A Last Chance To Sparkle

In the universe some stars make spectacular exits as exploding supernovas, their auras blazing across space. Others simply peter out, becoming what astronomers call dwarfs — faint points of light that slowly go dark. For the aging stars of European soccer, Euro 2004 might offer that same stark choice of outcomes. Certainly, the European championships have before. Think of 1996, when fading English bad boy Paul Gascoigne had luminous moments throughout the tourney, then scored the ultimate solo wonder goal against Scotland: running onto a pass into the box, Gazza flicked the ball over the head of the last defender and...

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