November 30th, 2010
06:24 PM ET

Which countries should host the World Cup?

The FIFA organization has come under scrutiny ahead of Thursday's World Cup vote.
The FIFA organization has come under scrutiny ahead of Thursday's World Cup vote.

In the last few days, I have been asked several times who I think FIFA is going to pick to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

My answer has always been the same. I have no clue. For 2018 it is tough to pick between the growing economic powerhouse of Russia, who have never hosted before, the "home of football" England who have not welcomed or won the event since 1966, the Iberian flair of Portugal and Spain or the pragmatic approach of Holland and Belgium.

For 2022 the selection is also complex. The U.S. you would think has a strong case after its inaugural hosting in 1994, but winning the vote is all about making friends and the fallout of the Wikileaks releases may have soured a few key relations at the wrong time.

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Filed under:  Football
November 30th, 2010
05:25 PM ET

Will Roger Federer rule in 2011?

Roger Federer won the season-ending ATP Tour World Finals at London's O2 Arena on Sunday.
Roger Federer won the season-ending ATP Tour World Finals at London's O2 Arena on Sunday.

After Wimbledon, several well-known commentators speculated that Roger Federer would never regain the number one ranking. At the time I thought it was way too early for such speculation and found such talk quite irritating. What must have Federer thought?

Arguably the classiest man in tennis - he’s given so much back to the game - treated like an also-ran after a relatively poor summer season (relative because most players would die for the results he had!)
How quick we are to write athletes off.

From his performance at the ATP World Tour Finals in London, I believe Federer could well take the 2011 season by storm. In a tournament which included the top 8 players in the world, the Swiss lost just one set throughout. That was in the final against Nadal, which in the end he won convincingly.

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Filed under:  Tennis
November 29th, 2010
10:31 PM ET

Can La Liga steal Premier League's Asian thunder?

Barcelona's David Villa, left, and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid are among La Liga's galaxy of stars. (AFP/Getty Images)
Barcelona's David Villa, left, and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid are among La Liga's galaxy of stars. (AFP/Getty Images)

Like countless football fans around the world, the highlight of my Monday was watching the Clasico: Barcelona versus Real Madrid, two of the biggest clubs in world football going head to head.

Unlike countless fans, I had to wait until 4 a.m. for kick-off ... because I live in Hong Kong. But it was worth it to see a thrilling match in which Barca crushed their Spanish title rivals 5-0.

I am the reason Real Madrid president Florentino Perez signs players like Zidane, Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo: I'm an Asian fan passionate about European football, eager to support a club in a far-off town as if it were my own, and happy to spend my money on all the shirts, shorts, balls and related merchandise that clubs mass-produce.

There's just one problem for Mr. Perez. My heart belongs to the English Premier League's Liverpool, and I'm not alone.

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Filed under:  Football
November 29th, 2010
06:14 PM ET

The heat will be on 'treacherous' LeBron

Lebron James incurred the wrath of Cleveland Cavaliers fans with his move to Miami Heat earlier this year.
Lebron James incurred the wrath of Cleveland Cavaliers fans with his move to Miami Heat earlier this year.

When Lebron James takes the court against the Cavaliers this week for his first game in Cleveland since his off-season move to the Miami Heat, he’ll likely face a level of abuse not seen in the NBA for decades.

His abdication as king of the Cavs was nothing short of treason as far as many Cleveland fans were concerned, and his departure, without delivering the championship he’d promised, was viewed as the ultimate act of desertion.

Of course, he’s not the first sportsman who’s become an instant pariah by moving to another club. In 2000, Luis Figo’s transfer to Real Madrid from Barcelona caused so much acrimony that the Portuguese footballer reportedly received death threats and had a severed pigs head thrown at him when he returned with Madrid to the Camp Nou for the "El Clasico" clash between the Spanish rivals.

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Filed under:  U.S. Sport
November 24th, 2010
11:43 AM ET

England's Ashes hopes could turn to dust

Opposing captains Andrew Strauss, left, and Ricky Ponting will be hoping their team lifts the Ashes urn.
Opposing captains Andrew Strauss, left, and Ricky Ponting will be hoping their team lifts the Ashes urn.

Having reported from Australia on every day of every Test match during England’s 5-0 whitewash in the last Ashes contest there, I believe Andrew Strauss and his men face a mammoth task to win this series.

Yes, England’s team is more settled than Australia’s and, yes, they have shown better recent form and a more coherent and consistent selection policy. However, no Ashes series was ever won with superior rhetoric before the action got under way.

If that sounds obvious, it’s worth transporting you back to November 2006, just 14 months after England won back the famous little Ashes urn in a scintillating contest on home soil -– and they had high hopes of winning “Down Under” for the first time in 20 years.

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Filed under:  Cricket
November 22nd, 2010
11:49 AM ET

Barca v Real 2010: The greatest of all Clasicos?

Cristiano Ronaldo (R) and Lionel Messi go head to head when Barcelona play Real Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo (R) and Lionel Messi go head to head when Barcelona play Real Madrid.

The best Clasico of all time? The upcoming clash between arch rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid comes at a time when both teams are at the top of their game and beating all sorts of records in Spain. We should be in for a treat!

I watched my first Clasico when I was seven or eight years old. I distinctly remember Diego Maradona running around with his small shorts and big mop of hair. Throughout the last three decades there have been so many great players to shine in this contest, which is more than a game between rivals, it is a battle between regions.

Will this be the best clasico of all time?

Monday’s match at the Camp Nou will see the top two footballers on the planet going head to head. Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal has 15 goals in 12 league games, the most scored by a Real Madrid player at this stage of the season since 1937. Not only is he scoring goals, he is making them. Just ask "El Pipita," Gonzalo Higuain. Most of his seven goals have come from the boots of CR7.

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Filed under:  Football
November 18th, 2010
07:17 PM ET

Bribery scandal shows that FIFA must change

The 74-year-old Sepp Blatter has been president of FIFA since 1998. (AFP/Getty Images)
The 74-year-old Sepp Blatter has been president of FIFA since 1998. (AFP/Getty Images)

FIFA’s guilty verdict against two of its top officials in the World Cup "cash for votes" scandal isn’t surprising. The case was reportedly so cut and dried that it would have been counter-productive for football's ruling body to be seen to protect its own. What is surprising, however, is that FIFA claims such righteous indignation that this kind of corruption exists within its ranks.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely, as they say, and FIFA has managed to carve itself a niche as the ultimate untouchable in the sporting world, even to the extent that it puts its own laws above those of actual governments by forbidding political interference in football matters under pain of expulsion for the guilty member country.

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Filed under:  Football
November 17th, 2010
01:29 PM ET

Are Tiger's woes a good thing for golf ?

Tiger Woods has had a turbulent 12 months following revelations about his personal life.
Tiger Woods has had a turbulent 12 months following revelations about his personal life.

It is just under a year since Tiger Woods crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant near his Florida home and set in chain a sequence of events which saw his tangled personal life become front-page news for week after week.

It was a public relations disaster and Woods went into a self-imposed exile, only returning to competitive golf for the Augusta Masters in April.

A fourth-place finish at the first major led many to predict that it would take only a matter of weeks for the 14-time major winner to regain his former preeminence and dominate his fellow professionals.

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November 15th, 2010
12:02 PM ET

Is Mancini the man to succeed at Manchester City?

Roberto Mancini's men failed to impress with another 0-0 draw against Birmingham City on Saturday.
Roberto Mancini's men failed to impress with another 0-0 draw against Birmingham City on Saturday.

Money can't buy you love, and it can't buy you trophies either, especially when you have the wrong man calling the shots.

Manchester City, who suffered another misfiring moment at the weekend, are about as likely to win silverware with Roberto Mancini sat in their dugout as pigs suddenly mastering the art of flight.

Boos greeted the players and the manager at the City of Manchester Stadium as the final whistle sounded following a 0-0 draw with Birmingham on Saturday.

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Filed under:  Football
November 15th, 2010
10:05 AM ET

Conversation with World Sport ... what changes would you make?

What changes would like to happen with World Sport?
What changes would like to happen with World Sport?

You may not know, but CNN's World Sport has been on the air since 1993, and despite being in our 18th we're as keen as we were on the first day of broadcast to deliver what you, our audience, want to see.

In our time on-air we've built a reputation for speaking to biggest names in the business (Rafael Nadal, Cristiano Ronaldo, Alex Ferguson, David Haye, Lionel Messi, Kobe Bryant, Roger Federer, Lewis Hamilton in 2010 alone), bringing you the latest from the planet's top events and giving insight and analysis to the stories that make the headlines.

Recently, the program has also started to increasingly reflect how sport news is being reflected and reacted to online. So now it's your chance to have your say about how we plan to shape the show in the future as we embark on a week of conversation with the World Sport audience.

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