After a long four-year wait, the 2018 World Cup in Russia is a mere four months away. This year Sunderland will be represented by players like Costa Rican international Bryan Oviedo. In the past Sunderland players have played in several World Cup tournaments. So, how have Sunderland players fared in the past? Let’s now have a look at 5 memorable ones from past FIFA World Cups. Asamoah Gyan The Ghanaian international striker, Asamoah Gyan, signed with Sunderland in 2010 scoring ten goals during his 34 match stint with the club. On the international stage, Gyan became Africa’s all-time leading scorer in World Cup history. His record-breaking goal was against Portugal during their crucial group stage match in Brazil in the 2014 World Cup. Passing the record set by fellow African Roger Milla of Cameroon, Gyan, only 28 at the time, was one of the hottest Sunderland players to star on the world stage.
Niall Quinn The Republic of Ireland international striker, Niall Quinn, joined Sunderland in August of 1996 and quickly became a legend winning both the Sunderland and North-East Sportswriters’ Player of the Year awards in 1999 after scoring 21 goals in the team’s Division One season. In his appearance at the Italia 90 World Cup, Soccer Ireland reports that Quinn famously scored the equaliser in the group match against Holland. This crucial point allowed Ireland to qualify for the knock out rounds ahead of Romania.
Jason McAteer Irish international midfielder, Jason McAteer, started playing with the Sunderland in 2001. He played 27 matches in his first season with the club and after relegation to the First Division the following year, he remained for another year. Scoring the only goal against the Dutch in the 2002 World Cup qualifiers, Lottoland highlighted that McAteer’s goal was instrumental in ensuring their qualification for the World Cup. In 1994, he was also involved in Ireland’s famous 1-0 victory over Italy.
Jermain Defoe The England international striker, Jermain Defoe, started his time with The Black Cats in 2014 and played with the club until his transfer to Bournemouth in 2017. In 2011, Defoe became the 20th player to score over 100 Premier League goals and is currently the seventh-highest goal scorer in Premier League history. During the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, it was Defoe’s goal against Slovenia, in the group matches, which sent England to the round of 16. The Telegraph states that Defoe achieved his childhood dream by scoring the winning goal for England in a major tournament.
Thomas Sorensen Danish international goalkeeper, Thomas Sorensen, began his career at the Stadium of Light in the 1998/1999 season while Sunderland were still a First Division team. Helping them reach the Premier League the following season, Sorenson smashed the club’s clean sheet record with no less than 29 clean sheets in 45 games. During the 2002 World Cup in Korea & Japan, he was instrumental in propelling his team to first in their group ahead of Senegal, Uruguay and France to secure a second-round match against England. He also played in the 2010 World Cup despite picking up an elbow injury before the tournament. Such was his importance to the Danish team, that he was included in the final squad with the injury. He became fully fit in time and played in all three group games.