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.
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.
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!
2:00pm Thursday 3rd September 2015
IT was a case of damage limitation at Silverstone on Sunday in the pouring rain.
6:07pm Thursday 3rd September 2015
MICHAEL Appleton is hoping Oxford United can make amends for their televised nightmare last season when they face Bristol Rovers this weekend.
10:40am Thursday 3rd September 2015
Williams Martini Racing have confirmed that the partnership of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas will be retained for a third season in the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship.
9:30am Thursday 3rd September 2015
RUPERT Evans knows what it is takes to win the Minor Counties Championship as an Oxfordshire player, but admits beating Cumberland in this year’s final as coach would be just as special.
9:10am Thursday 3rd September 2015
MICHAEL Appleton is happy none of his players were nominated for a monthly award as he seeks to keep Oxford United under the radar.
6:11pm Thursday 3rd September 2015
OXFORD United’s promising start looks certain to be tested by a difficult run of games, but head Michael Appleton’s message is clear – no-one will look forward to playing his side right now.
9:00am Thursday 3rd September 2015
Oxfordshire ended sixth out of seven teams in the Home Counties League when they lost 132-100 to Bucks at Bletchley in their final game of the campaign.
8:00am Thursday 3rd September 2015
Woodstock Harrier James Bolton leads Abingdon AC’s Paul Fernandez by just one point ahead of tonight's final round of the Motavation Series in Oxford.
7:00am Thursday 3rd September 2015
Elizabeth Dorey represented England for the first time at the European Junior Touch Championships at Nottingham – just missing out on glory.
7:00am Thursday 3rd September 2015
Some of the county’s brightest young sporting talents are looking for glory in Manchester as they compete in the Sainsbury’s School Games, which get under way today.
More than 1,600 school-age athletes from around the country will descend on Manchester for the four-day multi-sport event – 15 of whom will be looking to bring a medalback to Oxfordshire.
Six of those will be competing in hockey, with Jona Boender (Abingdon), Niall Devaney (Oxford), Finn Dunleavy (Woodstock), Louisa Heathcote (Banbury) and Storm Sunderland (Deddington) all representing England sides, while Witney’s James Palmer has been selected for Wales.
Bloxham School pupil Heathcote, who is 17, will be representing England Girls White.
She is relishing the chance to shine saying: “I’m so happy to have been selected.
“My aim is to enjoy myself, but also play the best hockey I can throughout the tournament.”
Four Oxfordshire youngsters will be competing in athletics, which takes place tomorrow at the 6,500-capacity Manchester Regional Arena.
Luisa Chantler-Edmond (Headington), Emily Thompson (Banbury), Sam Way (Chipping Norton) and Ryan Craze (Didcot) have been selected to represent the Midlands.
Bicester duo Kieran Bird and Thomas Thornley and Faringdon’s Emily Nesbit will all represent England East in swimming.
Bicester Blue Fins swimmer Thornley, 15, said: “I feel very privileged to have been asked to compete in the Sainsbury’s School Games.
“It will be a great opportunity for me to develop as a swimmer and as an athlete overall.
“I can’t wait to get there!”
Oxford’s Saskia Freitas-Shoeffel will feature for England cadet women in volleyball.
And Benj Scheider, from Abingdon, completes the strong contingent from Oxfordshire with his selection for the England fencing team.