The sporting week ahead (01/07/12)

Today

Can Spain record an unprecedented third straight trophy? This summer their approach has been even more stifling than ever, spinning a web of passes around their opponents until they suffocate them. However, if there is one man who has the power and gumption to cut through it is Mario Balotelli. The Italian does not wait to be mesmerised, he goes straight for the jugular. Witness his penalty against Joe Hart, or his destruction of Germany in the semi-final. Who better to unhinge the passing carousel?

Tomorrow

Wimbledon enters its second week, free from having to compete with the European Championship for attention. But with Rafael Nadal already out, some of the star quality might be missing from the men's singles. And if there is no home favourite to cheer, where will the public turn instead?

Tuesday

The long wait for the return of international football is over. England begin their campaign in the European Under-19 Championship in Estonia against Croatia. There are few more disheartening things than having hopes raised about the next generation of young English talent, before seeing them play the same witless, kick-and-chase game with which the senior team infuriate England fans every other summer.

Wednesday

Seven years ago, the most dramatic morning in cricket history ended with England beating Australia at Edgbaston by two runs. Ashes cricket proved so popular that there is now more of the old enemy, so it means less, but this might still – on its own terms – be a good one-day series. England and Australia are improving at 50-over cricket, and there are few more pleasurable sights than seeing Ian Bell ignore childish sledging and pick through Australian gaps.

Thursday

The Tour de France will be bubbling away all week long. Today it's the fifth stage, with the riders going from Rouen to Saint-Quentin. This is a fairly flat stage and it's just under 200 kilometres, which means, in the most relative terms, that it is not one of the hardest ones.

Friday

Sussex have probably been the best side in cricket's Friends Life t20 so far, and tonight they travel to the Rose Bowl in Southampton to face Hampshire. Luke Wright, still a master of the format, must be hoping that a big knock keeps him in contention for an England place.

Saturday

Qualifying for the British Grand Prix begins at Silverstone. With talk this week of a race being held in London, who knows how the grand old course will seek to reassert itself?

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam