Darren Paul has the definitive guide to alternative summer sports viewing before the football season kicks off again.
Domestic cup competitions all over Europe have concluded and the Champions League final is all that separates fans and the end of the European football season. What could you watch to fill the void through the long, hot summer months?
The Argentine top two tiers are amongst the most entertaining leagues in the world. The Argentine second division is incredibly closely contested this season and the top flight is full of the most talented young South American players vying for their chance to grace the top leagues in Europe.
The stands are full of noise and colour with some of the most passionate fans on the planet. On the field are some of the most technically gifted players, playing fast-paced, physical football “in the English style” but with more flair. It is a perfect mixture of South American style with British style full blooded contests.
A big bonus (especially for the more hipster fan) is you get to see young talents before they make the leap to Europe. Bruno Zucculini, Rodrigo De Paul, Oscar Romero and Ramiro Funes Mori are just some of the talented young players to have come out of Argentina in the last few years.
Check out the goals of Luciano Vietto at Racing Club, if you’re not convinced.
Australian Rules Football
18 a side. Cricket pitch. Rugby ball. 8 goalposts. Spot fights. Mullets. You name it, Aussie rules has it. The AFL is in full swing, showcasing incredible athletes (running, jumping, kicking and punching around a cricket pitch for 2 hours) playing an incredibly physically demanding sport. Aussie Rules is a sport of hard men (and women) who have no qualms about protecting themselves with their fists, but, match that with slick team passing moves, amazing marks (catches) and great goals which get the heart pumping.
This season has seen a number of games going to the final buzzer (and beyond) to find a winner. The Hawthorn Hawks and the Sydney Swans had a tremendous battle in round 10, in one of the games of the season so far, check out the highlights below.
Canadian Football League
Do you like American Football but can’t wait until September? Do you like American Football but want to see an extra man per side, running before the snap, massive fields, a point for missing a field goal but kicking it far enough that the ball clears the end zone? Well, the CFL might just be for you!
The CFL is a much more athletic league than the NFL, where the players tend to be smaller and faster. The league doesn’t faff about with a down wasted on a no gain run, so only play 3 downs as opposed to the NFL 4. This combined with the larger field size leads to a pass focused league, which is played at a fast, exciting pace.
The CFL is a smaller league, with just 9 teams and dedicated fan bases, akin more to the lower leagues than the top flight. But on the field, the product is exciting, high tempo and full of drama. Just look at the heroics of the Eastern Conference finals.
CFL Game of the season right here! Can’t for opening day. #cfl
EF: RECAP: Ottawa 35, Edmonton 23 – CFL.ca @CFL https://t.co/m4kis0j7zg
— Darren Paul (@AuedsTouch) May 27, 2017
All three sports are available easily and cheaply (or free) online. The Argentine football is easily accessed live via Youtube, all CFL games get put on youtube (with breaks edited out THANK YOU UPLOADER) and the AFL is on BT Sports with comprehensive highlights loaded to youtube within hours of the games finishing.
As well as these three fantastic sports that will fill the void of any sports fan there are the traditional summer events; Cricket, Le Mans 24 hours, Wimbledon and much more to see you through as we await the return of European football and basketball.
Check back to http://www.splitfocussports.com all summer long for coverage on the biggest events of the summer.