The World Cup is almost upon us. Time will tell what Salut! Sunderland’s contributors will make of it. All offerings welcome. Pete Sixsmith always comes up with interesting aspects and at least we have a handful of players to keep our interest up: Jordan Pickford (pictured by his occasional driver, this site’s great friend and massive Sunderland supporter Barry Emmerson) will be there for England, as will the other Jordan, and we even have two not-quite-left-yet players, Wahbi Khazri (will he score for Tunisia against England?) and Costa Rica’s Bryan Oviedo making the trip to Russia.
Sixer wrote an outstanding series of World Cup memories when South Africa provided the setting in 2010. And he again wrote compellingly about his enjoyment of the 2014 event in Brazil. Here is another chance to see what impressed him so much …
It took a slice of true footballing genius to win it for Germany. But, anxious moments for Neuer aside, was there ever any serious doubt? …
It finally became clear to me that Germany would win the 2014 World Cup on 60 minutes when the best goalkeeper of the tournament, Manuel Neuer, had his Harald Schumacher moment.
Until then, it had been a game dominated on possession by Germany but with Argentina mostly looking likelier to score. Pete Sixmsith considered that even our Jozy would have buried the chance that fell to Gonzalo Higuain, thanks to Toni Kroos thinking he was David Luiz for a second and heading vaguely towards Neuer but putting the forward clear on goal. He screwed it wide.
That wasn’t Neuer’s Schumacher moment.
Pete Sixsmith casts one eye back over recent goings-on the World Cup and the other forward to the final, while also finding room for Tow Law ….
Jeremy Robson is not a man to shy away from a good debate. It could be said that had he studied for the Bar it would have been at the Devil’s School of Advocacy, but his observations are always incisive and well argued. He has been watching the affairs in Brazil with interest and shares his thoughts about a World Cup nearing its conclusion.
Over the course of the last month we’ve seen the best of the world game, for what it is. There may be no Pele, Muller, Beckenbauer, Tostao, Jairzhino, Ronaldo, Charlton, Gascoigne, Cruyff, Neeskens, Baggio, Schillachi, Platini, Garrincha, or Maradona. There is really no stunning team, but we have seen some very good football. It has to be said that there have been some awful games to watch as well.
So the 2014 World Cup climaxes on Sunday evening with Argentina’s overwhelmingly European-based team taking on Joachim Low’s Germany, the mighty conquerors of Brazil. Which of the semis will it most resemble: the goalscoring orgy of Tuesday night (one German player has said they eased off to stop it becoming even more embarrassing for the hosts) or the no-score bore of 24 hours later? You have seen the German ‘Who are You?’ with James Brock. Here is the balancing interview with Sebastián Masquelet,* an Argentinian writer on holiday in London. It was clearly optimistic to try to draw him on matters Sunderland …
We did it in 2010 so why not again? The World Cup final is not, as we all know, as important, say, as MUFC v SAFC or SAFC v WBA were last season, or indeed a season-deciding match featuring Sunderland Ladies or the reserves. But it’s been, on the whole a grand tournament, and we are proud to present the first of our two Brazil 2014 ‘Who are You?’s. James Brock* is an American with whom I worked in Abu Dhabi. he is much-travelled, as that would suggest, and spent part of his early life in Germany. He is an out-and-out supporter of the national team (while also sparing some patriotic allegiance for the USA) …
It is a brand new poll for the purposes of votes cast so you can tick the box that appeals to you – the Mullermen or Messiahs – even if you voted in previous rounds.
The dreary second semi-final is out of the way, though I did come across a Sunderland supporter at Twitter, Chris Weatherspoon (“recreational writing – usually on SAFC – alongside various modern life moans”) who thought it had been good: “Think I’m the only person who actually enjoyed that match last night.”
Just like watching Sunderland “defending” at Crystal Palace last season, said Pete Sixsmith, and it may only have been two or three by then.
Like them or not, though, the German humiliation of Brazil was as clinical as it was excruciating to follow.
It was torture for the home fans, of course, but painful enough, too, for anyone with a passing preference for Brazil. I kept thinking of those people who cannot properly enjoy Fawlty Towers. They appreciate John Cleese’s comic genius and the superb writing of Cleese and Connie Booth, then his wife and Polly in the series. They just wince too much at the agonies of Basil to be able to laugh at the gags and slapstick,
The USA, Salut! Sunderland readers’ original favourite (heaven knows where all their votes came from but the team earned our affection) have gone. Then Belgium briefly carried our team-of-the-tournament only to go down to Argentina.
Now only the four semi-finalists remain.
It used to be said that football could never be popular in the USA because the country had no interest in a sport it couldn’t win. Has Brazil 2014 finally changed that? The fans in the stadiums and on social media are vocal enough but what about the broader picture? With a last 16 tie with Belgium looming, it would fascinating to hear from our Sunderland-supporting American correspondent Grant Tunkel how the team’s impressive progress is being received back home.
For now, he reflects on Jürgen Klinsmann’s success in leading the USA out of tricky group stage – a much tougher task than faced much-praised France – despite a narrow defeat to Germany. Cue a Jozy Altidore goal or two on return from injury to see off the Belgians? …