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The sporting week ahead (02/06/13)


Ah, the beautiful game! The rhythm rocking the stands (maybe making them fall down), the bronzed flesh gyrating, the passing and the technique... But that's enough about England. Today's friendly against Brazil may give us a glimpse of what delights could be on offer at the World Cup next year, when the world's most football-crazy nation goes bonkers. Over the way in Argentina, England begin their rugby tour. Politics? No one seems to care. Perhaps that's because there's some other tour going on elsewhere.


The Lions touch down in Australia after their stopover for duty-free shopping in Hong Kong, and the serious talking begins in Perth.


Oscar Pistorius is back in court today. It's supposed to be simple piece of protocol, but given how extraordinary the bail hearing turned out, this could end up in complete chaos as well.


The Lions play their first warm-up match against proper opposition when they take on Western Force at an agreeable 11am UK time. The next generation of England footballers try to put the "dark ages" behind them as they play Italy in the European Under-21 Championship in Tel Aviv.


Cricket's Champions Trophy gets under way in Cardiff, though strangely the pipe-opener doesn't involve the hosts (that's England, not Wales). It may be a better exhibition of one-day skills, however, as India meet South Africa. In Rome, Usain Bolt puts on his spikes in earnest for the first time this year in the 100m at the Golden Gala – he knows all about that particular precious metal, and the weight of expectation won't sit heavily on him.


The football never ends, and for the Republic of Ireland nothing short of victory will do at home to the Faroes. Scotland, who won't be in Rio next year, play in Croatia. As the French Open tennis tries to catch up with the schedule after all the rain in Paris, it seems unfair on Rafa Nadal. He's only just got back to full fitness and they are making him play five times a day.


Still not talking about the Ashes, Mr Flower? Well, today England play Australia in their first match of the Champions Trophy. Nothing like the real thing, of course. But just make sure you don't bloody lose. The Lions take on some rather more ferocious Aussies in the shape of the Queensland Reds in Brisbane. England play their First Test in Argentina, New Zealand play host to France, Wales open their account in Japan and Scotland take on Samoa in Durban while South Africa entertain Italy. It's all getting a bit confusing.