Friday Myriad: World Cup by day, MMA by night

Going back to the chronological look at the weekend, after some …

HEADLINES

Rugby: NBC and Universal Sports will show the 2011 and 2015 World Cups. Huge step forward for the sport in this country. And the UK media will surely appreciate having another sport in which they can do stories about American ignorance — the soccer-ignorance stories are turning into more of a challenge these days.

Chess: Searching for Bobby Fischer is a terrific film. Exhuming Bobby Fischer merely prolongs the sad demise of a troubled genius. If you want a happier story, check this piece from the NYTimes‘ excellent chess blog on the post-chess careers of several phenoms who decided not to stick with it.

Poker: David Baker emerged from a final table that included Daniel Negreanu, John Juanda and Erik Seidel to win the 2-7 Draw Lowball world title. Sammy Farha took an Omaha world title. The limit hold-em world title will be decided by the time we all wake up to watch soccer Friday morning.

MMA: A few days after competing in USA Wrestling’s team trials for the upcoming world championships, 2008 Olympic wrestler Ben Askren went back to MMA and won Bellator’s welterweight tournament over veteran Dan Hornbuckle. (MMA Fighting Stances)

Soccer: World Cup are also on ESPN Deportes, Univision and ESPN3.com. DirecTV also has countless broadcasts and re-broadcasts in several languages.

FRIDAY

7:30 a.m.: World Cup soccer, Germany-Serbia. Germany routed hapless Australia 4-0 in their opener; Serbia lost 1-0 to Ghana and may need a miracle here or some help from Australia tomorrow. ESPN

*** 10 a.m.: World Cup soccer, USA-Slovenia. Can the U.S. men win a game they really should win? One that would go a long way toward seeing them through to the next round? Will soccer fans across the country collectively lose it? ESPN ***

2:30 p.m.: World Cup soccer, England-Algeria. The other two teams in the U.S. group are in action. Broadcast bumped from ESPN by U.S. Open golf. ESPN2

7 p.m. (highlights): Cycling, Tour de Suisse, seventh stage. The story so far: Fabian Cancellara showed his Swiss pride after learning of Switzerland’s staggering upset over Spain, but he abruptly fell out of contention in Thursday’s mountain stage (Velo News coverage). Lance Armstrong, gearing up for France (the Tour, not the underachieving soccer team), is in seventh place overall after a good showing Thursday. The race finishes with a time trial Sunday. Versus

SATURDAY

7:30 a.m.: World Cup soccer, Netherlands-Japan. Numbers wizards Nate Silver now has the Dutch as the second favorite in the tournament after Brazil. Japan also has three points from its first game. ESPN

10 a.m.: World Cup soccer, Ghana-Australia. No pressure or anything, but Ghana looks very much like the African team most likely to do something in this tournament. ESPN

2:30 p.m.: World Cup soccer, Cameroon-Denmark. This was an odd pick for network TV. ABC

2:30 p.m.: Rugby, Churchill Cup final, England Saxons (their B-team) vs. Canada, in Red Bull Arena. Universal Sports

5:15 p.m.: Rugby, Churchill Cup third place, USA vs. France B. Universal Sports

** 9 p.m.: MMA, The Ultimate Fighter season finale. Court McGee faces Kris McCray in the tournament final. The non-tournament co-main event has two intriguing light heavyweights who aren’t quite in contention: Matt Hamill, a deaf fighter whose rise is chronicled in a long-delayed film, and Keith Jardine, whose fighting stance suggests a drunk swatting away flies. But the most-anticipated fight might be Jamie “Crabman” Yager vs. Rich Attonito, who won a hotly contested race to oppose the brash loudmouth who has shown a tendency not to back up his words. The card also has reliably entertaining fighters Chris Leben (vs. Aaron Simpson) and Spencer “The King” Fisher (vs. Dennis Siver). Spike **

10 p.m.: Boxing, Super Six super middleweight tournament, Andre Ward vs. Allan Green. Check the USA TODAY preview. Ward is 1-0 in the tournament; Green replaced Jermain Taylor. Showtime

SUNDAY

7:30 a.m.: World Cup soccer, Slovakia-Paraguay. Each team drew its first game, though those games have been erased from my memory. Might still have nightmares about them. ESPN

10 a.m.: World Cup soccer, Italy-New Zealand. Might ask the family if there’s anything else we can do. ESPN

** 2:30 p.m.: World Cup soccer, Brazil-Ivory Coast. Ahhhhhh. Actual soccer might be played in this one. ABC **

4 p.m.: Beach volleyball, AVP Virginia Beach men’s final. Universal Sports

5 p.m. (same-day delay): Cycling, Tour de Suisse, final stage (time trial). Versus

9 p.m.: MMA, WEC returns with a lightweight main event between former champion Jamie Varner and up-and-coming fighter Kamal Shalorus, who has had an interesting journey from a small town in Iran to an international wrestling career for Britain to mixed martial arts. The card also has two bantamweights with gaudy records — Josh Grispi vs. LC Davis. Versus

OLYMPIC SPORTS

  • Modern pentathlon: Margaux Isaksen and Will Brady are in the World Cup Final.
  • Volleyball: The U.S. men beat Finland twice in World League play last weekend to get their record up to 2-2. Egypt visits this weekend in the Charlotte suburb of Concord, N.C.
  • Track and field: Basically an off week before the USA Championships.
  • More events: Canoe/kayak World Cup, badminton N.Y. Open

MISC

  • World Series of Poker: The most intriguing event of the weekend is the heads-up no-limit hold-em world championship, which starts with 256 and runs like a slow-moving basketball bracket. How to follow.
  • College World Series (NCAA baseball): ESPN, Saturday and Sunday.
  • Full soccer listings at Soccer America. (OK, it’s all World Cup right now.)
  • Selected weekend listings at USA TODAY
  • Tennis Channel: WTA Eastbourne, with Friday semis and Saturday final. Nothing Sunday; Wimbledon starts Monday.
  • Universal Sports: Swimming (Santa Clara Invitational) is on TV and online.
  • Cycling.TV: Live audio and highlights from Tour de Suisse

And for the final word on South African history this weekend, we check in with Little Steven. And Bono. And Pat Benatar. And Bob Dylan.

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