England must not miss party - Ox
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has warned his England team-mates they must not blow their chance of qualifying for a World Cup in Brazil.
Appearing on football's most glamorous stage in two years' time represents a huge draw for all the European teams about to embark on their qualification campaigns.
As five-time winners of the competition, the South American nation boasts an unrivalled passion for the sport, and Oxlade-Chamberlain, speaking ahead of England's opening qualifier with Moldova in Chisinau on Friday, is determined to be at the party.
"Everyone knows how much the Brazilians love their football," the 19-year-old Arsenal midfielder said. "It's a huge part of their lifestyle and culture. "Look at all the players who have come out of Brazil - Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, even more lately Neymar. It speaks for itself. "It's going to be a massive experience and we have to make sure we get there." If England do qualify, it would provide Oxlade-Chamberlain with a chance to emulate a notable piece of family history provided by dad Mark Chamberlain.
Recognised as one of the greatest nights in their history, England's 2-0 win over Brazil in 1984 is chiefly remembered for John Barnes' magnificent solo goal. Chamberlain was on the other wing, meaning the story of what unfolded is well known to Oxlade-Chamberlain. However, as England prepare to take the first steps on their journey to Brazil 2014, the teenager's assessment does not exactly portray his father in a favourable light. "The only thing I saw was the John Barnes goal and my dad celebrating," he said.
"I never actually saw him touch the ball in that game." Chamberlain won eight caps in a career of unfulfilled potential. He did enough on the domestic stage for his name to have resonance among Oxlade-Chamberlain's teachers during his schooldays, even if his class-mates were rather harder to impress. "Most of my mates didn't know who he was until their dads told them," he said. "He's been a massive help in my career and it's good to have him around."
Though he started England's Euro 2012 opener against France in the summer, Oxlade-Chamberlain is not taking his place for granted on Friday. He will not make a fuss if he does miss out, though. He is still enjoying the experience of being away with England far too much, a joy that comes from his day job at Arsenal where he is ready to buck the trend of departures by committing his long-term future to the club. "I am here to play for England this week," he said. "But if Arsenal want to sit down and talk about that, it is really good because I am loving my time there. "I really enjoy playing for them and am planning on being there for a while."
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