Sunderland Out West: a stiffer test looms against Pachuca from Mexico’s Premier

Jesse
Jesse Burch

So Sacramento Republic move offstage and CF (that’s FC to us) Pachuca are ushered on from the wings. Paul Pattison, from the Sunderland AFC North American Supporters’ Association (and long before that from Annfield Plain), did sterling – or should that be top-dollar – work before and after the defeat at Sacramento. Now Jesse Burch – appropriately an actor and as through-and-through American as the name suggests – takes a bow, introducing himself and the second match of SAFC’s North American tour, when the Lads return to Sacramento’s Bonney Field stadium to take on a club founded by British miners, tin not coal, in the capital of Mexico’s Hidalgo state, in honour of whom Salut! Sunderland has dug out a clip of the marvellous Show of Hands song Cousin Jack …

Read moreSunderland Out West: a stiffer test looms against Pachuca from Mexico’s Premier

Arjen Robben and when going Dutch means a cheat, not a treat

So, we have a highly talented player renowned and handsomely rewarded for his contributions to club and country.

At a crucial stage of the World Cup in Brazil, he gets frustrated when a bunch of minnows from Mexico lead the elite masters of football from the Netherlands.

And the response from Arjen Robben, presently of Bayern Munich, soon – maybe – of Man Utd? To dive and dive again.

Read moreArjen Robben and when going Dutch means a cheat, not a treat

Why football’s technology-free days are numbered


We will never know whether Lampard’s goal might have inspired England to better things in the second half. Germans will counter that we’ll never know about Wembley 1966 either – in each case, of course, the match would have continued at 2-2. But Jeremy Robson has no doubt that such a spectacular error, compounded by the offisde Argentinian goal later, will finally force football to accept the inevitable …

Regardless of what Fifa might have been saying about the use of video technology, it’s a safe bet that there will soon be goal line cameras used to make crucial decisions.

Until now, there have been a host of reasons put forward to halt the use of technology in aiding assistants. The occasional decision in the odd game has never previously considered as providing sufficient weight to the argument for installing the nevessary equipment.

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World Cup Soapbox: off we go and viva Paraguay

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For Pete Sixsmith, the first big one comes tonight with our boys – Paraguay (our boys, for latecomers, because they have Paula da Silva, Cristian Riveros AND red & white stripes) – expecting a comfy stroll against Italy. But the first weekend of the World Cup gave Pete plenty to enjoy, admire and deplore …

So, after a couple of weeks of looking back at previous World Cups, the 2010 tournament is up and running. First impressions are quite positive and I particularly enjoyed the sight of the huge dung beetle wandering across the stadium in Friday’s opening ceremony.

Read moreWorld Cup Soapbox: off we go and viva Paraguay

The World Cup: priceless memories as kickoff nears

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The French ask earnest questions about the cost of their underperforming team’s luxury World Cup accommodation. Emile Heskey completes the double whammy: selected to compete at the highest level of a game he seldom plays, then crocks a key colleague in training. Paraguay carry Sunderland’s colours in Group F. And all the time Pete Sixsmith’s series of World Cup memories yields gems from the modern history of international football …


Photo courtesy of Elliott Brown


On a weekend
free of competitive football, Salut! Sunderland had a quiet time, attracting a relatively short procession of readers.

Dash off a knockabout piece about Alan Hutton and Spurs and Tottenham supporters arrive in droves. Question an Arsenal player’s attachment to the Corinthian spirit and the hit count hits the roof.

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1986 and handing it to Maradona: World Cup memories (6)

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Pete Sixsmith dips into his rich memory bank once again and finds himself back in Mexico, for the 1986 World Cup. Read on to discover how one legacy of the tournament had Mr Sixsmith, as teacher turned goalkeeper, picking a World Cup ball out of the net four times …

Twenty years on from the triumph at Wembley, England set off for Mexico thinking that they had a half decent chance. Bryan Robson’s shoulder and Diego Armando Maradona’s hand put an end to that.

Read more1986 and handing it to Maradona: World Cup memories (6)

1970 and Pele: World Cup memories (2)

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For his second look back on the past 11 World Cups, Pete Sixsmith recalls the one that gave him most pleasure, offers a one-word explanation of his withdrawal of support from England and reflects on the greatness of Pele

The 1970 tournament is seen by many, including me, as the finest of all. It was the first one where colour TV was the rule rather than the exception, it had some brilliant football, capped by the greatest ever goal in a World Cup Final by a Brazilian full back after a pass by Pele – and it marked the end of my support for England.

Read more1970 and Pele: World Cup memories (2)