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The major sporting events in 2017

AAP logoAAP 10/01/2017

The Ashes at home. Confederations Cup soccer in Russia. And world championships for swimming in Budapest and athletics in London. It shapes as another big sporting year.

WARNER RETURNS TO SCENE OF HIS LOWEST EBB

England will host the Champions Trophy in June. Don't feel bad if you have no idea what that is; administrators announced in 2014 the one-day cricket tournament would be scrapped only to later change their tune. Australia failed to win a game during the most recent edition in 2013. That tournament, Mickey Arthur's final gig as coach, will long be remembered for David Warner clocking Joe Root at Birmingham's Walkabout bar. Warner will return as vice-captain to the city, where Australia's campaign starts against New Zealand on June 2.

TO RUSSIA WITH ANGE

Ange Postecoglou will lead the Socceroos back onto the world stage in June for the Confederations Cup. The Russia-hosted FIFA tournament features each continental champion, World Cup winners Germany and the hosts. The Cup should be all upside for Australia - pitted against world champions Germany and South American title-holders Chile, anything north of defeat will be rightfully lauded. Rounding out Australia's group are the yet-to-be-confirmed African champions. While qualification for the 2018 World Cup is not assured, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic, Tomi Juric, Brad Smith and the next-generation Socceroos will be better for a warm-up Russian run-out this year.

DOLPHINS HUNGARY TO MAKE A SPLASH AT BUDAPEST

Some of Australia's biggest names will be out to bounce back from a disappointing Rio Olympics at the world swimming titles in Budapest in July. Australia wanted to earn the world No.1 title for the first time since 2001 in Brazil. Instead they walked away with three gold to be a distant second to perennial powerhouse the United States. Sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell, dual world backstroke champions Emily Seebohm, Mitch Larkin and 100m freestyle hot favourite Cameron McEvoy all left Rio without individual gold - a trend they hope to snap after dominating the 2015 world titles.

LONDON CALLING FOR PEARSON AND CO

Having finally overcome a string of serious wrist, calf and hamstring injuries, self-coached Sally Pearson is targeting her first major global championships in four years. The hurdling superstar is aiming to return to the scene of her greatest triumph - London's Olympic stadium. Australia unearthed some promising young talent at the Rio Games including walker Dane Bird-Smith, sprinter Ella Nelson, long jumper Brooke Stratton and pole vaulter Kurtis Marschall. The August 4-13 titles shape as the last hurrah for all-time track greats Usain Bolt and Mo Farah.

SWANSONG FOR VETERAN KANGAROOS AT WORLD CUP?

The Kangaroos appear unstoppable now that former Queensland master coach Mal Meninga has applied his Midas touch, crushing New Zealand 34-8 to reclaim the Four Nations trophy - and the world No.1 ranking. But will the 2017 World Cup be a swan song for the all-conquering Kangaroos? Another World Cup triumph may be enough to prompt the likes of Australian veterans Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith to bow out of representative football. Firstly Australia must overcome a vengeful New Zealand and an England outfit hoping to warm to icy coach Wayne Bennett. The tournament - to be co-hosted by Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea - will run from October 27 to December 2.

AUSSIES AFTER ASHES REDEMPTION

The summer of 2017-18 will reveal how successful the regeneration of Australia's Test team has been, with the new-look XI out to reclaim the urn. England have recently been rocked 4-0 by India but that's unlikely to give Steve Smith much added confidence, given his side are fully expected to suffer the same fate on the sub-continent in February-March. There will be something new about Test cricket's oldest rivalry, with England agreeing to make the second of five Tests a day-night affair in Adelaide. Smith, one of few members of the XI left from an unsuccessful tour of England in 2015, will be keen to make a big statement in his first Ashes series as skipper.

CAN PORTE JOIN CADEL ON THE TOUR PODIUM?

Six years after Cadel Evans made Tour de France history with his win, the BMC team are again throwing their full support behind an Australian leader. Richie Porte had a breakthrough fifth place in 2016 and but for a puncture, the Tasmanian could have finished as high as second. The Tour is his main objective in 2017 and at 31, he is now in his peak years as a general classification contender. The Australian Orica-Scott team are also becoming serious overall contenders in the Grand Tours, with British twins Adam and Simon Yates to spearhead their Tour de France campaign.

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