By Tim Stannard
Chicago Bears host Green Bay Packers as centenary NFL campaign kicks off
It's Thursday and football is back!
Football with a capital 'F'!
Take a step back soccer, and try not to fall over and cheat the ref in the process.
If the new NFL campaign is as bizarre as the off-season then the US of A is in for a treat with the past few months seeing Antonio Brown getting frostbite, Andrew Luck being booed for not wanting to be in constant pain, Peyton Manning wedded to V-neck sweaters, and one particular franchise reportedly looking at hiring Carli Lloyd as a kicker. Maybe the Cleveland Browns really will win the Super Bowl after all?
Or the Patriots. Again.
Speaking of teams with kicker issues, the Chicago Bears gets the NFL's 100th season underway by hosting the Green Bay Packers who are a thing of mystery with Aaron Rodgers and his mustache working under new head coach Matt LaFleur.
Serena in US Open semis as Gerard Pique watches Nadal power through
That NFL clash will be kicking off soon after Serena Williams has hopefully eased her way into the US Open final at Flushing Meadows.
The US legend who is still chasing a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam title can take a step closer that goal in a semifinal encounter by defeating Elina Svitolina, who is ranked three places higher in the seeds.
A victory could set up a Rogers Cup final rematch against Canada's Bianca Andreescu who is taking on Belinda Bencic in the night's second semifinal game. That final was won by Andreescu after Serena was forced to retire due to injury.
Wednesday night's action in the men's bracket saw Rafa Nadal moving through to the semifinals with a three-set victory over Argentinean rival, Diego Schwartzman with Shakira and Gerard Pique watching on. The Spaniard is now even closer to equalling the Grand Slam haul of 20 belonging to Roger Federer.
It's US of A all the way Thursday as an admittedly scratch basketball team is in action in the morning in the FIBA World Cup in China. The US is taking on Japan in a third group game, having already qualified for the next phase.
Dembele reveals desire to fight for place for Barcelona
Onto soccer then.
Not too much to report really.
The 2020 European Championship qualifiers are continuing on Thursday. If you really had nothing to do, then Romania v Spain could be an option, to see if Sergio Ramos really will be plonked on the bench to avoid the defensive carnage he is causing for club translating to country.
Ousmane Dembele has told L'Equipe why he turned down the chance to swap Barcelona for PSG this summer and all but scupper the Neymar deal. Quite simply, the French forward wanted to fight for his place. "Competition doesn't scare me," said Dembele. Good for you!
The Sports Burst live show will sift through all this sand and find the gold. Don't you worry.
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