The Euro 2016 Final: France v Portugal. Ha’way les Bleus

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Monsieur Salut introduces the finale of Euro 2016. He can hardly disguise his allegiance, which would have been forced on him by marriage if not also by natural preference. Allez les Bleus. Who knows if the above shirt might come in handy in Sunderland’s coming season; if you like what you see, remember Classic Football Shirts are good friends of this site and take a look at their site

Right, so not everyone round here is hooked on the Euros. But while it has not been a sensational tournament, there has been some excellent if sporadic football and a great chunk of romance. Now, there’s every chance of a deserving winner.

I am with those who care little for internationals. I’m more concerned about any Sunderland game, including last night’s bottom-of-the-table encounter between the SAFC Ladies and Doncaster Belles (I’m writing before its kickoff; NB update is that our Lasses won handsomely, 4-0), than pretty much whatever England get up to.

Tonight, I’m rooting for France. I expect the seafront of Le Lavandou, the French resort where I live for nearly half the year, to be alive towards midnight if Les Bleus have done it and will be there if it happens.

But as we showed with our Euro “Who are You?” two-parter, there is support for Portugal, too, even among the followers of Sunderland AFC.

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Sam Verissimo, a home-and-away regular, is half-Portuguese, half-Scottish. He gave some cracking answers, of which I particularly loved the following extract.

Who have been the standout countries and players of the tournament for you?

Iceland for obvious reasons but I think Hungary came out and did it for Fulop. They showed why they used to be a great footballing nation. Standout player has to be Hector for Germany for me.

Who has seriously disappointed?

Portugal. Their first four games. Saying that I guess a draw against them wasn’t quite as bad as losing to them! Say no more.

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And then we had Véronique Laniel, a Sunderland-supporting Frenchwoman living happily on Wearside. “Magnifique,” trilled her friends at Twitter as news spread of her brilliant interview here.

Sample:

You are a SAFC season ticket holder. Explain! Where from in France, how long in Sunderland, why, how the club got under your skin, your thoughts on the city and the region?

I moved to Sunderland 20 years ago, a French company sent me to the North East for work, I’m originally from Saint Etienne. I simply fell in love with the people of the North East so I decided to stay and here I am still here! I think the city of Sunderland has come a long way from what I can remember when I first arrived, it has moved forward in the right direction which is great to see. I love it here, the friendliness, the sense of community, the weather (not!).

I’ve always liked football and my interest in SAFC grew when my sons started playing football for the Foundation of Light, I got more and more involved in football then. After attending a few matches to start with, my passion for the club got stronger and stronger and I could not bear not going so becoming a season ticket holder was the next step to take. The passion of the fans got under my skin and why I do love the club so much? I don’t really know actually ! It’s a feeling, it’s in me!

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So let’s get on with the game. I hope it’s a good one and, like our French Mackemoiselle, I hope it’s settled before the final whistle and not with penalties.

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And if you feel attracted to any of the Classic Football Shirts clobber displayed, or want to see what else they have to offer, have a wander over to their site at bit.ly/1OZhVU5. They’re good to us – sponsoring competitipns and so on – and anything you buy from them helps Salut! Sunderland pay the bills.

M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake
M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake

Allez les Bleus: the Saint Etienne Mackemoiselle rooting for France in Sunderland

Veronique
Véronique: true colours – and two of them work for SAFC too

Monsieur Salut writes: tomorrow night, should France do what logic expects and defeat a Portugal side that has won only once in normal time on the way to the Euro 2016 final, the country will be en fête. But the same will go for a part of Sunderland that is forever French.

Salut! Sunderland found a Sunderland-supporting Portuguese fan, Sam Verissimo, for the first of these special Who are You! interviews. Now it is the turn of FrenchFancy1971, as she calls herself on Twitter, Véronique Laniel as she is known in real life, a product of Saint-Etienne – where the film version of Sunderland, the hit Paris play, was relocated – but settled on Wearside with the Red and Whites firmly lodged with Les Verts in her heart. She warns us ‘to read this with a French Mackem accent in mind’ …

Read moreAllez les Bleus: the Saint Etienne Mackemoiselle rooting for France in Sunderland

France vs Portugal ‘Who are You?’: a SAFC supporter cries forcaportugal

SAM
Our Sam on the right


Tomorrow: another SAFC season ticket holder – Véronique, a solidly French adopted Mackem – exudes passion for La Belle France …

Monsieur Salut writes: here’s a special treat from the tireless souls at Salut! Sunderland. Many readers enjoy the Who are You? series. Why not one for the Euro 2016 final?

Help was sought from miles around. Loads of friends of this site tried to dig up suitable candidates, a supporter of France and a supporter of Portugal.

And we ended up – I am delighted to say – with two Sunderland fans. Once Ronaldo and Griezmann had declined our offer (“reward in heaven guv, honest”), it could not have worked out better. Shout-outs are due to Kay and Steve, also Sunderland supporters, for putting me on the track of Sam Verissimo, home-and-away regular but also half-Portuguese.

So let’s start with Portugal, whose plodding route to the final has underwhelmed most neutrals. Sam describes himself at Twitter as ‘a born entertainer who apparently looks like Michael Mcintyre’ and has a SoL season ticket despite living in London. He fears the worst for his country on Sunday …

Read moreFrance vs Portugal ‘Who are You?’: a SAFC supporter cries forcaportugal

Italy’s star, SAFC’s underachiever. Where did it go wrong with Giaccherini?

How Jake saw Emanuele Giachherini
How Jake saw Emanuele Giaccherini

Sorry for the patchy appearance of new material here, John McCormick’s splendid efforts excepted. In the tetchy climate, I daren’t say what may, for most of the last week, have distracted some of us. Emanuele Giaccherini couldn’t always get a full game for Sunderland but stars for Italy at Euro 2016. Is it our fault or his? What on earth happens to so many players of quality once they pull on our shirt, Defoe being a class exception? Monsieur Salut tracks the Giaccherini days at Sunderland as viewed on these pages …

Read moreItaly’s star, SAFC’s underachiever. Where did it go wrong with Giaccherini?

Now the Euro Brexit for the pampered products of England’s failed academy

Bravo George Caulkin, self-described ‘chronicler of misery for The Times (North East football, mainly)’, for that clever piece of gallows humour tweeting. And now over to Pete Sixsmith, our own chronicler of doom punctuated by the odd shaft of light. Watching England was indeed like watching Sunderland for the first 30 games of most seasons. Sixer rises from his sick bed after a week of pain and discomfort to carry out his own Ofsted inspection ..

Read moreNow the Euro Brexit for the pampered products of England’s failed academy

Euro 2016: Sunderland exile Giaccherini makes the difference for Italy vs Belgium

Jake: in sunny spirits
Jake: ‘summer and footie. Cannot be bad’

Salut! Sunderland is always open to suggestions for posts from outside interests. Please welcome Cartridge People at whose invitation Pete Sixsmith reports on a match of his choice from the opening phase of Euro 2016. Watching Italy’s 2-0 victory over Belgium stirred memories from the distant past …

Read moreEuro 2016: Sunderland exile Giaccherini makes the difference for Italy vs Belgium

Euro 2016: Sixer on England yobs, warlike Russians, reckless Cana and (elsewhere) Yedlin

Sixer looks forward to days in the sun
Sixer looks forward to days in the sun

Monsieur Salut writes: Pete Sixsmith makes 10 points from the opening sequence of the Euros but I seem to have reduced them to seven. I began yesterday in a rage against the moronic English ‘fans’ who, as I have witnessed at first hand, are as obnoxious a group of people as you’d hope not to meet. But if they – and of course I mean the sizeable minority of trouble-seeking louts – had already behaved atrociously in one of my favourite French cities, Marseille, their lowlife thuggishness was more than matched by an evil bunch of Russians, in particular, and by some French ‘fans’.

Pete fears there will be trouble wherever England play, even when the English are not wholly or even mostly to blame. As for the football, disappointment for England, a dark start for a man with SAFC pedigree – Lorik Cana, who must have even Lee Cattermole tit-tutting – not to mention another red, albeit away from the Euros in the Copa America) DeAndre Yedlin – and a great opener for Wales. Now let Sixer admire French stadiums and French midfielders …

Read moreEuro 2016: Sixer on England yobs, warlike Russians, reckless Cana and (elsewhere) Yedlin

Could Jermain Defoe be in Roy Hodgson’s squad for the Euros?

Can Jermain make the Cherry pips squeak?
Can Jermain make Roy peer north of Watford, staying east?

When the question was first raised, Monsieur Salut’s instinctive response was along the lines of ‘Hodgson doesn’t really know where Sunderland is, so is unlikely to see Jermain Defoe play unless we’re away to and being beaten soundly by a London side containing one or more of his favourites’. But the questioner persisted with the result that we have now a guest article, from Mark Smith, a sports writer based in Prague, weighing up the pros and cons of Defoe’s case for an England recall …

Read moreCould Jermain Defoe be in Roy Hodgson’s squad for the Euros?