So Salut! Sunderland‘s World Cup squad has been announced.
And it includes vindication of our resolve to support Paraguay in South Africa.
Despite his surprising lack of opportunities, so far, for Sunderland – especially given how well he generally played when actually on the pitch – Paula da Silva is in the preliminary squad named by the manager Gerardo Martino.
Add to this the fact that Paraguay play in red and white stripes and the choice makes itself.
In any game, therefore, in which England are not playing or would not be disadvantaged by a Paraguay victory, we want Martino’s men to succeed. Simple as that: we are not allowing our clear club-before-country priorities to push patriotic duty out of the window. England for the cup, but – excluding only the name of the trophy winners – let Paraguay get as far as they can, too.
If da Silva loses his place when the provisional squad is reduced to 23 players at the end of May, Salut! Sunderland will reflect on its allegiance. Would the stripes be enough to leave us rooting for Paraguay in Group 7, which sees them competing against Italy, Slovakia and New Zealand? Time will tell.
This is the preliminary squad:
Goalkeepers: Justo Villar (Valladolid), Aldo Bobadilla (Deportivo Independiente), Diego Barreto (Cerro Porteno)
Defenders: Claudio Morel Rodriguez (Boca Juniors), Denis Caniza (Leon), Paulo da Silva (Sunderland), Dario Veron (Pumas), Julio Cesar Caceres (Atletico Mineiro), Julio Manzur (Tigres), Carlos Bonet (Olimpia), Aureliano Torres (San Lorenzo de Almagro), Marcos Caceres (Racing), Antolin Alcaraz (FC Bruges)
Midfielders: Edgar Barreto (Atalanta), Cristian Riveros (Cruz Azul), Osvaldo Martinez (Monterrey), Victor Caceres (Libertad), Enrique Vera (Liga Deportiva Universitaria), Jonathan Santana (Wolfsburg), Sergio Aquino (Libertad), Eduardo Ledesma (Lanus), Nestor Ortigoza (Argentinos Juniors), Marcelo Estigarribia (Newell’s Old Boys)
Forwards: Roque Santa Cruz (Manchester City), Nelson Haedo Valdez (Borussia Dortmund), Oscar Cardozo (Benfica), Edgar Benitez (Toluca), Lucas Barrios (Borussia Dortmund), Rodolfo Gamarra (Libertad), Jorge Achucarro (Newell’s Old Boys)
Ha’way the Paraguayan Lads!
* Photo credit: AP Photo/Reinaldo D’ Santiago, if i read the slightly confusing Football Wallpapers site information correctly. If anyone knows differently or objects even to this properly credited usage, please tell me