Flashscore's Best of 2024: Euros and Copa América headline tour de force year

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Flashscore's Best of 2024: Euros and Copa América headline tour de force year
What are you looking forward to in 2024?
What are you looking forward to in 2024?
Reuters, Flashscore
After another bumper year of sport in 2023, things are set to step up a notch in 2024 with four major football tournaments, an Olympics and much more to keep all of us sports fans on the edge of our seats across the 12 months. In this article, Flashscore's editorial team have picked out what they are most looking forward to of the lot.

Finley Crebolder: Euro 2024

It’s of course impossible to predict just how good a major tournament is going to be, but all the signs suggest that Euro 2024 is going to be one of the best. 

That’s largely because of where it’s being held, Germany. It’s a country that’s mad about football and has a number of excellent stadiums that will be full to the brim with passionate fans. Given the majority of recent major tournaments have either taken place during a pandemic or in a nation that’s difficult to get to and isn’t hugely interested in football, this is sure to be the best atmosphere we’ve seen at an international tournament for a good while.

What’s more, it’s only taking place in Germany, allowing the tournament to have its own distinctive identity linked to the country’s culture. Savour this, because we may not get it often in years to come with multi-nation bids spanning continents looking set to become the new normal.

Add in the fact that every major nation has qualified and they’re all looking fairly evenly matched, with France and England perhaps slightly stronger than the rest, and we should be in for a summer of football to remember. 

Joshua Donaldson: Tour de France

In an Olympic year, the world of road cycling does tend to centre around that road race event but before that, France will host its annual cycling tour - this year finishing in Nice rather than Paris to accommodate for the Olympic Games.

Jonas Vingegaard will be going for a three-peat in 2024 but will face stiff competition from his main rival and two-time champion Tadej Pogacar, who has been the main protagonist in the race in recent editions.

Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard will be aiming to win the Tour de France for a third successive time in 2024
AFP

Alongside them, Primoz Roglic will be gunning for the elusive yellow jersey having left Vingegaard’s Jumbo-Visma team to lead his own squad. Remco Evenepoel is likely to take to the start-line too in what will be a tasty clash of leaders. 

The parcour is also tailored to exciting racing with summit finishes on Pla D’Adet, Plateau de Beille and Isola 2000 alongside a final time trial around Nice that will keep the race intriguing until the closing skirmishes.

Harry Dunnett: Copa América 2024 

The Copa América is traditionally a tournament in which only South American nations compete for the ultimate prize. However, in recent editions, the lines have been blurred a bit - so much so that the host nation in 2024 is the USA.

The tournament which begins on the 20th of June and reaches its conclusion on the 14th of July comprises 16 teams - the 10 South American nations qualify automatically and six additional CONCACAF sides join them, including hosts USA.

World Champions and current Copa América holders Argentina will go into the tournament as favourites and Lionel Messi could lift one final international trophy before his illustrious career comes to an end.

Brazil go into any Copa América as one of the favourites by default but their form in World Cup qualifying has been alarming. In the forward areas, they are spoilt for choice but their ageing midfield and weak options at full-back limit their potential to be serious contenders.

In the most recent round of international fixtures, Uruguay defeated both Brazil and Argentina under their influential manager Marcelo Bielsa. Count them as a team not to be underestimated and this as a tournament not to be missed.

Pat Dempsey: Rugby at the Olympics

The Olympics is somewhat losing its glow, it feels. Barely any cities are bidding to host it and many of the traditional sports of the Games are being pushed to the fringes of the global consciousness. In an attempt to revive its appeal, the IOC is always introducing new sports.

Rugby sevens was introduced for the Rio Games in 2016, continued at Tokyo in 2021 and will be up for its third appearance in Paris next summer. Sevens is already a cool concept - it's basically a small-sided, bite-sized and action-packed version of rugby - but the Olympic appearances have been even more fun than the annual international circuit as it draws some big names in from the 15-aside version of the sport.

It doesn’t get much bigger than Antoine Dupont! The captain of France at the 2023 Rugby World Cup has decided to jump over to sevens in 2024 purely to push for an Olympic appearance in his capital city. Australia’s Michael Hooper has done the same.

11 of the spots available for the men's and women’s Olympic sevens tournament have been decided based predominantly on continental qualifiers but there is still one spot to fill on each side - to be decided in June.

Notably, South Africa and Great Britain have not qualified yet on the men’s side and if they do, they could draw more household names to the Paris Games. Don’t rule out more stars sticking their hands up at the last minute, either. If you haven’t gotten into rugby sevens, this could be the way.

Tolga Akdeniz: Fury vs Usyk

The boxing world hasn’t seen an undisputed heavyweight world champion since 1999, which is frankly, a farce. Lennox Lewis defeated Evander Holyfield nearly a quarter of a century ago to cement his status as one of the all-time greats, and in 2024, someone else will finally have their name etched into the history books.

Seeing the best fighters go head to head in boxing is unfortunately a rare occurrence, with negotiations often breaking down due to ego or the finances involved. However, with Saudi Arabia now becoming such an influential force in the sport, this is slowly becoming less of an issue, as they can just offer the type of money that one cannot turn down.

And that is exactly what happened. After over a year of ‘will they, won’t they’, Saudi Arabia got involved and offered huge sums of money to the unbeaten duo, Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, to get the fight on in the city of Riyadh on February 17th.

Fury will face Usyk in February
Profimedia

Fury, who currently owns the WBC belt, goes in as the favourite, as he is an exceptionally skilful fighter, coupled with the fact that he is far bigger and far heavier than his Ukrainian opponent. Usyk, who possesses the WBA, WBO and IBF belts, is technically supreme too, but the size difference could prove to be too much. 

Fury’s recent performance against MMA fighter Francis Ngannou - in which he was awarded a controversial split decision victory - has thrown the cat amongst the pigeons a bit though. ‘The Gypsy King’ looked far from his best, which may have given some encouragement to Usyk.

One thing is for sure, it promises to be a huge occasion, which the entirety of the sporting world will tune in to watch. History will be made in Riyadh.

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