The sporting week ahead (04/09/11)

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The Independent Online


Those straining to write off the World Athletics Championships as a lacklustre British show may have to put away their poison pens if Mo Farah adds 5,000m gold to his 10,000m silver and Phillips Idowu comes good in the triple jump. Should make for an interesting night's tweeting if he does.


It's international fooball week yet more people will probably watch Charlton v Sheffield Wednesday in League One than England's Under-21 clash with Israel at Barnsley.


What sort of crowd will be at Wembley for the visit of Wales? All over Europe the signs are that international football is spectacularly losing its way. Poor attendances, missing players, drab play. If Fifa ever manage to clean up their own act, they might think about addressing the problem. Meanwhile, those clinging on to summer will travel to the Rose Bowl for England's second one-day game with India.


Now for some real football: Leyton Orient v Dagenham in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. You can almost smell the jellied eels from here.


Anyone suffering from post-world championships withdrawal symptoms can tune into the Diamond League meet in Zurich. No Usain Bolt, however.


Failure will not be tolerated; defeat is not an option. If you think Martin Johnson is under pressure going into the 2011 Rugby World Cup, spare a thought for his New Zealand counterpart, Graham Henry. The All Blacks' record in this tournament has been so woeful that anothermeltdown, this time at home, would probably see him run into the sea. They have to win it; simple as that. Today Tonga will feel the force oftheir ambition.


England and Scotland both open their campaigns with bankable games against Argentina and Romania respectively. History suggests Argentina could cause an upset although their build-up has been poor and logic suggests they will be in a scrap with Scotland for second place. Elsewhere, Arsène Wenger's revamped Arsenal should be good enough to concede fewer than eight to Swansea at the Emirates. At Monza, qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix continues.