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SI:AM | It’s Dynasty vs. Upstart in the Women’s Euro Final

Plus, the latest on Britney Griner’s detention in Russia.

Good morning, I’m Dan Gartland. Make some time this weekend to watch what should be an excellent soccer match.

In today’s SI:AM:

Previewing the Women’s Euro final

🏈 Is the NFL ready for more political attacks?

🏀 The U.S. government's latest attempt to bring Griner home

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Can England get over the hump?

Sunday’s UEFA Women’s European Championship will pit two of the most storied nations in soccer history—except one is the most decorated team in Euros history and the other hasn’t won anything.

With a win over France in the semifinals yesterday, Germany, winners of eight Euros (including one as West Germany), two World Cups and an Olympics, advanced to face England in the final, which has never won a major women’s soccer competition.

Since the first women’s Euro in 1984, Germany has won eight of the 12 tournaments, including six of the last seven. England, meanwhile, has just a pair of runner-up finishes—at the inaugural tournament and in 2009, losing to Germany.

But that’s history. England is on a roll now. The Lionesses haven’t lost a match since a friendly against Canada on April 13, 2021. They’ve won 11 straight (including on Feb. 23 against Germany, 3–1) and are unbeaten in their last 19. Their manager is on an even better run. Sarina Wiegman coached her native Netherlands to a Euro title in 2017, then took over as England’s coach in September 2021. She was tasked with taking an England team that had reached the semifinals of the last three major international tournaments and bringing it over the hump. As Avi Creditor writes, she’s on the verge of achieving that:

After guiding her native Netherlands to the title on home soil in 2017, Wiegman is a win away from taking another host nation to the promised land. Her all-time record as a manager at the Euros 11-0-0. Her teams have outscored opponents 33–4 combined. And more importantly, she has appeared to instill the unquantifiable “winner’s mentality” at her two stops, where crossing the final hurdles had previously been unachievable.

It won’t be easy, though. Germany’s captain, forward Alexandra Popp, is on a tear, having scored six goals in the team’s first five games. She’s the only player in Women’s Euro history to score in five straight games (only Michel Platini has done the same in the men’s tournament) and, with a goal in the final, would be the only player in tournament history to score more than six goals. She was excellent in yesterday’s win over France, scoring on a powerful volley and with a flawless header.

Popp is scoring goals left and right, and the German defense is refusing to concede them. It did not allow a single goal during the first four games of the tournament. The Germans finally let one hit the back of the net yesterday, but it was an own goal on a long shot by France’s Kadidiatou Diani that hit the post, bounced off the back of the German goalkeeper and into the net—not exactly a defensive collapse.

With both teams playing so well, and England playing on home soil, the final is shaping up to be a good one. You can catch it at noon ET on Sunday on ESPN.

The best of Sports Illustrated


When Donald Trump returns to the campaign trail during the midterm elections, is the NFL more prepared for his potential attacks on the league than it was five years ago? Conor Orr attempts to answer that question in today’s Daily Cover:

NFL players have become a vehicle for discussion, awareness and collective action, all of which took some teams by surprise six years ago. I remember talking to one coach who feared for players demonstrating during the national anthem, not because of any ideological difference, but because there was nothing they could do to protect the players if that team’s owner wanted them gone. The temperature in team facilities was higher than we understood at the time.

Trading for Andrew Benintendi probably means that the Yankees are going to dump Joey Gallo, Matt Martell writes. … Rohan Nadkarni explains why the Celtics shouldn’t give up Jaylen Brown to get Kevin Durant. … Albert Breer’s NFL training camp tour is underway. Here are his five observations from Browns camp. … Will Laws breaks down which MLB borderline contenders should buy and sell at the trade deadline.

Around the sports world

The White House has reportedly made a prisoner swap offer to Russia that would bring Britney Griner back to the United States. … Mike Trout downplayed the severity of his rare, chronic back condition. … Max Scherzer used MLB’s PitchCom system for the first time but thinks “it should be illegal” because stealing signs is part of the game. … Brandon Brown, the NASCAR driver whose win at Talladega sparked the “Let’s Go Brandon” meme, is having trouble finding sponsors and might not race again this year.

The top five...

… things I saw yesterday:

5. (regretfully) the Mets’ walk-off hit to beat the Yankees.

4. Richard Petty’s favorite sandwich.

3. Yet another terrible error by the Red Sox.

2. Gabriel Landeskog taking a leak at a bar with the Stanley Cup on the floor.

1. West Virginia’s JT Daniels making fun of Russell Wilson’s corny “let’s ride” video.


Dennis Martínez became the first foreign-born pitcher to throw a perfect game on this day in 1991. Who is the only other player born outside the United States to pitch a perfect game?

Yesterday’s SIQ: Which Yankees pitcher committed three errors on a single play on July 27, 1988?

Answer: Tommy John. And I’m absolutely thrilled that there is video evidence of this improbable achievement.

The play occurred in the top of the fourth inning of a game against the Brewers. With a runner on first and one out, Jeffrey Leonard hit a weak dribbler in front of the mound. John tried to field it with his bare hand but bobbled it—his first error. Leonard, who was hustling down the line, probably would have beaten any throw, but John fired the ball toward first, anyway. It was wide of Don Mattingly at first—the second error—and skittered into right field.

Dave Winfield picked up the ball and made a strong throw home to try to nail Jim Gantner, the runner who started the play on first. The throw looked like it would beat Gantner to the plate with plenty of time, but John cut it off and then made another wild throw for his third error in just a matter of seconds. Leonard scored when the ball went out of play.

The play was just a blip on an otherwise impressive night for John, who went eight strong innings and allowed three runs (two of them earned) in a Yankees win. 

From the Vault: July 28, 1975

Paul Warfield, Larry Csonka and Jim Kiick on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1975

Imagine the uproar if three members of a budding dynasty jumped ship together, not for a rival team but for a team in a pretty sketchy new league. That’s what happened to the Dolphins before the 1975 season when Larry Csonka, Paul Warfield and Jim Kiick signed with the Toronto Northmen of the fledgling World Football League.

The Northmen had a big problem, though. Canada didn’t want an American football team within its borders, potentially undermining the CFL, so the government refused to let the team play in Toronto. Instead, they moved to Memphis, where they were officially known as the Southmen. But the name didn’t catch on, so most people called them the Grizzlies. (That wasn’t the only WFL name that should be familiar to modern sports fans. The league also had the Charlotte Hornets, Houston Texans and Chicago Fire.)

The reason the trio of Dolphins went to the WFL was the same reason that players usually join an upstart league—money. According to an April 21, 1975, SI article, the Jacksonville franchise signed Packers linebacker Ted Hendricks for $350,000 when the NFL’s highest-paid player was making $340,000.

But WFL owners’ unchecked spending had the league on shaky ground. Its second season, in 1975, was in doubt from the start and, in retrospect, shouldn’t have gone forward. The league folded just 13 weeks into the planned 20-week season. The headline on SI’s story about the league’s folding got right to the point: “The Day the Money Ran Out.”

Southmen owner John Bassett was always realistic about the league’s chances, though, once telling a reporter, “Having a team in the WFL is kind of like having a blind date. Some guys end up marrying the girl they meet on a blind date, other guys go to the door, say they’re sick and leave. Who knows?”

Csonka, Warfield and Kiick went to the door and back to the NFL.

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