FRANCE: In the four years since the last Women's World Cup in Canada, the competition and talent among female footballers has gotten stronger - and more global. The stage will be as big as ever when this year's tournament kicks off Jun 7 in Paris.In our latest ESPN FC Rank, we polled our experts to gauge which players will stand out in France.25. SHANICE VAN DE SANDENAnother from the Lyon dynasty, Shanice van de Sanden is best known for two things: her blazing speed and her trademark bright red lipstick. One of the fastest players in the women's game, Van de Sanden is an absolute handful to deal with on the right wing for opposing full-backs due to her pace and skill. A player who debuted for the Oranje at just 16, she was a key member of the Netherlands' victorious European Championship side in 2017 and will be appearing in her second World Cup this summer. Van de Sanden, now 26, has 15 goals in 63 caps for the Netherlands, but it is her ability to get in behind … [Read more...] about Who is the best player at the Women’s World Cup?
Virtual horse racing
ZURICH: RB Salzburg have dominated the Austrian Bundesliga for more than 10 years but something unsuual happened this season.They were nine points clear at the top and cruising towards yet another title when their lead was slashed to four points overnight, reigniting the title race. How did it happen?The league had introduced a new format, part of which involved halving teams' points totals at the two-thirds stage in a bid to make the title race more interesting.Since receiving the financial backing of energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull in 2005, Salzburg have won the title 10 times, including the last six in a row.Their success has had a snowball effect as the resulting participation in European competition has brought in extra revenue, further increasing the financial gap over rivals such as Rapid Vienna, Austria Vienna and Sturm Graz.Austria has not been alone in having a predictable - some would say boring - championship virtually every season.All over Europe, many domestic … [Read more...] about European leagues need more competition to set pulses racing