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Potential FA Cup first-time winners

ESPN staff
March 8, 2013
Wayne Rooney scored his spot-kick, but Manchester United still lost to Arsenal in the 2005 FA Cup final © Getty Images
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Only eight teams remain in the 2012-13 FA Cup, which means the players are undoubtedly beginning to dream of lifting that famous trophy. Some - like Ryan Giggs or John Terry - have done it before, but here are 10 names still in the competition who have come close but failed up to now to earn that winner's medal.

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Wayne Rooney

The name of Wayne Rooney might come as a surprise to some, but the England man has come just about as close as possible to winning the FA Cup, only to see it drift from sight. Bought by Manchester United in 2004, Rooney's first season took him to the Millennium Stadium where he started alongside Ruud van Nistelrooy and Cristiano Ronaldo in the final. Somehow that trio failed to score in a 0-0 draw with Arsenal, so Rooney stepped up and buried a spot-kick in the shootout. Unfortunately for him Paul Scholes didn't, and United then lost again (to Chelsea this time) in 2007, with Didier Drogba the match-winner four minutes before another shootout was needed.

Samir Nasri

For all his talent, the furthest France international Nasri has ever been in the FA Cup is the semi-finals in 2009. Manchester City's diminutive creator was wearing an Arsenal shirt back then, and he was introduced for all of four minutes as the Gunners lost 2-1 to Chelsea at Wembley. Arsenal even took the lead through Theo Walcott, but Florent Malouda and Drogba turned the tables, prompting Nasri's late introduction. He later joined City in 2011, the summer after Roberto Mancini's side lifted the cup against Stoke.

Leighton Baines

Everton's lethal left-back Leighton Baines has suffered more than his fair share of heartache in the FA Cup, losing in the 2009 final before suffering again in last year's semis. The loss to Chelsea was the closest he came to lifting 'ol Big Ears, after Louis Saha gave Everton the lead with the fastest goal in FA Cup history - timed at 25 seconds. Drogba and Frank Lampard turned it around for Chelsea, and Baines saw another lead slip when Everton returned to Wembley for the 2012 semi-finals against Liverpool. On that occasion Andy Carroll settled it in the dying stages, leaving Baines to hope for third time lucky in the capital.

Marlon Harewood was denied by Liverpool in 2006 © Getty Images
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Marlon Harewood

Another to suffer at the hands of Liverpool, Marlon Harewood is trying again with Championship club Barnsley. The Cup may be something of a tormentor to Harewood, who missed a glorious chance to win it for West Ham in 2006. After Steven Gerrard's last-gasp wonder goal had taken the game to extra-time with the score at 3-3, West Ham sent one last free-kick into the box. Pepe Reina miraculously turned it onto a post but the ball fell to Harewood, whose fatigued body failed to respond as he swung a leg and volleyed wide from close range. Liverpool won the shootout without Harewood stepping up.

Rory Delap

The man with the enormous throw, Rory Delap nearly got his famous hands on an FA Cup - rather than a football - in 2011, only to be stopped at the final hurdle by Manchester City. Currently of Barnsley, Delap played 81 minutes at Wembley before being replaced by John Carew, presumably with Stoke wanting to play a slightly less direct brand of football.

Jean Beausejour

Wigan wideboy Jean Beausejour can complete a cup double of sorts this season, aiming to add the FA Cup to the League Cup he won at Birmingham. Beausejour, a Chile international with a sweet left foot, stepped off the bench after 50 minutes of the 2011 League Cup final between Arsenal and Birmingham. He would love to take credit for assisting the winning goal too, but that honour really belongs to Arsenal's woeful defence who gifted Obafemi Martins an 89th-minute open goal.

Maik Taylor

Another from that triumphant Birmingham side, Maik Taylor was an unused substitute in the League Cup final. Nevertheless, if you're named in the matchday squad you get a medal, so Taylor is looking for the double in the FA Cup. Currently of Millwall, Taylor will fancy his chances of a return to Wembley with only Blackburn standing in the way of a semi-final date.

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Rio Ferdinand

Here's an odd one. Rio Ferdinand has been at Manchester United since 2002, the club won the FA Cup in 2004, but he didn't get a medal. Why? Because Ferdinand was serving an eight-month suspension for failing to attend a drug test. Mikael Silvestre and Wes Brown strolled around the Millennium Stadium as United dominated Millwall, with Ferdinand surely consoling himself that he would have other opportunities to lift the trophy. Nine years and counting Rio...

Eden Hazard

Winner of the Ligue 1 title and Coup de France, Eden Hazard has already conquered the domestic game in France and now has his eyes on the English offerings. In fairness this is his first attempt in the FA Cup so he does not have the tales of heartache carried by many of the others, but as long as the ball boys keep themselves to themselves Hazard may find his trophy cabinet added to at Chelsea.

Paul Robinson

England international of 41 caps and winner of the 2008 League Cup with Tottenham, Paul Robinson has a more storied history with Wembley than the majority of his Blackburn counterparts. If Rovers can get past Millwall they will be heading back to the home of English football, and a potential career cup double is on the cards.
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