Brazil 2014: the USA, Salut! Sunderland readers’ choice, make it through

'Our team' now, Jake ...
‘Our team’ now, Jake …

Let’s look forward to another of Grant Tunkel‘s fascinating descriptions of the USA (and Sunderland) supporter’s experience of World Cup joy.

The USA’s 1-0 defeat by Germany was probably about fair. But Portugal’s win against Ghana was the result that ensured American progress to the knock-out stages of the competition.

Read moreBrazil 2014: the USA, Salut! Sunderland readers’ choice, make it through

Brazil 2014. The World Cup – more like the World Con

John McCormick:
John McCormick: ready to throw the book

I’m not a fan of the World Cup. I suppose it’s necessary, given that football (not soccer, Mr. Beckham, get it right) needs to sell itself around the world. I can also appreciate that any footballer worth his salt will want to test himself against the best.

Read moreBrazil 2014. The World Cup – more like the World Con

Bruce upbeat on Borussia Monchengladbach and Germany: a ‘tough training camp’

Image: Mrs Logic

The personal e-mails from Steve Bruce after each match have not yet resumed. When they do, we’ll find a collective name for them. Bruce’s Blarney is tempting; last season, there were times when some Salut! Sunderland readers may have thought Bruce’s Bluster would fit.

But it is useful, all the same, to see what the manager has to say, even if the e-mail (personal to me but also thousands of others) contains thoughts marshalled or massaged for circulation by a press officer. And today’s thoughts, after a 0-0 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach left us winless but with positives to draw from three friendlies in Germany, were demonstrably his own since he gave voice to them on SAFC TV.

Read moreBruce upbeat on Borussia Monchengladbach and Germany: a ‘tough training camp’

Soapbox: Belle Vue, Consett not Arminia Bielefeld

Bielefeld v Sunderland (0-0 at half time; send your own updates as comments) is under way and it seems impossible to think: a pre-season tour, near or far, without the presence of Pete Sixmsith. Unless, that is, you count Consett …

If you are expecting my usual insightful views on European life as we begin our German-based pre season, I have to disappoint you.

With the school term not ending until Thursday (we get to finish a day early to make up for losing a Bank Holiday on Royal Wedding Day), I am unable to pass on my thoughts about Bielefeld, Hannover, Hamlein or the Rhur Valley.

I could have made it to MoenchenGladbach for Saturday’s game, but I have an important date at Stalybridge Railway Station that I cannot break, so no early views of Seb Larsson, Connor Wickham or Ji Dong-Won. I’m sure that there will be plenty of press coverage although it may not be as extensive as that accorded to our Tyneside friends after their escapades in Darlington on Friday night.

Read moreSoapbox: Belle Vue, Consett not Arminia Bielefeld

Soapbox on tour: from Baden-Wurtemberg to bad and worse


It seems an awful long way to go to see the Lads comfortably beaten in a friendly, depressing everyone about the start of the real season. Pete Sixsmith endured the awfulness of Sunderland’s performance and took consolation in being able to see parts of Europe where, on this evidence, SAFC are unlikely to be called upon for competitive football any time soon …

The trip is over. We are back in County Durham, tired and worn out, after a 70km detour through northern France, because the bloody navigator in the car thought Ghent was to the east of Brussels and not to the west.

Read moreSoapbox on tour: from Baden-Wurtemberg to bad and worse

Soapbox on tour: before the Hoffenheim downfall


What does it cost to send a text message on an English mobile from Germany to a French mobile? Not, I hope, a lot since the receiving end brought only one moment of joy from Pete Sixsmith in Hoffenheim. After “2-0 down and outclassed” came a long interval before the one-word missive “Henderson” fuelled hope. Almost immediately, it was “3-1” and, well, Salut! Sunderland was left feeling grateful that Pete had sounded cheerful in his second dispatch from Germany, a message from Mannheim sent hours before matchday blues took over …

Day three of our assault on the beer halls of Baden-Wurrtemberg dawned as a bright and clear one. The temperature was up, the sun was shining and the grizzled philosophers who congregated in the bushes opposite the excellent Central Hotel were bathing their dogs in the public water spaces.

Read moreSoapbox on tour: before the Hoffenheim downfall

Soapbox: following Sunderland on the road to Hoffenheim


School’s out for summer, and Pete Sixsmith is off to Germany, following Sunderland on the last part of our build-up to the 2010-2011 Premier League season. He also looks back on pre-season jaunts of the past…

Tonight we set off on a mission to the German city of Heidelberg. Sounds like the opening line from a 50s war movie, so I should reassure the good burghers of that famed university city that we come in peace, searching for nothing more than beer, bratwurst and Big John Mensah.

This is the sixth time that Mr Horan has abandoned his fair wife and I have abandoned Samson the Cat to take off to foreign climes in support of SAFC. Torquay (ok, not really foreign), Seville, Dublin, Cork, Galway, Athlone and Amsterdam have all featured on the itinerary.

Friends have been made, ale has been supped and we have been able to get a good idea of what was in store for the coming season.

Read moreSoapbox: following Sunderland on the road to Hoffenheim

Germany 3 Uruguay 2: more than a consolation

forlanImage: Ivang

A good answer to anyone who thought the third place final a fairly meaningless part of the World Cup. To watch and hear the Germans following the game in a seafront Med bar in France, you’d have thought Muller & Co had won the trophy. But fair play to them, it was a cracking game with drama from one of the tournament’s brightest lights, Diego Forlan, right to the end. Bill Taylor thinks it may turn out to have been THE final …

Let us hope Jeremy Robson changed his mind about not watching the so-called “bronze medal” match between Germany and Uruguay.

Otherwise, he missed a terrific game – good end-to-end, cut-and-thrust football with five well-taken goals and both Diego Forlan and Thomas Müller notching their fifth of the tournament.

Read moreGermany 3 Uruguay 2: more than a consolation

Spain 1 Germany 0: send out a search party


So the World Cup winners will be either the Netherlands or Spain. Colin Randall considers tonight’s semi-final result a fair one, but needs to make swift contact with a warm, witty or wise supporter of each finalist …

My heart just wasn’t in this match. I sensed it would be tight, with none of the swashbuckling thrust of Germany’s earlier performances and Spanish flair struggling to break down Teutonic resilience.

Read moreSpain 1 Germany 0: send out a search party

Small mercies: let’s say the unsayable and hail Germany

There comes
a time when even Englishmen can forget the island race mentality and show a little European solidarity.

Germany’s trouncing of Argentina not only makes us feel ever so slightly better about having lost by a similar margin – as it was when I started writing; it became greater of course – and with much more by way of grievances to moan about.

Read moreSmall mercies: let’s say the unsayable and hail Germany