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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!

Oxford United look to spoil Hartlepool's party

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 20th December 2014

Andy Whing says Oxford United should expect to beat Hartlepool United this afternoon despite the Football League’s bottom club appointing a new manager this week.

Oxford United boss Michael Appleton is weighing up his striking options

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 20th December 2014

Michael Appleton’s main selection decision for Oxford United today is picking who leads the line against Hartlepool.

RUGBY: Nathan Morris hoping to get chance to pit his wits against the best

Oxford Mail:

8:10am Saturday 20th December 2014

LONDON Welsh replacement hooker Nathan Morris is looking forward to the opportunity to test himself against some of the best in the game when they travel to Saracens today, writes MATTHEW BRUCE.

TABLE TENNIS: In-form duo maintain relentless title battle

Oxford Mail:

8:10am Saturday 20th December 2014

Forum A and Holton A kept up their battle for the Division 1 crown, as they both hit an incredible 32 points apiece in the latest round of matches.

ANGLING: Paul Brant quick out of the blocks to land shield

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 20th December 2014

Paul Brant struck early to win Littlemore AS’s Christmas Shield fished by 14 on the River Thames at Sandford.

CRICKET: Imran Hussain shines for Ruscote

Oxford Mail: cricket generic

8:00am Saturday 20th December 2014

Imran Hussain helped Ruscote to a four-run win against Chipping Norton in Division 2 of the Banbury Indoor League.

BOXING: Ashley Banks cashes in to capture national title

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 20th December 2014

Banbury BC lightweight Ashley Banks was crowned England junior novice champion after a unanimous points win against Rahul Gondalia (Karmand BC, Bradford) in the final.

ICE HOCKEY: Popular veteran Andy Cox back on board to boost Oxford City Stars

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 20th December 2014

Oxford City Stars have ex-player Andy Cox back in their ranks when they host Solent Devils in English National League South Division 1 tomorrow (6.15).

AQUATHLON: Award-winning Janette Cardy given sponsorship lift

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 20th December 2014

Janette Cardy has received a welcome boost following her success at last month’s Oxfordshire Sports Awards.

RUGBY: Justin Burnell delighted at selection dilemma

Oxford Mail:

7:10am Saturday 20th December 2014

PIRI Weepu returns to the London Welsh side to take on Saracens at Allianz Park today (3), with head coach Justin Burnell admitting is was nice to have a selection headache, writes MATTHEW BRUCE.

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