In My View: Underdogs went so close to having their big day

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Backing the underdog in a sporting contest more often than not ends in disappointment rather than elation.

That once again proved to be the case for myself last weekend as I watched the last day of play at Wimbledon and the World Cup final hoping for upsets.

Given the incredible effort Kevin Anderson put in to reach the men’s singles final at SW19, which included a highly impressive victory over tennis maestro Roger Federer, I was rooting for the big South African as he faced off against the ever-cool Novak Djokovic.

However, my hopes for an Anderson win were soon dashed when his Serbian opponent took an early lead which culminated in a straight sets win and Djokovic’s fourth Wimbledon and 13th Grand Slam title.

When I turned my attention to the World Cup showpiece between pre-tournament favourites France and the dark horse Croatia I had a genuine feeling the lesser-fancied side could produce a shock.

Sadly, a powerful performance by Les Blues, coupled with an unfortunate own goal and a dodgy penalty call, put paid to the aspirations of a country with a population of just over four million.

What those two finals reaffirmed to me, though, is the importance of sport in our lives. While neither match produced the result I’d wanted, I still enjoyed a great day’s viewing, along with millions of others around the world.

The fact Anderson was playing in his first Wimbledon final, and Croatia was also competing in its first World Cup final, underlines what can be achieved through hard work and determination. It’s of little wonder we as a global audience get so passionate — even if we are watching from the couch!