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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 Headlines 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: Abingdon United handed a home draw in FA Vase

Oxford Mail: football generic

12:48pm Monday 24th November 2014

Abingdon United host Hassocks or Ashford United (Kent) in the FA Vase 3rd round proper, if they win at Littlehampton in Wednesday's replay.

Oxford United fans' chat

Oxford Mail:

12:00pm Monday 24th November 2014

Have your say on the main talking points at Oxford United in our 60-minute interactive discussion from 12 noon.

VIDEO: Highlights and reaction from Oxford United's draw with AFC Wimbledon

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Monday 24th November 2014

OXFORD United were unable to break down a well-organised AFC Wimbledon side during their goalless draw at the Kassam Stadium on Saturday.

What's in our interactive back page today?

Oxford Mail:

10:43am Monday 24th November 2014

Explore your way around our interactive back page - eight links for your best local sports coverage, including our Oxford United match picture gallery. And there's video highlights from U's clash with AFC Wimbledon as well..

Alfie Potter hoping injury to James Roberts is not too serious

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Monday 24th November 2014

ALFIE Potter admitted it was a big blow for everyone at Oxford United to see James Roberts limp off on Saturday.

FOOTBALL: Oxford City boss keeping in-form striker Adi Yussuf grounded

Oxford Mail:

9:20am Monday 24th November 2014

TOP scorer Adi Yussuf may have scored four times in his last two matches for Oxford City, but general manager Justin Merritt won’t let the striker get carried away, writes MATTHEW BRUCE.

Oxford United head coach has mixed feelings after goalless draw

Oxford Mail:

8:40am Monday 24th November 2014

MICHAEL Appleton refused to be too downbeat and instead praised the way Oxford United stuck to the game plan as they drew a blank against AFC Wimbledon.

RUGBY UNION: London Welsh coach Phillips has reasons to be positive

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Monday 24th November 2014

ROWLAND Phillips pointed to some encouraging signs, despite London Welsh slipping to a 12th straight defeat of the season.

FOOTBALL: Hat-trick hero John Mills clocks up Didcot Town milestone

Oxford Mail: football generic

7:50am Monday 24th November 2014

PROLIFIC scorer John Mills hit another hat-trick to bring up a career half-century of goals for Didcot Town in their emphatic win in Division 1 South & West.

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