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Readying for a classic, and gone cuppin' in Japan

It's been a dizzying couple weeks of action around the world: The Champions League and UEFA Cup group stages are coming to an end, the Latin American leagues are naming their champs, the Copa Sudamericana has crowned a new winner and the quarterfinal draw is complete for the inaugural CONCACAF Champions League.

And if it's mid-December, that can mean only one thing: It's FIFA Club World Cup time. Jump up and down! Wait, you're not jumping. What's the matter with you? Actually, I'm finding it hard to get excited myself, and it's not for lack of trying. Read my take on this year's FIFA's Folly on my Throw-Ins Blog.

Manchester United certainly could do without the Club World Cup this winter. The defending European champs are wrapping a busy week of defending their title, traveling to London this weekend for a showdown with a suddenly dangerous Tottenham Hotspur team and then jetting off to Japan next week. Hope Sir Alex Ferguson has a team's worth supply of Ambien.

Note: All rankings, records and statistics are through Dec. 10.

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