The golden gates of football’s Olympus may yet swing open Sunday to admit Lionel Messi.
On a cool, wet, night long on discipline and distressingly short on artistry — an anti-Messi evening if there ever was one — the planet’s greatest player reached his first World Cup final, and Argentina’s first in 24 long years, 4-2 on penalties following a dire, defensive 0-0 draw through 120 bob-and-weave minutes against the Netherlands.
While this could still wind up being Messi’s tournament (although it’s doubtful German boss Joachim Low lost any sleep watching the dire goings-on at Arena Sao Paulo) Wednesday night belonged to others, to mere mortals. (Photos: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images; Victor R. Caivano/The Associated Press)
Mark Casse finally has his first Queen’s Plate victory.
Filly Lexie Lou captured the $1-million race Sunday at Woodbine Racetrack, giving the six-time Sovereign Award winner as Canada’s top trainer his first Plate win. The 53-year-old American came close in 2011, finishing second to Inglorious with Hippolytus, but admitted becoming emotional after Lexie Lou crossed the finish line 1 1/2-lengths ahead of runner-up Ami’s Holiday, a 9-1 longshot.
“My son, Colby, just started crying afterwards and to see it mean that much to him got me crying,” said Casse, a 34-year racing veteran. “There was a lot of crying … I think I would’ve been OK had Colby not started crying.
“When all you’ve done your entire life is been around race horses … I really don’t know anything else. I’ve been following the Queen’s Plate since I was a little boy and so to finally win it, I just pinch myself. I thought we’d win it sooner or later. I knew I wasn’t going to give up.” (Photos: Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press, Chris Young/The Canadian Press)
Brazil fans were decked out in their finest World Cup attire for Friday’s quarter-final against Colombia. Find updates, photos and analysis in Postmedia’s live blog. (Photos: Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images, Hassan Ammar/The Associated Press, Natacha Pisarenko/The Associated Press)
Remember that miserable Canadian winter we all suffered through, not so long ago? When watching the Winter Olympics was just about the only way to stay warm or, rather, feel warm and fuzzy about something, specifically — our athletes — and their medal haul, on the slopes, around the speed skating oval and in the hockey arena in Sochi?
Canada did what Canada does in winter sports, elbowing its way to the podium, waving the maple leaf with glee and giving us Hosers at home some new national heroes to celebrate. First among them, arguably, was Marie-Philip Poulin, a shy, polite, perfectly friendly French-Canadian, when not dressed in her hockey gear. On the ice Poulin was Clutch. She is an American Killer, and a scorer of two gold-medal sealing goals in Sochi — this after she scored the winning goal to beat the States in Vancouver four years before.
“Sidney Crosby is the best player in the world, in my opinion,” Louise Warren, Poulin’s college roommate at Boston University said after watching her pal dispatch of the U.S. “But I 100 per cent believe that [Poulin] is the best women’s hockey player in the world.”
A Canadian woman, and she is the best in the world. Poulin’s success in February stirred the patriotic spirit. But there are other rustlings out there. Canadian women are on the move. It is their time and, in England, at Wimbledon, it is Eugenie Bouchard’s time. (Photos: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images, Clive Brunskill/Getty Images, Scott Halleran/Getty Images)