World Cup Memories: France’s version of England’s 1966 glory

Sixer looks back at a dramatic French victory in the World Cup

Monsieur Salut writes: now we know. In County Durham, Pete Sixsmith has retreated into the GCSE marking part of his year and declares that he will be paying little attention to the World Cup in Russia.

Here in France, the physio trying to repair my dodgy knee cannot wait for Les Bleus’ first game against Australia. As for England, a French pal at badminton told me the other night our problem was we’re too small a nation to be able to compete (maybe beyond quarter finals, maybe an earlier exit). A follow-the-wind friend from the Middle East used to support Brazil, now she roots for Argentina, bless her (mind she also manages to support both Arsenal and Barca and has had a soft spot for not only AC Milan but, ever since she borrowed a book from A Love Supreme in which I had a chapter, SAFC).

And plenty of Sunderland fans will be glued to the screen as the tournament unfolds, and not just because of the two Jordans who both still support SAFC. If you fancy a flutter or two, the place to go may be btts tips.

Back in 2010, Sixer wrote an outstanding series of World Cup memories. In this edition, he looked at the famous French campaign on home territory in 1998, culminating in that famous un-deux-trois-zéro victory over Brazil in the final at the Stade de France, roughly the French equivalent of England’s win against Germany in 1966. Here, from another dip into the Salut! Sunderland archives, he remembers when France were the cultured giants of European football

Read moreWorld Cup Memories: France’s version of England’s 1966 glory

Johann Cruyff on a very Dutch murder

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Sunday was the night the Netherlands, with complete premeditation, killed football, or at least did their level best to do so. Everyone, except their own short-sighted and indignant fans, knows this to be true, including – as Jeremy Robson, pictured with his young ‘un, points out – a certain Dutch master of the Total Football at which his country once excelled …

I’ve always been a huge admirer of Johann Cruyff.

As a player, he was sublime. The now famous “Cruyff turn” which he introduced to the world in 1974 is a practice drill for aspiring footballers the world over. Hard to believe that up to 40 years ago, this move had never been witnessed on a football field.

Read moreJohann Cruyff on a very Dutch murder

The Van Bommel snarl that epitomised this rotten finale

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In another of our reflective glances at the World Cup, Bill Taylor starts and finishes with the sort of welcome a prisoner gives when told years have been knocked off his sentence. Four years off World Cup football – and the thuggishness, at the end, of a once-refined footballing nation – is maybe the least reward Bill can expect for getting the winners and runners-up spot on …

Ah well, at least we get another four years off before we have to go through this again. And the REAL football starts in five weeks.

There has been some good, some great football played during this World Cup but there have also been far more terrible moments than there should have been. Many of which were crammed into the final’s seemingly interminable 120 minutes.

Read moreThe Van Bommel snarl that epitomised this rotten finale

Spain 1 Netherlands 0: la cima del mundo

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So SPAIN are top of the world, winners of the 2010 World Cup after at one stage looking more like heading home in disarray. But South Africa confounded so many people with the way it handled the event – think back to all those warnings, and not just from tabloid newspapers, of the likely security headaches – that it deserved to host a better final than the lame, petulant affair mustered by Spain and the Netherlands. Yet Spain generally played the better football, and triumphed with a late, late winner from Iniesta. The Dutch claimed injustice, a missed offside, but deserved nothing better after their cynical, ill-tempered display …

Read moreSpain 1 Netherlands 0: la cima del mundo

Germany 3 Uruguay 2: more than a consolation

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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 v Netherlands, and the wonder of Darren Bent: through Spanish eyes

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Where to go for a Spanish ‘Who Are You?’ in response to Edgar Meyer’s Dutch preview of the 2010 World Cup final. Marta in Belfast? “Typical kneejerk fan – probably couldn’t name any players,” said her husband. The tapas bar I like so much in Ealing? It’s Portuguese. Let’s try the Spanish Embassy in London then. And into our lives, with many thanks to the press office for putting us his way, came Benjamin Leyton* a fan of Cadiz, a Chelsea steward and, best of all, a man who admires Sunderland and Darren Bent. Three-nil to Spain, he reckons …

At one stage, people were saying Spain might go out at group stage. Now you are a step away from winning the World Cup – what went right?

Read moreSpain v Netherlands, and the wonder of Darren Bent: through Spanish eyes

Raining on Spain’s parade

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Tomorrow Salut! Sunderland brings you a very positive view of Spain, as you’d expect since it is our Who Are You? feature in which a Spanish supporter is interviewed; Jeremy Robson is not so sure, and gets his retaliation in first …

What a sad indictment it is that Spain will be contesting a World Cup final.

The only pleasure to be derived from this is vicarious. It’s great for the citizens of a true football nation to see their national side in the final for the very first time.

Read moreRaining on Spain’s parade

Netherlands v Spain: a Dutchman’s World Cup ‘Who Are You?’

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Edgar Meyer – Eddie G to pals – is a passionate Feyenoord fan, which will instantly endear him to those Sunderland supporters who established loose links with followers of that club a few years ago (probably a result of Mackems finding work in Rotterdam). There’s also a hint of Spanish in Eddie’s cosmopolitan family background, but he’s paying the price for earlier good fortune by living, for now, in Doncaster. Oh, and he’s approaching Sunday’s final in confident mood …

Salut! Sunderland: Not a classic World Cup, in most people’s eyes, but your country is in the final. Are you surprised to have got through or were you always confident?

I knew we’d reach a far round, definitely the quarters, maybe the semis, when we ended up with Brazil in the Quarters and beat them, I got alot more confident about going all the way.

Read moreNetherlands v Spain: a Dutchman’s World Cup ‘Who Are You?’

Don’t look now, but there are new replica tops

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We kept looking, and have now found fans from Holland and Spain to preview their countries’ appearance in the South Africa 2010 World Cup final. Always look on the bright side, we say: helps to fill a hole we might otherwise have devoted to plugging the new Sunderland replica kits if the only way of doing so hadn’t been with the sportswear equivalent of a wine “blind tasting” …


Well, Salut! Sunderland
has signed up a Dutch fan and a Spanish supporter to answer our questions ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final. So thanks to our own Luke Harvey for putting us in touch with Edgar _ Eddie G – Meyer, a devoted follower of both Feyenoord and the Netherlands, and to the Spanish diplomatic service for nobly ensuring balance is preserved.

The first piece will run tomorrow, the second on Saturday morning.

Read moreDon’t look now, but there are new replica tops