olympics Museum in Tokyo, Japan March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
– The Tokyo 2020 Olympics torch lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia was held without spectators.
– The Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) suspended the remainder of the torch relay through the country to avoid attracting crowds.
– U.S. Olympic trials for wrestling, originally scheduled for April 4-5 at Penn State University, were postponed.
– U.S. Rowing postponed its Olympic team trials and will not run a national team event for 30 days.
– U.S. Olympic diving trials, scheduled for April 3-5 in Tucson, Arizona, were postponed. All USA Diving events postponed for next 30 days.
– The NBA has suspended its season.
– The NHL has suspended its season.
– The MLB will delay its 2020 season’s opening day of March 26 by at least two weeks. It said Spring Training camps were also suspended.
– All elite soccer matches in England, including the Premier League, Football League (EFL) and Women’s Super League (WSL), were suspended until April 4.
However, the National League — the fifth-tier of English football — said all its weekend matches would go ahead, including the lower-level Conference North and South divisions.
– The German Football League called off matches scheduled for March 13-15 in the Bundesliga and second-tier Bundesliga 2. They recommended both leagues be suspended until April 2.
– UEFA postponed all Champions League and Europa League matches due to take place next week.
– The Confederation of African Football has postponed two rounds of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers scheduled for March 25-31.
– CONCACAF suspended all competitions scheduled to take place over the next 30 days, including the Champions League and men’s Olympic qualifiers.
– The Paraguayan FA has suspended all games until March 24 and recommended that clubs stop collective training sessions.
– The Colombian league has suspended all tournaments until further notice.
– The Chilean FA ordered all games due to be played between March 19 and April 19 take place without fans.
– The top two tiers of French football — Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 — have been suspended until further notice.
– All soccer matches in Spain’s top two divisions were postponed for two weeks.
– England’s friendly internationals against Italy and Denmark at Wembley on March 27 and 31 will not take place, while Denmark canceled their March 27 friendly against the Faroe Islands.
– The Norwegian Football Federation said it did not plan to hold Norway’s Euro 2020 playoff match against Serbia that was scheduled for March 26.
– Poland’s soccer league has postponed all games at least until the end of March. The resumption date is expected to be announced next week.
– U.S. Major League Soccer has suspended its season.
– U.S. Soccer’s Open Cup Committee has suspended its 2020 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
– All soccer in the Netherlands was suspended until the end of March. The national team canceled their Euros warm-up matches against the United States (March 26) and Spain (March 29).
– FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation have agreed to postpone Asian World Cup qualifying matches in March and June.
– FIFA said South American qualifying matches between March 23-31 for the 2022 World Cup were postponed.
– Bundesliga: Borussia Moenchengladbach v Cologne (March 11) was played without fans.
– Spain’s Copa del Rey final between Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad (Seville; April 18) was postponed.
– New seasons in the Chinese, Japanese and South Korean leagues were postponed.
– A four-team event in Doha featuring Croatia, Portugal, Belgium and Switzerland (March 26-30) was canceled.
– A friendly between Germany and Italy (Nuremberg; March 31) will take place without fans.
– Tickets are not being sold for the Euro 2020 qualifying playoff semi-finals between Bulgaria and Hungary and Bosnia and Northern Ireland.
– Asian Champions League: Matches involving Chinese clubs Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai Shenhua and Shanghai SIPG were postponed. The start of the knockout rounds was moved back to September.
– The Brazilian Football Confederation ordered all games due to be played in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo to take place without fans until further notice.
– The Uruguayan Football Association said it had suspended all professional games until further notice.
– The World Athletics Indoor Championships (Nanjing, March 13-15) were postponed. They will be held in the same city from March 19-21, 2021.
– The Paris and Barcelona marathons were postponed.
– The annual London marathon, due to take place on April 26, was postponed to Oct. 4.
– The race walking team championship scheduled for May 2-3 in Minsk was postponed.
– The CARIFTA Games scheduled for Hamilton, Bermuda on April 10-13 were postponed.
– The Kansas, Mt. SAC and Texas Relays in the United States scheduled for April were canceled.
– The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has suspended all BWF World Tour and other BWF-sanctioned tournaments from March 16 until April 12.
– The final qualification tournament in Taiwan for the Olympics was put back from April to June 17-21, while the March 22-26 qualification event in Arizona was postponed here
– Japan’s professional league postponed the start of the season.
– Euroleague Basketball suspended all 2019-20 EuroLeague, EuroCup and Euroleague Next Generation Tournament games.
BOXING, MIXED MARTIAL ARTS
– Nevada State Athletic Commission revokes all permits and programs of unarmed combat through March 25.
– The last two games of Australia’s three-match one-day series against New Zealand in Sydney and Hobart were canceled.
– Australia and New Zealand’s limited overs tours were postponed in the wake of new travel restrictions announced by the New Zealand government.
– The start of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament, scheduled for March 29, has been postponed until April 15.
– The cricket boards of India and South Africa agreed to reschedule the ongoing three-match one-day international series to a later date. The first match on March 12 was washed out.
– England’s two-match test series in Sri Lanka that was scheduled to start on March 19 has been postponed.
– The final two stages of the UAE Tour were canceled after two Italian participants tested positive.
– The Paris-Nice cycling race ended a day early after the eighth stage into Nice was canceled.
– The Giro d’Italia, scheduled to start in Budapest, Hungary on May 9, has been postponed.
– The year’s first major, the Masters, has been postponed from April 9-12 to “some later date”.
– The Players Championship in Florida was canceled after the first round. The next three PGA events have also been scrapped.
– The Honda LPGA Thailand event and the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore were canceled.
– The Indian Open, the Maybank Championship in Kuala Lumpur and the China Open have all been postponed.
– The All-Around World Cup (Stuttgart; March 20-22) was canceled.
– The International Handball Federation has postponed all competitions in March, April and June.
– Jokerit Helsinki of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) have withdrawn from the playoffs over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. [L8N2B70RE]
– The International Judo Federation canceled all Olympic qualification events until the end of April.
– Formula One canceled the Australian Grand Prix and postponed the next three races in Bahrain, Vietnam and China.
They hope to start the season in Europe at the end of May, putting the Dutch and Spanish races currently scheduled for May 3 and 10 in Zandvoort and Barcelona in doubt.
– Four rounds of the MotoGP season in Qatar, Thailand, Texas and Argentina will not go ahead as scheduled.
– NASCAR races at the Atlanta Motor Speedway (March 15) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (March 22) postponed.
– Round four of the World Rally Championship in Argentina that was scheduled for April 23-26 has been postponed.
– The World Rallycross Championship opener in Catalunya-Barcelona scheduled for April 18-19 has been postponed.
– Two World Rowing Cups and the European Olympic Qualification Regatta, all scheduled for Italy, were canceled here
– Four Six Nations matches were postponed.
– The Singapore and Hong Kong legs of the World Rugby Sevens Series were postponed from April to October.
– Rugby Europe announced a suspension of all its matches and tournaments from March 13-April 15.
– France’s rugby federation said on Friday that it was suspending all its competitions.
– The Premiership Rugby Cup final on Sunday (March 15) has been postponed.
– Super Rugby, rugby union club competition in southern hemisphere, is suspending its season after this weekend’s games after New Zealand government announced that returning travellers will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
– SailGP has canceled its San Francisco event scheduled for May 2-3.
The SportAccord World Sport and Business Summit due to take place in Lausanne, Switzerland, from April 19-24 has been canceled.
– The Professional Squash Association said World Tour and Challenger Tour events taking place up to and including the week commencing April 27 will not take place.
– The world championships in South Korea were pushed back provisionally from March to June.
– The ATP suspended its professional men’s tennis tour for six weeks after the Miami Open (March 23-April 5) was canceled.
– The Fed Cup finals (Budapest; April 14-19) were postponed.
– The BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells was canceled.
– The WTA said its events in Mexico and Colombia in March and April would not be held. The Xi’an Open and Kunming Open had already been canceled.
– The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has suspended all activity until April 30 including all events on the World Triathlon and Continental calendars.
– The International Ski Federation canceled the final races of the men’s Alpine skiing World Cup.
– The World Cup finals in Cortina were canceled along with the last three women’s races in Are.
– The women’s world ice hockey championships in Canada were canceled.
– The speed skating world championships in Seoul have been postponed until at least October.
– The March 16-22 world figure skating championships in Montreal were canceled.
– Curling world championships for men and mixed doubles in Scotland and Canada canceled, joining women’s worlds that were canceled on Thursday.
– Vail Resorts which operates 34 ski areas in 15 U.S. states and three countries closes all operations for at least a week.
– Fans urged to skip finish of famed Iditarod race in Alaska next week.
Compiled by Shrivathsa Sridhar, Rohith Nair, Hardik Vyas and Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, Frank Pingue in Toronto, Robert Muller in Prague and Gene Cherry in Raleigh; Editing by Ken Ferris, Daniel Wallis and Alistair Bell
The United States was eliminated from medal contention in the Olympic women’s rugby tournament, falling 21-12 to Great Britain in the quarterfinal round.
Tokyo marks the second straight Olympics in which the U.S. women suffered a quarterfinal exit. The team had shown substantial improvement in World Series competition in the five years since Rio – culminating in a runner-up finish to the 2018-19 season – making the Tokyo result much more of a disappointment. The U.S. was widely considered a medal contender in the second edition of rugby sevens at the Olympics.
Great Britain punched the U.S. in the mouth early with a pair of tries by Jasmine Joyce and Abby Brown within the first three minutes. Before the women’s Eagles could even touch the for any meaningful length of time, they trailed 14-0 with just 90 seconds left in the first half.
The U.S. got the ball to start the second half but could not advance it out of their own end. After a turnover, Joyce dusted Kristi Kirshe to score Great Britain’s third try and extend the lead to 21-0.
With 2:30 to go in the match, the U.S. marched down the field for a Kirshe score, but Nicole Heavirland missed the conversion, effectively dashing any hope of an American comeback.
Naya Tapper scored at the buzzer to make the scoreline more respectable, but Great Britain claimed the victory and a spot in the semifinals.
After a delay due to thunderstorms, the USA Eagles and Whitefish’s Nicole Heavirland faced Great Britain in the quarterfinals of the women’s rugby sevens tournament at the Tokyo Olympics where their medal hopes ended in a 21-12 loss.
Great Britain scored less than a minute into the match and had jumped out to a 14-0 lead by halftime while also preventing the U.S. from advancing more than halfway up the pitch. They scored again shortly after halftime to go up 21-0.
Midway through the second half, the U.S. made enough progress to move up the pitch and Kristi Kirshe scored a try with two and a half minutes left to make it a 21-5. On the final possession as time expired, Naya Tapper scored a try for the U.S. and Heavirland converted to make the final score 21-12.
Jasmine Joyce scored two tries for Great Britain, Abbie Brown added another and Holly Atchinson converted three.
Great Britain will advance to the semifinal round to face France. On the other side of the bracket, New Zealand and Fiji will face off in the other semifinal for seeding into the medal rounds with three of the pre-tournament favorites being upset earlier.
With the loss, the U.S. will drop into playing for fifth through eighth place and will not play for a medal. They finished fifth in the 2016 Olympics in Rio and had been hoping to better that finish.
So let’s have a look at this USA performance in Women’s Rugby Sevens.
Analysis by Alex Goff
We can first of all stipulate how much this mattered to the players. All you have to do is look at the scenes after the Eagles lost to Great Britain in the Quarterfinals to see how much it mattered. To see the Great Britain players console USA co-captain Abby Gustaitis showed so much about this great sport, including the camaraderie between opponents, and how much effort, physical and emotional, goes into it.
This is all true. But, there are also various things to pick apart in the performance. What I, as a longtime rugby analyst and observer, don’t get, is how you can leave even the attempt at your A game back home. We’ve seen the USA women’s team win tournaments. They’ve done it by being direct with their powerful runners, and finding space quickly. They’ve done it by playing as a team, with support runners right behind when a player goes on a break.
East-West, not North-South
In Tokyo, we didn’t see much of that. What we did see was players trying to run sideways around defenders while they were stuck in their own 22. The technical term for this kind of play is “dumb.” Only one player in World Rugby can consistently run sideways around defenders and that’s Carlin Isles, and even he does it only when he has a defender isolated and has space on the outside. Trying to run sideways around defenders who have teammates outside them is not smart.
The USA didn’t take a lot of risks. This is a mental thing you sometimes see players suffer from in big events—normally they’d make that final pass or at least work a loop move on the outside. Instead we saw the USA eschew testing opponents on the outside, and in a broader sense, passing slowly—no quick catch-and-pass moves to free up players in space. Instead they played it safe, which is the road to disaster.
Fiji won Bronze in part by throwing caution to the wind. Half-measures in the Olympics kills.
Was the USA fast enough? Well, as we said above, we didn’t see a lot of effort to free up the outside runners so maybe we’ll never know. Overall, the USA team speed looked lacking, and some players who have a reputation for being quick didn’t look it in Tokyo.
The USA is the best restart team in the world and their restarts were poor against pretty much everyone. The kicks were off target. The timing seemed off. In at least one instance, you had Jordan Gray on the left and Gustaitis on the right and the kick was straight ahead, meaning both players had to run extra to go for the ball. Neither got it.
But overall, receiving and kicking, the USA restarts needed to be a key source of possession, and it wasn’t.
Fitness and Trust
Fitness and Trust are two of the most important aspects of a successful rugby team. If you’re not sufficiently fit, then everything is more work. And if you don’t trust your teammate to be there for the pass, to make the tackle, or do the smart thing, you stop working with them and start thinking you have to carry more of the load.
Certainly we saw some players jump in as additional tacklers because (we’re guessing) they couldn’t be sure the first tackler would do the job. Certainly we saw some players not make a pass because they hesitated for some reason.
And certainly, when it comes to fitness, we saw some players who appeared enervated, lacking in lateral movement, and slow. All that stuff about running support lines or loop moves, or about being flat and static, is related to showing your fitness.
The Microcosm Moment
Against Great Britain, the USA was moving forward and set a ruck on the left side of the field about 35 meters from their own tryline. What followed then was four passes where every single player catching the ball was standing still. The result was that when poor Naya Tapper caught the last pass she was static and seven meters from her own tryline with a bunch of GB defenders in her face.
In old-school parlance, this is called a hospital pass. Somehow Tapper retained ball, but then Lauren Doyle decided to run sideways in front of a wall of defenders. She got caught, and when Tapper did the same thing she was penalized right in front of the posts. GB then scored.
This was horrible rugby. It was badly done on so many levels and it epitomized how the Eagles helped pressure defenses by putting themselves under more pressure.
Take away time and space? The USA did that all on their own.
We don’t know who decided that a slow wide game in your own 22 was the way to go. We don’t know who decided that a sidestep and going forward, or maybe a kick once in a while, wasn’t an option when getting the Eagles out of trouble. We don’t know who decided to make passes while everyone is standing still. We do know we saw footage of the team training, and they were playing a dynamic game in practice.
Did it matter to these players? For sure. Did they put years into it? Absolutely? Did they play their best as a group? No, obviously not. Restarts, support running, understanding how to get out of trouble, and working off the ball have all been better many times. And when it’s the Olympics, all of these things become that much more amplified.
Having said all of that, note that getting a medal at the Olympics is pretty tough. Consider that Great Britain, which took the best of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, didn’t medal. Australia, which won in 2016, didn’t medal. Canada, which took Bronze in Rio, didn’t medal. Neither did the USA, and maybe some of things we list above had something to do with it.