The sporting week ahead (31/07/11)

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The Independent Online


Grands prix are coming thick and fast right now. A bit like the drivers, then? No, take that bit out, it's a cheap shot. What we meant was that just one week after Nürburgring the circus is back, this time in Budapest for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Are Red Bull cracking up? This could be the day to find out after last week's surprise win for Lewis Hamilton in Germany. Closer to home, a bumper crowd is guaranteed for the British round of the World Superbike Championship at Silverstone. Eugene Laverty and Leon Haslam lead Britain's challenge.


Forget tours to Malaysia and that sort of malarkey. Morecambe v Man Utd XI sounds like the sort of pre-season friendly we all used to appreciate, although those hoping for a glimpse of Wayne Rooney or Rio Ferdinand may be disappointed.


Shamrock Rovers, bidding to become Ireland's first-ever representatives in the Champions' League play-off phase, must overturn a 1-0 first-leg defeat by FC Copenhagen, who were quarter-finalists last season.


What can I say? We're hardly into August and already Scottish football fans are getting depressed. Rangers face the real prospect of being dumped out of the Champions' League by Malmo, which should make Ally McCoist even more grumpy.


This is the wrong week to start chanting "There's only one team in Split", because the Europa League draw reveals that there are actually two, both of whom are up against English teams. Stoke appear to have the harder job at Hajduk while Fulham entertain RNK.


After all the hype of the past week, you must be trembling with expectation at the thought that, yes, there are now just 356 days to go before the start of the London Olympics. So it's time to go down to Crystal Palace for the London Grand Prix and see Asafa Powell, Mo Farah et al in action.


Winter is officially here. Not only does the Championship kick off but there's rugby union too, with England taking on Wales at Twickenham and Ireland travelling to Murrayfield to play Scotland. Cue several weeks of pre-World Cup friendlies before the real action starts.