England 1 Slovenia 0: job done

englandIt may or may not have been too convincing in the end, but the job in hand was to get a win, and that’s what England did when others, notably the French, haven’t been able to do so.

Salut! Sunderland expects a lot of SAFC fans to reflect on the identity of our scorer, Jermain Defoe, and wonder whether Darren Bent would have done as well with the cross (or, indeed, have made a mark in the earlier, unimpressive England games).

Read moreEngland 1 Slovenia 0: job done

England 1 Slovenia 0: doing OK, or so I’m told

THIS POSTING HAS BEEN SUPERSEDED BY England 1 Slovenia 0: job done

Sod’s law prevails and if, like me, you are in France and don’t have Canal+, the usual option, TF1, is of no use since it is showing the unbelievably drab Algeria v USA game (0-0 five minutes into the second half).

Kurdistan Goals, or whichever of those iffy internet streams is prepared to give a picture from the England game, is doing so only sporadically, with two competing commentaries, one of them in English, but both ahead of the stuttering images.

Read moreEngland 1 Slovenia 0: doing OK, or so I’m told

England v Slovenia: a well-connected Slovenian of few words


Roman Jerebic* – or, more splendidly, ????? ??????? – is a man in South Africa, and in a hurry. He was quick as a shot to volunteer to answer questions ahead of today’s England v Slovenia clincher, stressing his own acquaintance with several members of his national team, but then disappeared. He resurfaces just in time with these last-minute, no-frills responses …

So you’e beaten Algeria and drawn against the United States. What is your verdict on Slovenia’s tournament so far?

Slovenia has displayed more than good game so far and has great potential for high ranking..

When you qualfiied and saw the other teams in your group, what were your thoughts and how
far did you believe Sloveia could go?

Nothing special. In the WC only the best teams from all over the world qualify. Attractive but.. All teams are favourites against smallest country in the competition.

What about the World Cup generally? Some of the games have been fairly dull but do any stand out for you as being worth remembering?

I would not say that the games are boring .. (but) far too much now is about tactics and less about pleasure..

Tell us about Slovenia as a footballing nation and as a country – do you ever regret, in footballing or any other terms, the break-up of Yugoslavia?

Never .. Whole Slovenia is proud of the successes of our boys …

Which of your players do you regard as the strongest and in which positions are there weaknesses? I believe you played with several of them at lower levels; are you still in contact with anyone form those days?

Honestly, the most strongest man is our goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.. Weakness? Maybe wings.. We are still waiting for Brecko and Jokic day.. Yes, I played with almost all of them and of course, we are still in contact with guys..

And what of England? Who are the players you fear and where do you see our shortcomings? Did you think we played as bdly against the USA as some English people have said?

England is a great disappointment for me on this World Cup.. Names like Lampard, Terry, Gerrard, Rooney, Defoe and others should easily win this tournament.. Yes, England played very, very badly against the USA

Is the Slovenian press as critical and intrusive as the British variety when it comes to football stars? is there anything like our media’s treatment of the WAGS (wives and girlfriends of players)?

The whole of Slovenia is proud of the achievement of such a small country and their players.. Any result against three favourites in our group was a success.. Nothing special with wives and girlfriends.. We do not have David and Victoria Becham in our country.. And we are happy because of that..

A lot of Salut! Sunderland readers, and supporters of other Premier League teams, are much
more passionate about their clubs than about the national team. Do you support a team in Slovenia and do you understand such preferences?

I do not support any of teams in Slovenia.. I am from Ljubljana and I prefer Lj club (NK Olimpija), but I am not fan of that team..

There has been relatively little controversy so far (at time of writing). Does this mean the referees are winning the battle for fair play over cheating (diving, feigning injury, trying to get opposing players show red or yellow cards. shirt-pulling etc)?

In short – I (am) disappointed with the refereeing..

Who is your favourite team in the World Cup apart from Slovenia and who do you want to
win/or think will win if it cannot be your country?

My favourite is Spain and I hope they will win World Cup in South Africa..


Have you any knowledge of Sunderland AFC and have you ever seen us play?

Black Cats? Hmm.. J I know all of your history.. Yes, I saw your team played against Arsenal in London in February.. You lose by two goals..

Who are the foregin players, any nationality, you most admire?

All of players in FC Barcelona.. I like Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, D. Villa,……….

What will be the score between England and Slovenia?

I hope Slovenia will win.. 2:1 wil be

Roman Jerebic on ????? ???????:roman4

Roman lives in Ljubljana, likes the South Park TV series and offers this philosophical thought on Facebook: “Every day when I get up and look at the list of 50 richest people in Sloveniji. If I am still not on the list I go to work.”
But if you think he is holding back a little with his replies, just remember than compared with one Everton fan last season – click here – he is postively verbose.

England, by any other name


Jeremy Robson has already commented at another Salut! Sunderland post that France’s abject failure means Slovenia – maybe – couldn’t have chosen a worse time to face us, so great will be England’s fear of following France into the early departure lounge. But as this piece of whimsy shows he’s having it both ways, dreaming up a novel explanation in case we stumble again …

Everyone is puzzled about the poor form that England have shown thus far in the World Cup.

Read moreEngland, by any other name

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.

Read moreLuke’s World Cup: comfort in the discomfort of giants

England v Slovenia: a World Cup ‘Who Are You?’


Imagine a different world, one where you haven’t the faintest idea of what footballers get up to off the field. A life lived in the beautiful city of Ljubljana, capital of a country where football isn’t even the national sport, and you’ve barely even heard of Sunderland. Jaka Katrasnik* is a keen fan of Slovenia, and his club, NK Olimpija, all the same and looks forward to a result tomorrow that would keep England on our own front pages for the wrong reason … and there may be a second Slovenian fan along soon to rub it in

Salut! Sunderland: The first two games leave Slovenia in a strong position. But how bad does two unimpressive draws make England, and how lucky were you to avoid defeat against the USA?

Yes, we have good chances for advancing to the next stage. In my opinion England didn’t play as good as this team can. I believe England has very good individuals but from seeing their two games I would say they lack team spirit and motivation. The Slovenian team is the opposite. Our players are not as good as England’s. They don’t play in the best European football clubs, as England’s players do. However they are very good as a team. They have team spirit and motivation. They have played very good in qualification (eliminating Russia) and they are playing very good now in the World Cup. They did have some luck against the USA. But so did the Americans. The refereeing was horrible from the start. Dempsey should have gotten a yellow card for that ugly start on Ljubijankic in the first minute. There were more yellow card fouls committed by the Americans that the referee didn’t see. The American goal was disallowed because of Bocanegra’s (3) foul on Pecnik (7) (see the image above). True, the Slovenian players were fouling the Americans also but the referee decided the Bocanegra’s foul was more severe.

Read moreEngland v Slovenia: a World Cup ‘Who Are You?’

Luke’s World Cup: Group C goalkeeping woes deepen


Luke Harvey considers an opening weekend in Group C that left Robert Green and Faouzi Chaouchi thankful for each other’s existence, and England drawing consolation from today’s Algeria v Sloveia game producing a result, leaving us joint mid-table instead of joint bottom …

Group C is far from the Group of Death, Group of Goalkeeping Howlers perhaps.

First Rob Green, England’s apparent number one, managed to turn Clint Dempsey’s innocuous looking long range effort into his own net. The gaffe sent the media into a frenzied overdrive as tabloids searched for the wittiest headline to describe the incident.

Read moreLuke’s World Cup: Group C goalkeeping woes deepen