2021 sporting calendar: Euro 2020, Olympics and other big events to follow
After coronavirus played havoc with the 2020 sporting calendar, 2021 is rammed with big events to thrill and entertain.
Euro 2020, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, a Lions tour of South Africa, a Rugby League World Cup in England and cricket’s inaugural Hundred tournament are just some of the many prospective highlights over the next 12 months.
We just need to hope that the world can successfully suppress the virus to enable sports fans to enjoy what should be an unforgettable year, whether watching from home or in stadiums.
The Euros start on 11 June and consist of 51 matches in 12 cities across Europe, with the highlight of the group stage coming on Friday, 18 June when England host Scotland at Wembley.
Wales, semi-finalists in 2016, have also qualified and are in the same group as former winners Italy.
The Wimbledon Championships make a welcome return on 28 June after being cancelled this year, with the men’s final being played on 11 July, the same day as the Euro 2020 final at Wembley.
The following Sunday, Lewis Hamilton will seek to win a record-extending eighth British Formula 1 Grand Prix, golf’s 149th Open reaches its conclusion at Royal St George’s and Britain’s new cycling star Tao Geoghegan Hart will hope to be crowned Tour de France champion.
Just five days later Tokyo will stage the opening ceremony of the 32nd Olympic Games, where Great Britain’s athletes will seek to improve on the 67 medals – and 27 golds – they won at Rio 2016.
While the Olympics are in full swing, rugby union’s British and Irish Lions will stretch every sinew in their quest to beat world champions South Africa in a three-Test series for the first time since 1997.
The Paralympic Games get under way in Japan on 24 August with the British team seeking to build on their incredible success in Rio four years ago when they came home with 64 golds and 147 medals in total, as well as second place in the medal table.
And if that’s not enough sport for you, cricket fans are also in for a year of outstanding drama and some intriguing firsts.
After England return from a four-Test series in India, there’s the spills and thrills of the inaugural Hundred tournament, the first World Test Championship final at Lord’s, one-day and T20 matches against Sri Lanka and Pakistan and finally a five-Test home series against India.
Then in the winter, Eoin Morgan’s men travel to India looking to add the World T20 title to their 50-over triumph of 2019 before Joe Root’s Test side start their bid to regain the Ashes down under.
Throw in two thrilling team golf events in the Solheim Cup and the Ryder Cup, the London Marathon, the women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and the Rugby League World Cup, and the non-stop sporting action continues throughout the autumn.
Fifty big events in 2021
Dates and venues are subject to change, while some sports have yet to confirm fixtures for 2021. The BBC is not responsible for any changes to dates and fixtures that may be made.
14-26 January: Cricket – Sri Lanka v England two-Test series
5 Feb-8 March: Cricket – India v England four-Test series
6 Feb-20 March: Rugby Union – Six Nations opening weekend: England v Scotland; Italy v France – full tournament fixtures (women’s fixtures not announced yet)
7 February: American Football – Super Bowl in Tampa, Florida
8-21 February: Tennis – Australian Open in Melbourne
16-19 March: Horse racing – Cheltenham Festival
21 March: Formula 1 season starts – Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne – full season calendar
24-25 March: Football – World Cup qualifying starts: Belgium v Wales (24th); England v San Marino; Scotland v Israel; Italy v Northern Ireland (25th) – groups and key dates
8-11 April: Golf – Masters at Augusta National
10 April: Horse racing – Grand National at Aintree
17 April-3 May: Snooker – World Championship at the Crucible Theatre
25 April: Football – League Cup final at Wembley
8 May: Football – Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park
10-23 May: Aquatics – European Championships in Budapest, Hungary
15 May: Football – FA Cup final at Wembley
16 May: Football – Women’s Champions League final in Gothenburg
22 May: Football – Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley
22 May: Rugby Union – European Champions Cup final in Marseille
23 May: Formula 1 – Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo
23 May-6 June: Tennis – French Open in Paris
26 May: Football – Europa League final in Gdansk
29 May: Football – Champions League final in Istanbul
11 June-11 July: Football – Euro 2020 in various countries (final at Wembley) – tournament guide
26 Jun-18 July: Cycling – Tour de France
28 June-11 July: Tennis – Wimbledon
29 June, 1 & 4 July: Cricket – England v Sri Lanka ODIs
8, 10 & 13 July: Cricket – England v Pakistan ODIs
13: Athletics – Diamond League: Anniversary Games at London Stadium
15-18 July: Golf – The Open at Royal St George’s
16, 18 & 20 July: Cricket – England v Pakistan T20s
17 July: Rugby League – Challenge Cup final at Wembley
18 July: Formula 1 – British Grand Prix at Silverstone
23 July-8 Aug: Olympic Games in Tokyo
TBC Jul-Aug: Cricket – The Hundred*
24, 31 July & 7 Aug: Rugby Union – South Africa v British and Irish Lions Test series
4 Aug-14 Sept: Cricket – England v India five Test series – full tour schedule
19-22 August: Golf – Women’s British Open at Carnoustie
24 Aug-5 Sept: Paralympic Games in Tokyo
30 Aug-12 Sept: Tennis – US Open in New York
4-6 September: Golf – Solheim Cup in Toledo, Ohio
18 Sept-16 Oct: Rugby Union – Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand* – England to face France
24-26 Sept: Golf – Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin
27 Sept-1 Oct: Cricket – Bob Willis Trophy final at Lord’s
3 October: Athletics – London Marathon
9 October: Rugby League – Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford
Oct-Nov: Cricket – Men’s T20 World Cup in India*
23 Oct-27 Nov: Rugby League – World Cup in England (men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments) – England face Samoa in tournament opener
6, 13 & 20 November: Rugby Union – autumn internationals
15-16 November: Football – World Cup qualifying final group games: San Marino v England; Northern Ireland v Italy; Scotland v Denmark (15th); Wales v Belgium (16th)
Nov-Jan: Cricket – Australia v England five-Test Ashes series*
* = exact dates yet to be confirmed
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