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The Independent Online
If England's defeat in Oslo in September 1981 stunned the nation, drawing comparison with the humbling inflicted by the United States at Belo Horizonte in 1950, its effect on the players involved was no less devastating. In Paul Mariner's recollection, it was "the lowest point in my career.

"In those days, you did not expect Norway to play with such passion and skill," the former Ipswich and Arsenal centre-forward said. "It was such a shock and disappointment."

The result placed England's qualification for the World Cup finals the following year in doubt but, in the event, Mariner's scrambled goal against Hungary at Wembley two months later was enough to book England's passage to Spain. It was the first of five consecutive goalscoring appearances by Mariner in an England shirt, equalling the record set by Jimmy Greaves.

Mariner's post-playing career initially took him into sports management. Unfulfilled, however, he soon left for America, where he coached professionally in New York and San Francisco before returning to England two years ago.

Today, Mariner is Director of Football at Bolton School, in his home town, and works as a match analyst for BBC local radio. He also coaches strikers for Preston North End and is a consultant for Coerver Coaching, teaching the Dutch methods to which Bobby Robson introduced him at Ipswich. "Youth football is the part of the game which fascinates me most," he said.

Now 42 and divorced, he lives at Adlington, between Chorley and Bolton. His three sons, aged eight, 10 and 12, live in Devon.

Jon Culley