Paraguay grabbed morale-boosting 2-0 win against Greece in Switzerland last night, giving them heart for World Cup rigours awaiting them in South Africa. The result will have pleased quite a number of Sunderland fans, too …
To some, it’s just a spot of World Cup fun. Others are taking it a bit more seriously. And a few see it as an outrageous act of treason. But Salut! Sunderland makes no apology for declaring itself the unofficial site for Paraguay in the forthcoming World Cup.
Back on May 6, we set the ball rolling with this rallying cry:
In any game in which England are not playing or would not be disadvantaged by a Paraguay victory, we want Gerardo 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.
It did not go far enough for some. The omission of Darren Bent from the finalised England squad has left some Sunderland fans vowing to support Paraguay come what may. There is dissent within Salut! Sunderland‘s own ranks – see recent comments from Pete Sixsmith and a regular contributor, Jeremy Robson.
But wanting Paraguay to do well while not wishing harm to England’s cause seems a decent compromise. With the presence of Paulo da Silva and our new recruit Cristian Riveros in Martino’s squad, and the added piquancy of those red and white stripes, there is reason enough to hope they can confound the bookies’ judgement; I found odds of anything from 40-1 to over 100-1 in a quick search today.
If your Spanish is up to it, you’d get a flavour of Paraguayan support from the PRENSA Selección Paraguaya de Fútbol Facebook site. Even if it is not, there are photos – such as the one reproduced here (with, we hope, their blessing) – and a couple of clips.
And for Mackems based in southern England, there is the chance of meeting up with other Sunderland supporters for games involving Paraguay as they are screened at the Nueva Costa Dorada bar in central London (Hanway Street off Tottenham Court Road).
Paraguay’s first game of the tournament couldn’t be easier – against the reigning champions Italy on June 14 in Cape Town. In his Paraguay World Cup blog, Victor Gauto predicts that both Sunderland men will get a start. The other Group F matches involving Paraguay will be against Slovakia at Mangaung/Bloemfontein on June 20 and New Zealand at Polokwane on June 24.