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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 Oxford United's midfielder Balmy signs on loan for Oxford City

Oxford Mail:

12:00am Friday 27th March 2015

Oxford City have bolstered their ranks ahead of tomorrow’s vital trip to Vanarama Conference North playoff rivals Hednesford Town, writes Marrhew Bruce.

Oxford United sign striker Kyle Vassell on loan

Oxford Mail:

4:00pm Thursday 26th March 2015

OXFORD United have signed Peterbrough striker Kyle Vassell on loan until the end of the season.

BRADLEY SMITH COLUMN: Excitement is building as the season is upon us

Oxford Mail:

2:00pm Thursday 26th March 2015

It didn’t take a bang on the door at 6.15 in the morning to make me realise just what a massive international sport MotoGP has become – but it was certainly a reminder.

RUGBY: World Cup trophy set for Oxford visit

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Thursday 26th March 2015

THE Rugby World Cup trophy will be in Oxford for two days in August, just weeks before England bid to win the tournament on home soil.

GOLF: Eddie Pepperell eyeing major chance

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Thursday 26th March 2015

Abingdon golfer Eddie Pepperell believes the US PGA Championship in August is his best chance of playing at a major this year.

ICE HOCKEY: Oxford City Stars fail to secure survival and now face anxious wait

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Thursday 26th March 2015

Oxford City Stars are sweating on the result of the penultimate game of the season which will determine if they remain in English National League South Division 1.

RACING: Unbeaten Limato bound for Ascot

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Thursday 26th March 2015

Limato , Wantage trainer Henry Candy’s unbeaten gelding, is set to make his eagerly-anticipated return at Ascot on Wednesday, April 29.

RUGBY UNION: Tag festival proves a success

Oxford Mail: rugby generic

8:00am Thursday 26th March 2015

More than 650 children took part in Oxfordshire’s tag rugby festival at Gosford All Blacks on Sunday.

Sam Long sparkles in Oxford United win

Oxford Mail: Sam Long has been offered a new contract

8:00am Thursday 26th March 2015

Sam Long hit the opener and made the second as a youthful Oxford United development side beat their Oxford City counterparts 2-0 yesterday.

CRICKET: Kevin Pietersen is a possible to play in The Parks

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Thursday 26th March 2015

Kevin Pietersen could play against Oxford MCCU in The Parks next month after signing for Surrey.

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