Race for third place tight as USA, Russia dominate Global Cup

Blast from the past? Are we back to the days of USA-Russia superpower sport rivalry (pic from the dramatic 1972 Olympics Basketb

The last third of the sporting year has started, there are 30 major international tournaments still to play for, including the Athletics World Championships

in October, and the race for third place in the Global Cup, the ranking of the world’s best sporting nations, is wide open. Six countries, from Germany currently third to Great Britain in eighth place, are separated by only 244 points, with a seventh, Japan in ninth place, another 113 points behind.

Ahead of them, the USA and Russia seem to be all but secure of the top two places in the ranking. The USA slipped somewhat in August, after a record-breaking month of July, but is already too far ahead for any of its competitors to catch up. Russia, currently in second place, could still theoretically be caught by one of its pursuers, but making up the gap, which currently stands at 632 points over third-placed Germany, seems very hard indeed.
It’s back to a two-power world - like in 2015 and the years before - for the top two places, after three consecutive years, from 2016 to 2018, when France was always runner-up after the USA. Behind the top two nations however, the contest is very close. By winning the month of August, Germany moved up three places into third, leapfrogging Italy, which is having a strong year, and France. China too is moving up the gears, and gained two places in August, rising to sixth place (coincidentally, the same position in which the Asian giant finished the Global Cup in the last three years).
There is still plenty of competitive sport to be enjoyed before the end of the year, but the focus will be on the main point-scoring tournaments still to come, the ones that will be more likely to have a decisive influence on the Global Cup’s final standings:
-         Athletics World Championships (end September-October): the winner could earn between 950 and 1,200 points, depending on the results in the various events, with a top-five placement worth from 350 to about 500 points; the USA won the last edition in 2017, followed by Kenya and Great Britain
-         Men’s Basketball World Championships (September): the winner will net 490 points, with the other top-4 places worth respectively 392, 294 and 245 points; the last edition was played in 2014 and won by the USA, followed by Serbia and France
-         Judo World Championships (September): the winner could bag between 350 and 400 points, depending on the results in the various events, the runner-up about 120; last year’s winner was Japan, followed by France and South Korea
-         Men’s Rugby Union World Cup (September): 400 points on offer for the winner, with the other top-4 places worth respectively 320, 240 and 200 points; the title four years ago went to New Zealand, which would benefit greatly from another top result in the race for world’s sportiest nation, the Per Capita Cup, in which it’s currently fifth
-         Women’s Handball World Championships (December): 180 points to the winner, 144 to the losing finalist; two year ago, the winner was France, which beat Norway in the final
-         Artistic Gymnastics World Championships (October): between 250 and 300 points for the winner, and 150-180 for the runner-up; the winner last year was the USA, followed by Russia and China.
Follow GSN on Facebook and Twitter and keep up with the latest in the quest for the world’s greatest sporting nation!