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 …

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Brazil 2014: cruel defeat leaves England proud but bitterly disappointed

Jake stayed up in Spain, too
Jake stayed up in Spain, too

This was a noble defeat in a excellent match from which England ought to have taken at least a point. Maintain this level of performance and Roy Hodgson can realistically hope for wins against Costa Rica and Uruguay. My report may be unnecessary; most will have seen it, too. But I offer it in case there is appetite and in the hope that readers will have their own say, too.

The fantasy was that I’d sit back in France, feet up at what for me is midnight and watch the game in the knowledge one of Salut! Sunderland‘s vast team of editors, writers, analysts and illustrators would do all the work. Well no one volunteered though they may pop up later, of course, so here goes …

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Brazil 2014: England vs Italy – let battle commence

Jake flies the flag
Jake flies the flag

In common with Pete Sixsmith, writing here the the other day, I genuinely like Roy Hodgson and that makes it easier to care more about England than has often been the case. International football never rivals club football – my club that is – in terms of emotional commitment.

But England play late tonight, the opener against Italy, and they carry my fervent best wishes for a great start.

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Brazil 2014: USA, Uruguay and Belgium lead our poll

Scroll down for Campo Retro's Father's Day promotion*
Scroll down for Campo Retro’s Father’s Day promotion*

With just a few days left
before the kickoff in Rio, Jozy Altidore’s USA continue to lead – by a substantial margin – our poll to find an honorary second country to support in the World Cup.

Of 237 votes cast last time I looked, 26 per cent had gone to the USA, with Gus Poyet’s Uruguay closest behind on 14 per cent and Belgium on 10.

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Brazil 2014: the rights and wrongs of Giaccherini’s omission from Italy squad

This is what Jake urged ... and he was right, with crucial help towards the end of the season from Giaccherini
This is what Jake urged … and he was right, with crucial help towards the end of the season from Giaccherini

This is one of those occasional guest posts from outsiders, in this case resulting from a collaboration with It started out as a “will Giaccherini make the squad?” piece but that idea was scuppered by the announcement from Italy that made clear he had not made it. But was Cesare Prandelli right to overlook him – and, for that matter, was Poyet right to make so little use of him? …

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Au revoir Angleterre, goodbye France: Nasri’s parting shame, England’s limited game

176/366: Come on England!!!Image: Gene Hunt

Late news: big debate brewing in France on whether certain players – the suspects, by and large and overlooking the squad’s surly return to French soil, are identified below – should receive their €100,000-a-man bonuses for reaching the last eight …

The first thing to say is that Euro 2012 seems to have whittled down the competing nations to the four that logically merit a presence in the semi-finals.

Jake: l'artist

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Ha’way Paraguay, ciao Italy

paraguay 12

Just the shortest of postings to congratulate Paraguay on their brilliant feat in topping a group also containing the, er, mighty Italy.

It was almost as pleasing to see the Italians finish bottom and follow France out of the World Cup.

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Luke’s World Cup: comfort in the discomfort of giants


Time to concentrate anew on England v Slovenia. OK. England have been rubbish so far. But France have made our rubbish look good (I hate to say it but the obvious reaction to today’s decisive result is frankly “good riddance”), and there have been unconvincing performances from Italy, Germany and – until last night – Spain. Patriotic to the end, Luke Harvey tries his best to keep the faith …

“I can’t believe we didn’t beat such a poor team,” came one comment from around the table. “I know,” I replied, “It almost makes you ashamed to be Algerian, doesn’t it?”

A few forced smiles were raised but the day after the night before was still a bit too early for such jocularity. The conversation was quickly diverted away from football towards something less disheartening.

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Vamos Paraguay – una vez más

paragirlsImage: Rapidgamer

Rob Hutchison gave us a juicy flavour of the tale of how a few stray Sunderland fans met for a highly partisan evening for Paraguay v Italy, our boys in red and white stripes putting in a show of honest endeavour to snatch an unexpected draw. It wouldn’t be right to let the occasion pass without the main course, served up by Clive Stevenson, who explains the widespread Vamos Paraguay phenomenon among SAFC fans and reveals more of a memorable night out (and its sequel) …

See also: Ha’way Paraguay, Vamos Sunderland

the story started a bit before that Rob, and I wish I could use the old Hot Chocolate lyric It started with a kiss

… but I’m afraid it started with a deep sense of betrayal and rejection that came with the news that all of us expected, that the striker who scored 24 goals last season, only two behind the bizarre result of an experiment to clone a bulldog with a can of Campbell’s condensed vegetable soup and almost two dozen ahead of a lump of wood, was left out of the England squad.

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