Philadelphia Eagles win over Patriots gives hope to the ‘underdog’

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles celebrates after winning Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. (AFP)
Updated 06 February 2018
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Philadelphia Eagles win over Patriots gives hope to the ‘underdog’

LONDON: The dust will just about be settling in Philadelphia today, but the talk surrounding this year’s Super Bowl will rumble on for years to come.
It will go down as a classic.
The underdog Eagles upsetting the most successful NFL franchise of this century was a fitting finale that actually lived up to the enormous hype for once.
It was an absorbing battle between two teams who knew how the game should be played — there was no attritional, defensive quagmire in the middle of the field, rather it was an end-to-end spectacle of blistering offensive play.
That the Eagles came out on top after a final, desperate Hail Mary attempt from this season’s MVP Tom Brady will have come as a relief for the neutrals.
The Patriots were chasing their sixth title since 2000, having forged one of the strongest dynasties in American sport history.
But after the confetti had fallen and the fanfare was over, there could be no doubt the best team had won.
The Philly team assembled by Doug Pederson this year have been electric all season, mostly powered to their 13-3 regular season record by the right hand of Carson Wentz.
But the romance of their victory was made all the sweeter by the fact back-up quarterback and NFL journeyman Nick Foles was just as sublime in the pocket, coming in for the final five games and being named this year’s Super Bowl MVP.


He had been with the Eagles before, pulling off a remarkable season in 2013 but never fulfilling the potential he briefly showed that winter. Out of favor, his nondescript stints at the Rams and the Chiefs pointed to his suggestions of calling time on his footballing career being well-founded.
And then on a balmy December day in Los Angeles, Wentz tore his ACL and the rest, as they say, is history. Foles had gone from the quarterback wilderness to Super Bowl champion within two months.
Meanwhile, his opposite number last night — the iconic Brady — has dusted himself off and vowed to play on into his 41st year.
It is testament to the determination and commitment of the greatest quarterback of all time that he has the stamina to go again for another season.
Knowing “TB12”, he will probably come back stronger and go one better in next year’s showpiece.
And while much of the talk before Sunday’s game was about a victory heralding the confirmation of a “Patriots legacy”, a “Brady/Bill Belichick dynasty” — that air of invincibility they have built will most certainly have taken a dent. Yet, losing on Sunday will not detract from what Brady and Belichick have achieved — funded by the deep pockets of Patriots owner Robert Kraft — in a league system designed to stop one team dominating. It definitely will not be replicated any time soon.
This New England crop will go down as one of the best rosters assembled, Brady is already assured of a Hall of Fame spot and Belichick’s greatness will never be questioned.


But a first Super Bowl victory for the Eagles is good news for American Football and good for US sport in general. In the American sporting world of ever-increasing wealth, clinical corporatism and brand promotion-over-fan connection, it proves that upsets can still happen and an unfancied, unloved band of underdogs can get one over the big guns — with style and panache too. It’s a result that will live long in the memory.


Australia crush England to reach World Cup semifinals

Updated 25 June 2019
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Australia crush England to reach World Cup semifinals

  • Finch made exactly 100 in a total of 285-7 before England slumped to 221 all out with 32 balls left
  • The recalled Behrendorff took 5-44, while Starc became the leading bowler at the tournament with 19 scalps thanks to a haul of 4-43

LONDON: Australia captain Aaron Finch hit a hundred before left-arm quicks Jason Behrendorff and Mitchell Starc shared nine wickets as the reigning champions thumped England by 64 runs at Lord’s on Tuesday to book their place in the semifinals of the World Cup.
Finch made exactly 100 in a total of 285-7 before England slumped to 221 all out with 32 balls left.
The recalled Behrendorff took 5-44 — his first five-wicket haul in a one-day international — while Starc became the leading bowler at the tournament with 19 scalps thanks to a haul of 4-43.
For England, who entered the showpiece event as the top-ranked side in ODI cricket, this was a second straight defeat after their shock 20-run loss to Sri Lanka.
The host nation, bidding to win a first World Cup title, can still qualify for the semifinals but they are likely to need to beat at least one of India and New Zealand in their remaining two group games.
“There are teams that you have confidence playing against but I have had plenty of low scores against England as well,” said man-of-the-match Finch.
“It was nipping around first thing. We were as tight as we could be and then took advantage of any width.”
England’s reply saw them lose a wicket off just the second ball of their chase, with the struggling James Vince — only playing because Jason Roy was out with a hamstring injury — bowled by a Behrendorff inswinger.
Starc then took two wickets in nine balls.
Test skipper Joe Root was plumb lbw to an inswinger for eight before England captain Eoin Morgan (four) fell into a hooking trap when a top-edge was held safely by Pat Cummins at fine leg.
Australia, who had lost 10 of their previous 11 ODIS against England, were in complete charge with the hosts now 26-3.
England have surged to the top of the ODI rankings on the back of aggressive run-scoring but the worry for Morgan’s men is that too many of their top-order appear to know only one way to bat. Jonny Bairstow, for example, fell next to a careless hook off Behrendorff before Stokes and Jos Buttler (25) repaired some of the damage with a fifth-wicket stand of 71.
Buttler was well caught by Usman Khawaja, running round and staying just inside the deep square leg boundary off Marcus Stoinis.
Stokes defiantly hit Glenn Maxwell for two sixes in three balls but, shortly before completing his fifty, the all-rounder pulled up with a calf injury.
Starc was brought back to take a key wicket and duly obliged with a thunderbolt yorker, his 18th wicket of the tournament, that ended Stokes’s 115-ball innings of 89, including eight fours and two sixes.
Stokes’s dismissal left England 177-6 in the 37th over and effectively ended the contest. Starc ended the match when he dismissed Adil Rashid.
Earlier Finch, dropped on 15, and fellow opener David Warner (53) came through some testing early overs to share a stand of 123 as too many of England’s pacemen, with the exception of Chris Woakes, dropped short.
The skipper’s exit sparked a late flurry of wickets but Australia had enough runs on the board.
Both Warner, the World Cup’s leading run-scorer, and Steve Smith were booed as they entered and exited the field following their recent return from year-long bans for ball-tampering.
Finch went to his century thanks to a misfield by Woakes but next ball he miscued a hook off Jofra Archer and Woakes held the catch at fine leg.
The skipper faced 116 balls, with 11 fours and two sixes in his second century of this World Cup following his 153 against Sri Lanka.