Eight international sports tou...
Soccer

Eight international sports tournaments for your 2019 diary

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

11:55 31 Dec 2018

There's no doubt that 2018 was a memorable year for sport on these shores and further afield.

There was a FIFA World Cup that lived up to expectation, some classic encounters in the boxing ranks, a hurling Championship and format that threw up excitement from the darling buds of May to the finale and a memorable year for Ireland's rugby team.

2019 has a lot for us to look forward to and in terms of purely international tournaments, there are a couple of continental football competitions and of course, a big one for the Irish when it comes to the oval ball...

RUGBY

Six Nations

February 1st to March 16th

It's hard to know exactly what to expect from the 2019 Six Nations, given that there's something bigger coming up later in the year.

Will teams want to show their hands fully as they build up to a tilt at World Cup glory? Ireland will be aiming to defend a Grand Slam crown and Championship title memorably sealed on St Patrick's Day 2018 at Twickenham and this coming year, the fixtures see England (February 2nd) and France (March 10th) make the trip to Dublin.

Speaking of the World Cup...

Rugby World Cup

September 20th to November 2nd

It's the one we've been building up to for four years since Argentina put paid to Ireland's hopes.

This could very well be the year an Irish side makes it beyond the quarter-final stage of the World Cup (hopefully we haven't jinxed it) and maybe even further!

And the form guide from the last year makes a compelling case. We've seen a Six Nations Grand Slam achieved and then a landmark second win over the All Blacks in the space of two years.

That means there is pressure on Joe Schmidt and co's shoulders but they've shown a capacity to carry that burden outside of World Cup tournaments.

Scotland, hosts Japan, Samoa and Russia await Ireland in the pool and should any shocks be avoided it will be either a reunion with South Africa or New Zealand awaits for a fabled place in the last-four.

Keep an eye on @offtheballrugby on Twitter and Facebook for updates ahead of the two tournament.

SOCCER

FIFA Women's World Cup

June 7th to July 7th

France are the host nation as the 24 leading teams in the world battle it out for glory.

As ever, USA and Germany will be among the favourites, while France, England and Netherlands will also be expected to contend in the latter stages for a place in the final that takes place at Lyon's stadium - the home city of Olympique Lyonnais' women's team who are reigning UEFA Women's Champions League title holders.

Keep an eye on @OffTheBenchOTB on Twitter for updates on the World Cup and other major events in women's sport in Ireland and globally.

Copa America

June 14th to July 7th

Brazil host South America's premiere national team competition and it's an intriguing one, especially for Argentina.

Lionel Messi has currently been absent from Argentina duty since the disappointing 2018 World Cup and their results of late have been reasonably good without him.

But there is a chance for one last swansong at international level with the carrot of trying to win a first tournament with Argentina after three losing finals between 2014 and 2016.

Africa Cup of Nations

June 15th to July 13th

It wouldn't be a Africa Cup of Nations without some administrative issues with the host federation and 2019 is no different, with reigning champions Cameroon stripped of their hosting rights due to delays in their preparations.

A new host will be picked in early January for a tournament that will take place in the summer, unlike its usual January-to-February spot on the calendar. That means there won't be any whingeing from Premier League managers about losing players to the tournament mid-season.

And while they may not be hosting anymore, Cameroon will still be an interesting prospect given that they are now managed by Dutch legends Clarence Seedorf and his assistant Patrick Kluivert.

The tournament is also now a 24-team competition like the European Championships.

Keep an eye on @OffTheBall, @OffTheBallAM and @teamthirtythree on our social channels for all things soccer in 2019 and there'll be more from The Keith Andrews Show. 

MULTI-SPORTS

Special Olympics Summer Games

March 14th to 21st

The Special Olympics summer games return with 20 overall sporting categories including track and field, football, golf and swimming.

Four years ago, the summer edition took place in Los Angeles and this year, the athletes will gather in Abu Dhabi during the Spring, with the Games moved to that point in the year due to the summer temperatures that can be expected in the United Arab Emirates.

Follow Special Olympics Ireland on Twitter for the latest on Team Ireland's preparations.

BASKETBALL

FIBA World Cup

August 31st to September 15th

It's a World Cup year in basketball with China hosting the 32-team tournament. Reigning champions USA will of course be favourites with the only question being which NBA stars end up on their roster for the tournament.

CRICKET

ICC Cricket World Cup

May 30th to July 14th

Unfortunately, Ireland are not involved in the tournament which takes place in England and Wales from early summer to July.

A loss to Afghanistan in Zimbabwe in March 2019 ended any hopes of Irish involvement.


Read more about

2019 Africa Cup Of Nations Basketball Copa America Cricket Date FIBA World Cup Irish Rugby Rugby World Cup Six Nations Soccer Sport

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