FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off big sports weekend
France will be the center of the sports world this weekend as one major international tournament kicks off there and another draws to a close.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup begins on Friday in France with the USA and host nation entering the competition as co-favorites to win soccer’s greatest prize.
Meanwhile, the French Open wraps up at Roland Garros in Paris, with the women’s final being played on Saturday and the men’s final taking center stage on Sunday.
The weekend will also feature must-watch games from the NBA Finals and NHL Stanley Cup Final, which could see one of the teams lift the “greatest trophy in all of sports.”
Here’s your guide to the weekend’s biggest sports events:
FIFA Women’s World Cup
The biggest women’s soccer tournament in the world kicks off on Friday as the FIFA Women’s World Cup begins. Twenty-four of the best national teams in the world have journeyed to France to vie for soccer’s greatest prize. The month-long tournament culminates with the championship game on July 7 in Lyon.
In the first match, host nation France, a top favorite to win the tournament, will take on South Korea on Friday in Paris. There will be a trio of matches on Saturday and on Sunday featuring some of the top teams in the field. Germany is the highlight of the Saturday matches, and England will anchor the Sunday slate.
Fans of the US Women’s National Team will have to wait until the afternoon of Tuesday, June 11, to see Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe take the field. In their tournament opener, the Americans will play Thailand, a 2000-1 longshot.
Friday: France vs South Korea at 3 pm ET on FOX Sports 1
Saturday: Germany vs China at 9 am ET on FOX Sports 1
Spain vs South Africa at 12 pm ET on FOX
Norway vs Nigeria at 3 pm ET on FOX
Sunday: Australia vs Italy at 7 am ET on FOX Sports 1
Brazil vs Jamaica at 9:30 am ET on FOX Sports 1
England vs Scotland at 12 pm ET on FOX
International viewers, please check your local listings.
NBA Finals: Toronto Raptors vs Golden State Warriors
Appearing in their fifth consecutive NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors find themselves in an unfamiliar position — behind in the series.
Friday night’s Game 4 against the Toronto Raptors will be the Warriors’ 26th NBA Finals game in the past five seasons, but only the 3rd game in that time that they’ve been trailing in a series.
The Raptors have looked the better team through the first three games of the 2019 Finals. But the Warriors have been playing significantly short of full strength. Kevin Durant, who was NBA Finals MVP for the past two seasons, has been sidelined for the entire series thus far with a calf injury.
The Warriors were also forced to play Game 3 without perennial All-Star Klay Thompson, who was nursing a strained hamstring.
The team’s All-Star center, DeMarcus Cousins, has been playing limited minutes as he continues to recover from a torn quadricep muscle. And Golden State also lost bench stalwart Kevon Looney to a cartilage fracture during Game 2 of the series.
Toronto’s tenacious attack has been keyed by the play of Kawhi Leonard, who is averaging 29 points per game in the series. But the Warriors haven’t been Leonard’s only court opponents this week. On Monday, Leonard filed a lawsuit against sneaker giant Nike, alleging that the company fraudulently copyrighted a personal logo that Leonard himself designed.
Regardless of Friday’s outcome, the teams will meet again for Game 5 Monday in Toronto.
Watch it: Game 4, Friday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC; International viewers, check your local listings.
The world’s best tennis players resume their tournament at the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris on Saturday.
So far, the men’s half of the draw has gone according to plan, with the semifinal field comprised of the top 4 seeded players. However, the women’s side has fallen into chaos, with the 8th seed being the highest remaining woman in the final four.
In the women’s semifinals, eighth-seeded Australian Ashleigh Barty defeated 17-year old American Amanda Anisimova in three sets. Anisimova’s semifinal run made her the youngest American player to make it this deep in a grand slam since Venus Williams in 1997.
In the other semifinal, unseeded Czech Marketa Vondrousova defeated the 26-seeded Brit Johanna Konta in straight sets. Both Vondrousova and Barty will be making their first ever grand slam final appearance when they meet for the championship on Saturday.
In the men’s draw, familiar faces abound. Clay court maestro Rafael Nadal advanced to the final with a win over frequent foe Roger Federer in the semis to reach his 12th career final at Roland Garros. Nadal has never lost a French Open final and will have a chance to win his 18th career grand slam on Sunday.
Nadal, however, must wait to see who his opponent will be. Top-seeded Serb Novak Djokovic is locked in a duel with fourth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem in a semi-final match that has been halted by rainy weather. They will resume play Saturday morning, tied one set apiece.
Saturday: Men’s semifinal at 5 am ET on Tennis Channel
Women’s Final at 9 am ET on NBC
Sunday: Men’s Final at 9 am ET on NBC
International viewers, please check your local listings.
The final leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown will run Saturday evening in Elmont, New York, at the Belmont Stakes.
This year’s edition won’t have the excitement of a possible Triple Crown winner, as Kentucky Derby champion Country House has remained out of both the Preakness Stakes and now the Belmont Stakes in order to receive treatment for a possible infection.
Preakness Stakes winner War of Will will be in the field looking to become the first horse since 2005 to win both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes after failing to win the Kentucky Derby.
But War of Will is not currently the favorite to win the Belmont Stakes. That honor goes to Tacitus, who is a 9-5 favorite, just edging out War of Will’s 2-1 odds.
Watch it: Saturday at 6:50 pm ET on NBC; International viewers, check your local listings.
NHL Stanley Cup Final: Boston vs St. Louis
With a win against the Boston Bruins on Sunday night in Game 6 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final, the St. Louis Blues could hoist the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history.
It’s been 49 years since the Blues’ last Stanley Cup Final appearance in 1970, when the St. Louis Blues were defeated by the — wait for it — Boston Bruins!
But it appears fate might be on the Blues’ side this year. St. Louis was the worst team in the NHL on New Year’s Day, then made a miraculous turnaround that has carried the team all the way to the verge of its first championship. St. Louis benefitted from an apparent missed call in Game 5, scoring the eventual game winning goal mere seconds after a Blues player appeared to trip a Bruins player.
The Blues will have the added advantage of playing Sunday’s potential clincher on their home ice in front of a raucous crowd. At the last game in St. Louis, “Mad Men” actor Jon Hamm, “The Office” star Jenna Fischer, and Kansas CIty Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes turned out to cheer the home team to a victory.
Watch it: Game 6, Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC; International viewers, check your local listings
World Surf League waves goodbye to dirty oceans
The World Surf League is marking World Oceans Day with a new mantra: #StopTrashingWaves.
The WSL announced earlier this week that the league was undertaking a series of sustainability commitments unparalleled in global professional sports. It committed to becoming completely carbon neutral by the end of 2019, eliminating single-serve plastics at WSL events, and leaving each tour stop better than it was found.
World Oceans Day was established by the United Nations and The Ocean Project to celebrate the ocean, its importance in our world, and how we can protect it.
Watch it: World Oceans Day is Saturday, but we should watch our consumption of single-use plastics and conserve water every day.