See the caption in Jake’s image. It’s true. That’s what our supporters relentlessly chanted throughout Jozy Altidore’s dark, goal-free days with Sunderland. As we look to Defoe, Borini, Lens and the rest to deliver the goals he couldn’t, a Co Durham exile in Toronto, Bill Taylor, has had a chance to track Jozy’s progress since the move to Canada …
Grant Tunkel‘s reports from the other side of the Atlantic, chronicling the pride and joy inspired by USA performances at Brazil 2014, have given a valuable extra dimension to our World Cup coverage. Before he reverts to writing as an American Sunderland supporter, here – delayed by his own sporting commitments (he had a game immediately after the Belgium match) – are his thoughts on a noble exit …
Although not a fan of the World Cup as there’s too much hype and dishonesty (so how’s it different? I hear you asking) I have forced myself to watch the games in order to report on them for you. Sometimes, to give myself an authentic experience, I have forced myself to drink beer while watching. You’ll appreciate that this can’t have been pleasant for me but it had to be done, and it underlines the dedication of the Salut team. Maybe one day I’ll get an OBE or a liver transplant in recognition of the effort I’ve made but for now I have the satisfaction of knowing my duty is done, as well as an almost empty barrel in the shed.
But then the Belgians were actually magnanimous in victory. Vincent Kompany, an outstanding player and very likeable bloke from what we see of him on Twitter, tweeted this:
Two words.. TIM HOWARD #Respect #BelUSA
Respect to you, VK.
The two sets of players and officials, and most fans, will never know it. But tonight’s game between the USA and Belgium has something resting on its result beyond a place in the past eight of Brazil 2014.
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.
With England out, the Salut! Sunderland readership choice of the USA makes them our Brazil 2014 team. Our US correspondent Grant Tunkel rode an uncontrollable rollercoaster of emotions, from hope to dismay to ecstasy to last-ditch disappointment to pride, as the USA recovered from a woeful start against Portugal, deservedly equalised, even more deservedly led and then suffered the cruel injustice of the loss of two points in the dying seconds. That man Ronaldo, mastered for huge chunks of the game, popped up with a magical cross and 2-1 was suddenly 2-2.
Progress can still be ensured by avoiding defeat in the last game of the group stage and Ghana have shown Germany can be matched. Now read and feel Grant’s report …
You, the readers of Salut! Sunderland, voted the USA by a sizeable margin to be our second team at Brazil 2014. Uruguay and Belgium vie for the runners-up slot but find themselves a long way behind.
So join in our US correspondent Grant Tunkel’s ecstasy as he and a lot of other Americans celebrate the John Brooks winner in USA 2 Ghana 1. USA, USA, USA indeed …
Typical. Sunderland’s one man at Brazil 2014 – we can no longer count Ki – sees his first game and presumably his World Cup end after 20 minutes. Poor Jozy Altidore. After a rotten season, his goals in the warm-up had given hope. He had one chance before his hamstring injury and, though not clearcut (the ball ran behind him), ought have done better with it.
In the end, the USA, ahead in the first minute but pegged back by a late equaliser created by Asamoah Gyan, whose performance deepened the disbelief that he should have chosen lower-league level football and desert gold over the Premier, snatched a dramatic win. It was fitting that a country chosen by Salut! Sunderland as their honorary second team in Brazil should make a winning start. Our Californian Dreaming columnist Grant Tunkel, a Sunderland supporter out west, was over on the Eastern seaboard to share the delirium of fellow Americans in a NYC bar. Yep, bar …
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.