THE WEEK AHEAD: MAIN EVENTS

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TODAY

Cricket: Day three of the World Cup sees New Zealand take on tournament debutants Bangladesh at Chelmsford. Bangladesh are keen to become a Test- playing nation and victory against this calibre of opposition will go some way to seeing their dream achieved.

TOMORROW

Cricket: England entertain Kenya at Canterbury. After Friday's comprehensive defeat of reigning world champions Sri Lanka, the home side could not have wished for a better match on which to build a platform of success that could take them into the closing stages.

Racing: The three-day Goodwood meeting gets underway and features the Predominate Stakes, a major Derby trial, which features Dubai Millennium, the colt that could turn out to be the main Godolphin hope for the Epsom classic.

WEDNESDAY

Football: Villa Park stages the last European Cup-Winners' Cup final. Hot favourites Lazio, of Italy, face Spain's Real Mallorca, who put an end to Chelsea's hopes of retaining the trophy in the semi-finals. Will Gazza travel down to celebrate with his former team if they win? And will it be sparkling water?

Cricket: Sri Lanka, having suffered defeat at the hands of England in their opening match at Lord's, now face the powerful South Africans at Northampton. This is not how the champions would have planned their defence and a second defeat looks on the cards. India look to have a straightforward task against Zimbabwe at Leicester.

THURSDAY

Cricket: The World Cup comes to Wales where Australia, one of the tournament favourites, take on 20-1 shots New Zealand in Cardiff. Meanwhile, Pakistan play 500-1 outsiders Scotland at Chester-le-Street, County Durham.

Rugby Union: Newcastle, fresh from their Twickenham cup final disappointments against Wasps, visit Saracens and must win if they are to qualify for Europe next season. Saracens, already qualified, may have other thoughts.

FRIDAY

Cricket: Dublin gets a taste of the World Cup when the West Indies come to town to play Bangladesh. (Bangl O'Desh for the day)

Rugby League: An all-Yorkshire affair sees Halifax visit Challenge Cup winners Leeds. Both sides need the points to mount any sort of meaningful Super League challenge.

SATURDAY

Football: United will win the Cup! Manchester United play Newcastle United in the last FA Cup final to be played at Wembley this century. The Reds last took the trophy in 1996 when Eric Cantona's goal was enough to defeat Liverpool, while Newcastle have to look back 44 years to 1955 for their last FA Cup win, when they beat Manchester City 3-1. Last year's emphatic defeat by Arsenal still rankles but the eternally-optimistic Toon Army will be confident Ruud Gullit, Alan Shearer et al will give them something worth travelling to London for. Manchester United are still in pursuit of their holy grail, the European Cup. The bookmakers rightly make them odds-on favourites but this could be the match that foils their bid for immortality.

Cricket: England's toughest match yet as they take on tournament favourites South Africa in World Cup Group A at The Oval. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe face Sri Lanka at Worcester.

Rugby Union: Cornwall and Gloucester meet in the County final at Twickenham.

SUNDAY

Cricket: Headingley is the venue, Australia v Pakistan is the fixture. Both are well fancied, and this is one for the connoisseur. Stay away, rain! At Bristol, Kenya face a tough day against India.

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