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  • "Come Saturday night just before 11.00,a nation will rise in anticipation and will be ready to sing its heart out in a powerful rendition of the national anthem.
    A nation will expect,a dream to be realised
    The experience of Gerrard and Rooney,the exciting skills of Sturridge and Lallana.this current squad of diversity representing today's England,could have your local UKIP candidate scurrying for cover.
    The young and talented Raheem Sterling born in Kingston Jamaica while the promising Luke Shaw was born in Kingston upon Thames.These are England's finest.
    Italy have reached 6 World Cup Finals winning 4 while England have only won once.
    Many theories are abound on this subject,the latest being the number of foreign players in the league system. At the pinnacle of all tournaments,does it take more than just skill and talent,is the spirit of football ingrained in our nations soul.
    A few years ago,friends of mine living in Northern Italy, we're ardent fans of local towns team who we're playing at the highest level of the domestic league,out of the blue it was established that the President of the club was involved in a bribe scandal,the towns people massed and marched to his house,forcing him to flee.
    My own home town Bicester, had its community football club closed down there was not a whimper from the townspeople, or from the local authorities who buried their heads deep in the sand.
    Saturday night.adrenalin or lager fuelled,sing of God save the Queen,for the lady has sporting ties that are thoroughbred racehorses, then stare into the eyes of the players of Italy, singing of unity togetherness,with pride and passion.
    Let the young Lions roar!! But can they become legends."
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Now is the time for legends to be born

The iconic image of Paul Gascoigne with Bobby Robson at Italia 90 where he won the hearts of the nation

The iconic image of Paul Gascoigne with Bobby Robson at Italia 90 where he won the hearts of the nation

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by

Finally the FIFA World Cup 2014 is here.

The long wait is over and we can now sit back, watch the world’s top teams and the best players fight for football’s ultimate prize.

The World Cup finals are the place where legends are born, reputations cemented and the pretenders found out.

Every World Cup so far has produced ‘that’ star, ‘that’ player to take the tournament by the scruff of the neck and just own it.

When people look back at a certain World Cup finals they remember the star player just as much as the winning team.

I took a look at some previous finals, and thought of a player that I associate with that particular World Cup, for being just simply the star of the show.

Starting off in Mexico 86, there is only one man that this World Cup will be remembered for.

Love him or hate him you have to give it to him.

This was his World Cup, he owned it and owned every team he played against including England.

Not without controversy, Diego Maradona came away from Mexico as the star of the show and enhanced his reputation as possibly the greatest ever player.

Oxford Mail:

Gazza as Oxford United fans will remember him in a Yellows shirt as Middlesbrough celebrated promotion to the Premiership after a   4-1 win over the U’s at the Riverside at the end of the 1997-98 season

Maybe I’m just biased, but Italia 90 is all about one man for me.

He didn’t win the World Cup and didn’t even get to the final, but this star shone the brightest in my eyes.

Gazza made himself a world star and won the hearts of a nation.

He was immediately elevated to hero status by young kids to grown men.

Even now he is still in the hearts of so many.

France 98 was about one man who carried his country to glory.

Oxford Mail:

Zinedine Zidane spearheaded France’s charge to glory in the 1998 World Cup

Zinedine Zidane took all the pressure that came with playing for the host nation, and the expectation of being the team’s biggest star.

Brilliant throughout and with his brace in the final against Brazil, he cemented himself as one of the all-time greats.

The golden goal was introduced in the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, and it was the man with the golden touch who was the star of the show.

With eight goals to his name, including two in the final, it helped Brazil’s Ronaldo (the original one!) become the player of the tournament.

His unique haircut, so his son could recognize him on TV, was just one of the reasons that set him apart from the rest.

He is still the World Cup finals record goalscorer with 15.

Wouldn’t it be great if Brazil 2014 was the World Cup remembered for Steven Gerrard dominating the tournament like he does for Liverpool or for Wayne Rooney winning our hearts with outstanding performances just like Gazza did in Italia 90?

Let’s be honest, we would ultimately just like to remember Brazil 2014 for England winning the World Cup.

Every kid who has ever kicked a football has had that dream of scoring the winning goal in the World Cup final.

This summer in Rio, dreams will come true, and on football’s biggest stage a new legend will be born.

Let’s just hope that the legend is born with English blood running through his veins.

Come on England!

FOOTBALL: Mike Ford is relishing challenge after taking over as Banbury United boss

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 23rd May 2015

Former Oxford United captain Mike Ford is relishing a return to management with Banbury United, after spending more than a year out of the game.

YOUTH CRICKET: Valentin goes so close to six out of six

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 23rd May 2015

Valentin Guiraud came agonisingly close to the perfect over – only for a no ball to ruin a landmark moment.

ATHLETICS: Hannah England goes for glory in Westminster Mile

Oxford Mail: Hannah England  with captain British team

7:00am Saturday 23rd May 2015

Oxford City AC’s Hannah England will aim to regain the senior women’s title she won two years ago when she competes in tomorrow’s event.

WOMEN'S FOOTBALL: Oxford United Women's boss Les Taylor says they can upset odds

Oxford Mail: football generic

7:00am Saturday 23rd May 2015

Les Taylor is confident that his Oxford United Women side can upset title hopefuls Everton when they welcome the Merseysiders to Abingdon United's Northcourt Road in FA Women's Super League 2 on Sunday (2pm) writes MATTHEW BRUCE.

CRICKET: Faraz Amjad haul helps Oxford Spires in trophy

Oxford Mail: cricket generic

7:00am Saturday 23rd May 2015

Faraz Amjad claimed five wickets, including a hat-trick, as Oxford Spires beat Cheney School by 54 runs in the Oxon Under 14 ECB Trophy.

YOUTH CRICKET: Red-hot Coles fires fantastic century as Oxon crush Bucks

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Saturday 23rd May 2015

James Coles scored a sensational unbeaten 156 as Oxfordshire Under 12s cruised to victory over Buckinghamshire in a friendly at Abingdon Vale.

TABLE TENNIS: Karl Bushell edges Scott to claim top prize

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Saturday 23rd May 2015

Forum's Karl Bushell won the Oxford Mail Cup for the 15th time at the Oxford & District Table Tennis Association’s City Championships.

MARTIAL ARTS: Carl Davis in medal haul

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Saturday 23rd May 2015

Wantage Vale’s Carl Davis and Didcot’s Richard De-Winton helped England to a silver team medal in the board breaking event at the ITF European Championships in Andrea, Italy.

ANGLING: Wonder Chris Webb in big haul

7:00am Saturday 23rd May 2015

Chris Webb won the second round of the Darryl Simpson Memorial series match, sponsored by Top Tackle Oxford.

MOTORSPORT: Walkinshaw fired up for Silverstone challenge

Oxford Mail: Sean Walkinshaw will compete in European Formula 3 Open in 2014

7:00am Saturday 23rd May 2015

Oxfordshire racer Sean Walkinshaw is determined to continue his excellent form in the Blancpain Endurance Series when round two takes place at Silverstone this weekend.

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