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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: Hot-shot John Mills in demand after goalscoring exploits

Oxford Mail:

6:30am Wednesday 27th May 2015

SHARP-SHOOTER John Mills has yet to decide where he’ll be playing his football next season after a stellar campaign with Didcot Town, writes MATTHEW BRUCE.

Ryan Taylor signs for Oxford United

Oxford Mail:

5:30pm Tuesday 26th May 2015

RYAN Taylor has become Oxford United's third signing of the summer after agreeing a two-year deal with the club.

FOOTBALL: Justin Merritt's relishing step into unknown

Oxford Mail:

9:20am Tuesday 26th May 2015

Oxford City general manager Justin Merritt feels that his side’s change of divisions next season is a mixed blessing, but is relishing the new challenge.

Oxford United installed as third favourites for League Two title

Oxford Mail:

9:10am Tuesday 26th May 2015

Oxford United have been named as one of the favourites for the Sky Bet League Two title next season.

WOMEN'S FOOTBALL: Oxford United are beaten by 92nd-minute penalty

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Tuesday 26th May 2015

AN injury-time penalty from Everton’s Paige Williams inflicted an agonising 3-2 defeat on Oxford United in the FA Women’s Super League 2, writes MATTHEW BRUCE.

GOLF: King smashes course record on way to Frilford crown

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Tuesday 26th May 2015

GARY King was the class act as he smashed the Frilford Heath course record en route to winning the Buildbase Open by two shots.

CRICKET: Hugo Darby cracks super ton to spark Banbury victory

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Tuesday 26th May 2015

Hugo Darby smashed a brilliant century as Banbury beat High Wycombe by six runs in the ECB Twenty20 Home Counties quarter-finals yesterday.

RACING: Limato off to Haydock

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Tuesday 26th May 2015

Exciting sprinter Limato is set to put his unbeaten record on the line in the 888Sport Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock on Saturday.

GOLF: Ex-Tadmarton Heath member named as new R&A captain

Oxford Mail: golf generic

7:40am Tuesday 26th May 2015

FORMER Tadmarton Heath member Gavin Caldwell will take over as captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club later this year.

DARTS: West back for Oxfordshire's finale

Oxford Mail:

7:40am Tuesday 26th May 2015

OXFORDSHIRE visit Dorset this weekend in their final match of the British Inter Counties Championship knowing they need a big victory to stand any chance of winning the Division 1 title.

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