March 31st, 2011
12:51 PM ET

Can Ferrari find some trump cards?

Can Ferrari's Fernando Alonso vie for a win in Malaysia on April 10?
Can Ferrari's Fernando Alonso vie for a win in Malaysia on April 10?

The opening race of the Formula One season is always an interesting contest as it is the first time the teams on the grid show their hands in the poker game of speed and potential.

Pre-season testing, as fascinating as it is for F1 aficionados, often sees as much bluff and smokescreen from the competing constructors as it does commitment to putting new designs and innovations through their paces. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Motorsport
March 30th, 2011
03:40 PM ET

When cricket means more than just a match ...

Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar drives his team forward against rivals Pakistan.
Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar drives his team forward against rivals Pakistan.

Sometimes a sporting event is more than just a game. Sometimes the arena for competition is emblematic and symbolic of a greater reality, in which the twists and turns of a match carry a wider significance.

And so it was for the titanic clash between India and Pakistan in the semifinal of the cricket World Cup; a tie that needed no artificially created hype. Giants of the sport going head-to-head for a place in the final as two nations, both equally obsessed with the game, saw millions become engrossed with the drama unfolding on a circle of grass in Mohali. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Cricket
March 28th, 2011
11:54 AM ET

Will Neymar win the 2014 World Cup for Brazil?

Brazil's Neymar scored a brace to help his country beat Scotland 2-0 in London on Sunday.
Brazil's Neymar scored a brace to help his country beat Scotland 2-0 in London on Sunday.

As I watched Brazil easily dismantle Scotland in London on Sunday, two things became apparent. The first: Neymar will soon become one of the best players on the planet. The second: the Selecao will not win anything, much less the next World Cup played on home soil, unless they find a top striker.

Let's start with Neymar. I have followed his career ever since he made his senior debut for Santos as a 17-year-old in 2009. He burst onto the scene with a deadly combination of dazzling skills and explosive pace. His ability to take defenders on and leave them in his wake quickly had most scouts around the world salivating. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Football
March 25th, 2011
04:33 PM ET

Candy Reid's Miami Open diary

On a trip to the Miami Open, CNN's Candy Reid played football with top tennis stars in a charity game arranged by Novak Djokovic (right) in aid of Japan's quake and tsunami victims.
On a trip to the Miami Open, CNN's Candy Reid played football with top tennis stars in a charity game arranged by Novak Djokovic (right) in aid of Japan's quake and tsunami victims.

My trip to the Miami Open tennis tournament was supposed to be a 16-hour affair - but instead it turned into a two-day interview extravaganza with a massive cherry on top.

Monday March 21

4pm I’m in the office in Atlanta preparing for ‘World Sport’ which is an hour and a half away when I learn that some of the top male tennis players in the world are organizing a charity football match in Miami with all proceeds going to Japan. The match is on Thursday and I’m supposed to be leaving for Miami after my shift to interview Kim Clijsters before flying back late on Tuesday. But because of the special nature of the football game, I’ve been given the green light to cover it too, so I quickly organize child-care for my children, change my flight and extend my hotel booking.

FULL POST

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Filed under:  Tennis
March 23rd, 2011
10:07 AM ET

Will new tires decide the F1 title?

The 2011 season will see Formula One drivers attempt to master the softer Pirelli tires.
The 2011 season will see Formula One drivers attempt to master the softer Pirelli tires.

At around $5000 each, four new tires would seem to be rather costly. But in the multi-million dollar world of Formula One, that price makes a set of wheels one of the cheapest components on the car.

For some teams this year though, it could be the rubber that turns out to be the most expensive.

After four years of incredibly hard-wearing and reliable Bridgestone tires, the elite division of motorsport is turning to the Italian manufacturer Pirelli as its sole supplier.

The brief given to the company executives in Milan was simple, don’t build them to last.

FULL POST

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Filed under:  Motorsport
March 22nd, 2011
10:02 AM ET

Can Bin Hammam change FIFA for the better?

FIFA presidential candidate Mohammad Bin Hammam has been head of the Asian Football Confederation for 13 years.
FIFA presidential candidate Mohammad Bin Hammam has been head of the Asian Football Confederation for 13 years.

He wants to reform FIFA, make it "transparent"; bring back "trust" and "credibility" to world football's governing body. But after meeting presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam, it is hard to say if he can and will fulfill those headline-grabbing pledges.

There is no doubt he cuts an impressive figure. Often in traditional Arab robes, Bin Hammam wore a smart suit for our interview in Paris on Monday. Weary from a day of journalistic interrogation, the head of Asia’s Football Confederation (AFC) nonetheless greeted me warmly and was as charming as most successful sports administrators tend to be. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Football
March 21st, 2011
01:10 PM ET

Champions League predictions: Chelsea to triumph?

Can Carlo Ancelotti guide Chelsea to European glory?
Can Carlo Ancelotti guide Chelsea to European glory?

The draw for the quarterfinals of the European Champions League, according to many pundits, has set Barcelona on a collision course with arch-rivals Real Madrid for the final four. Some even suggested the winner of this explosive, if mooted, semifinal would go on to lift the European Cup at Wembley on May 28.

I would like to offer a different opinion.

While there is no doubt in my mind that Barca and Real are the world’s two best teams, but there are factors that lead me to believe the winner of the Champions League may actually come from the other side of the bracket. Yes, the side containing Inter Milan and Chelsea. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Football
March 18th, 2011
02:36 PM ET

Can sport help Japan recover from disaster?

Sport has already played a part in Japan's recovery, with people taking shelter in local gymnasiums.
Sport has already played a part in Japan's recovery, with people taking shelter in local gymnasiums.

The world of sport has done as much as it can to show its support for the victims of the Japanese earthquake.

Of course, there is only so much the sympathetic words of athletes like American tennis star Andy Roddick can do. Respectful gestures, like the wearing of black armbands or the staging of a minute’s silence, are symbolic for the victims but offer no solution.

But then athletes, like the rest of us, are in an impossible situation when responding to national tragedies.

FULL POST

March 14th, 2011
12:55 PM ET

Can Bayern Munich still save their season?

Dutch winger Arjen Robben could be the key to Bayern's hopes of silverware this season.
Dutch winger Arjen Robben could be the key to Bayern's hopes of silverware this season.

It’s do or die for Bayern Munich this week.

Effectively out of the Bundesliga title race and knocked out of the German Cup, the only realistic chance the Bavarian giants have of winning any silverware this season is by lifting the European Champions League at Wembley in May.

In their way are the defending champions, Inter Milan. Tough opponents, no doubt, but considering the first leg victory at the San Siro, the German club should start the second game as favorites to advance.

FULL POST

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Filed under:  Football
March 9th, 2011
08:47 AM ET

Was Wenger right – did the ref kill the game?

Arsene Wenger’s anguish was caused by Robin Van Persie’s sending-off against Barcelona.
Arsene Wenger’s anguish was caused by Robin Van Persie’s sending-off against Barcelona.

He's a sore loser but a superb manager, and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was right about one thing: Referee Massimo Busacca did "kill" Tuesday night’s Champions League Round of 16 match at the Camp Nou stadium.

Although Arsenal's conquerors Barcelona were magnificent - statistically, the better side by a long way - the point about football, in fact sport in general, is you just never know what will happen.

Wenger’s anguish was caused by Robin Van Persie’s sending-off. He was given a second yellow card for kicking the ball after the referee had blown his whistle. Only, it wasn’t a petulant act; Van Persie was shooting at goal just one second after the offside flag was raised.
FULL POST

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Filed under:  Football
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