Good Week/Bad Week
We pick out this week's winners and losers after an action-packed seven days of sport
By Raz Mirza & Steve Pass
Last Updated: 24/02/14 12:40pm
Another action-packed week of sport has come and gone which saw history being made by Great Britain's Winter Olympians in Sochi.
There were all-smiles in the England camp after they were placed in a relatively undemanding group for the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, while in golf, Jason Day and Victor Dubuisson played out an extraordinary final at the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship.
Meanwhile, Tim Sherwood saw Tottenham's chances of making progress in the Europa League and Premier League slowly diminishing following back-to-back defeats in the space of four days, while in darts, Phil Taylor suffered yet another setback in the Premier League.
We review the week below...
Team GB - Winter Olympics
After 17 days of global Winter Olympics sport, Sochi started cleaning up on Sunday. Great Britain were able to go home with their heads held high after winning four medals, matching the nation's best ever haul from the Chamonix Games in 1924.
A bronze from Jenny Jones in women's snowboard slopestyle set the ball rolling. She made history by becoming the first Briton to win a medal in a snow sport. Then came gold as Lizzy Yarnold soared down an ice chute above Rosa Khutor to set two track records on her way to victory in the women's skeleton on day seven. She became Britain's fourth consecutive women's skeleton medallist after Alex Coomber, Shelley Rudman and Amy Williams to continue the extraordinary success in the sport.
The nation went curling crazy as Eve Muirhead's team bounced back from semi-final disappointment against Canada to take bronze and that was followed by a silver medal for David Murdoch's all-Scottish rink, who led his young team to a silver medal.
Spare a thought for short track speed skater, Elise Christie, who was thrown out of all three of her disciplines for various infractions. "The problem with short track is that the referees are always different and there is no kind of consistency because every referee has a different opinion," she said.
England - Euro 2016 qualifying draw
Straightforward, favourable and easy were some of the words used to describe England's 2016 European Championship qualifying draw. The road to France should not prove too rocky for Roy Hodgson's men who were drawn in Group E alongside Switzerland, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania and San Marino.
England will kick off their campaign with perhaps their toughest fixture - away in Switzerland on Monday September 8 and Hodgson will get the chance of a reunion with the team he took to the World Cup back in 1994. Next up will be an October double header with San Marino at Wembley on the 9th before a trip to Estonia three days later. The calendar year will end with a home clash with Slovenia on November 15 before hosting Lithuania on March 27, 2015. The closing stretch will see September fixtures in San Marino and at home with Switzerland before finishing off in October 2015 with Estonia at home and Lithuania away.
"From an emotional, sentimental and nostalgic point of view, Switzerland was always something special," said Hodgson. "Even if they are a difficult opponent, it's going to be such a pleasure for me to bring an England team there and see so many old friends and re-visit the country, which I do on a fairly regular basis anyway, but it's always something that gives me great pleasure."
Day and Dubuisson
Australia's Jason Day held his nerve to win on the 23rd hole of an epic WGC Accenture Match Play Championship final after young Frenchman Victor Dubuisson almost pulled off a comeback at Dove Mountain.
Dubuisson produce two extraordinary recovery shots to keep the contest alive. He was three down at the turn before launching a fightback and when Day three-putted the 18th from 65 feet, Dubuisson saved par from a greenside bunker to keep his hopes alive of winning a WGC title at his first attempt. The real drama was yet to come as Dubuisson seemingly wasted all his hard work when his approach to the first extra hole bounded through the green and came to rest underneath a cactus. However, the 23-year-old somehow conjured a pitch onto the green and to within four feet of the hole, from where he holed for par after Day had saved his from a greenside bunker.
The 26-year-old was left smiling and shaking his head in disbelief as his opponent repeated the trick on the second play-off hole. US Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson wrote on Twitter: "Two of the greatest up-and/downs I have ever seen Victor!!!". The next two holes were halved before Day finally sealed victory with a birdie on the fifth extra hole after an excellent pitch to three feet. Dubuisson's performance all-but cemented his Ryder Cup place after a sparkling week for the Frenchman in Arizona. "If he was 90 per cent before the week he is 99.9 per cent now," admitted European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley.
Chris Froome got his 2014 season off to an ideal start by winning the Tour of Oman for a second consecutive season.
The Tour de France winner took control of the race with victory in Saturday's stage five, and safely came through Sunday's sixth and final stage which finished with a sprint finish in Muscat."At the end it was really tricky because we knew we had to be in a good position and not risk any significant time splits, but we achieved what we set out to achieve," he told the official website of Team Sky. "To get the overall victory was a nice reward for everyone. "I still feel like I have got a lot of work to do - a lot of room for improvement - but at this stage in the season, I'm where I need to be. This has been a really good experience for me as it is the start of my build up to the Tour de France."
It was a bad week for Spurs as Tim Sherwood's side suffered blows to both their domestic and European aspirations.
Firstly, the Premier League side lost 1-0 to Dnipro on Thursday in their Europa League last 32 first-leg tie in the Ukraine. Yevhen Konoplyanka's second-half penalty proved the difference between the sides as former Spurs boss Juande Ramos, now in charge of Dnipro, gained revenge on his previous employers.
The hosts were awarded a spot-kick on 80 minutes when Jan Vertonghen was penalised for pulling back striker Matheus just inside the 18-yard box and Konoplyanka, who was chased by both Spurs and Liverpool on transfer deadline day, gave Brad Friedel no chance as his penalty went in off the upright to ensure his side will arrive at White Hart Lane for Thursday's second leg with a slender advantage.
Following the defeat in Europe, Spurs then went down by the same scoreline to Norwich in the Premier League on Sunday which dealt a big blow to their top-four hopes. Robert Snodgrass scored the winning goal to boost the Canaries hopes of beating the drop in a below-par performance from Spurs, who struggled to find their rhythm early on.
Fourth-placed Liverpool posted a thrilling 4-3 win over Swansea earlier on Sunday to open up a six-point gap on Spurs and Sherwood knows there can now be no more slip-ups ahead of a massive week for the club, with the return leg against Dnipro followed by the visit of struggling Cardiff in the Premier League.
Peter Wright posted his first win over the faltering Taylor in Belfast on Thursday, triumphing 7-4 to send the 16-time world champion crashing to a third successive Premier League defeat. The 53-year-old was whitewashed 7-0 by reigning world champion Michael van Gerwen on the opening night in Liverpool and subsequently slumped to a 7-3 defeat to Adrian Lewis in week two in Bournemouth.
The Stoke thrower, who has lost weight recently and changed his darts, was again on the back foot from the off in Belfast. Wright took out double 16 to open up, and although Taylor hit the same bed from 86 to level up, Wright went back in front with another 32 out-shot.
Taylor levelled again but Wright took out double 16 for a 10-darter to re-establish his lead before he won the crucial sixth to secure a two-leg cushion after Taylor failed to take out 55 with the darts. After Taylor could not find bull for a 124 finish in the seventh leg, Wright stepped up to make it 5-2 with double eight and eventually closed match out with tops to leave yet more questions about whether the 53-year-old 'Power' can regain his place at the top of the darts' tree. Week four from Glasgow is live on Sky Sports on Thursday.
Australian cricket team
After the elation of winning the first Test in Centurion, the Australians were brought crashing back down to earth as South Africa levelled the series with an emphatic victory in Port Elizabeth. The hosts secured their 231-run win inside four days following a batting collapse by the tourists.
Set 448 to win, Australia were bowled out for 216 late on the fourth evening after South Africa claimed the extra half-hour. Dale Steyn finished with figures of 4-55 from 20 overs of swing bowling of the highest order and received good support from fellow seamer Vernon Philander (2-39).
Australia openers Chris Rogers and David Warner put on 126 but nobody else made double figures as nine wickets went down after tea, which Australia had gone in to on 141-1, as the hosts lived up to their world number one Test ranking. The Proteas' victory sets up a mouth-watering final Test at Newlands, which starts on Saturday and is live on Sky Sports.
Former champion Poulter crashed out in the first round at the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship to Rickie Fowler. In the first match out at Dove Mountain, the Ryder Cup star suffered his third first-round exit in four years in the competition.
Fowler led from the fourth hole and survived a Poulter fightback to win 2&1 and leave the Englishman fuming after yet another swift exit from the course.
A disappointed Poulter said: "I gave him three holes and you just cannot do that. I'm just really disappointed because I didn't put him under any pressure at all. I intend to get my backside out of here as quickly as I can. It's frustrating as I couldn't have worked any harder than I have in the last five weeks. I feel it's close, but it's not there."