The sporting week ahead (09/10/11)

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The Independent Online


Given the length of this World Cup, you would expect that every aspect of everything would have been exhaustively explored by now. While this may be true of dwarf-tossing and video cams, not much has been said about New Zealand failing to reach the World Cup final. That might change today when they face a mean Argentina side who are no pushovers, in or out of the scrum. Rugby logic says it probably won't go pear-shaped for the All Blacks, but Dan Carter's absence is a big blow and their confidence has been knocked.


Stuart Pearce's Under-21 side are in Norway for what promises to be a tricky European Championship qualifier even without the withdrawals through injury of Connor Wickham, Danny Rose and Joe Bennett. All eyes will again be on Mark Oxlade-Chamberlain.


With England already qualified and Scotland hoping for a miracle in Spain, the Republic of Ireland may steal afew headlines by sneaking a play-off place if they beat Armenia at theAviva Stadium.


Okay, it's a thin midweek. Those desperate for a sporting fix can cockan eye east for the World Artistic Gymnastic Championships, which continue in Tokyo, or the Rolex Masters Tennis in Shanghai. That's as good asit gets.


Spanish golfer Alvaro Quiros defends his Portuguese Masters title in Vilamoura. Expect the winner to once again come from the Iberian peninsular; in fact put a modest wager on it.


Can it really be a whole three weeks since England last played India in a one-day international? Time for another one, surely. Cue Hyderabad. We're off again – and not before time, we say...


If Wales beat France in today's first Rugby World Cup semi-final, there won't be so much a welcome in the hillsides as a day of mass hysteria. the whole country will go mad. And why not? More prosaically, there's the small matter of Liverpool v Manchester United, when Kenny Dalglish and Sir Alex Ferguson will be glaring at each other across the dug-outs. They share the sort of acrimony to make Clive Allen v Arsène Wenger seem a very metropolitan affair.