On 10 July hosts Sweden play neighbours Denmark in Gothenburg in the opening match of the UEFA Women's Euro 2013 tournament. Women's football is most definitely on the up and received a further boost during the London Olympics. Euro 2013 promises some feisty games — with all five Nordic countries among the 12 to have qualified, there will be plenty of local pride at stake. When it comes to who will lift the trophy, reigning champions Germany must be favourites. England, 6-2 losing finalists four years ago, will consider they have a good chance of going one better this time. France and Sweden must also be in the reckoning.
As a sign of the growing popularity of the women's game, the last tournament, held in Finland in 2009, was the first to offer prize money — €1.4m was shared between the 12 finalists on that occasion and the sum should be larger this time, although it will still pale into insignificance in comparison to the riches on offer in the men's game. The team that lifts this season's Champions League trophy at Wembley on 25 May will pocket a sum not dissimilar to the €60m that last season's winners, Chelsea, took home. Wembley will also host a match between England and Scotland in August as part of the Football Association's 150th anniversary celebrations. Maybe the Scots fans will leave the goal posts behind this time.
Fans of the oval ball have much to look forward to in the coming year. In rugby union, the British & Irish Lions will be touring Australia from 1 June and will play three Tests against the Wallabies. Meanwhile, rugby league is coming home, with the World Cup set to take place in England and Wales from 26 October.
This year also sees the 100th staging of the Tour de France. Could Wiggo possibly do it again?
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