The season might be over, but the international contingent at Sunderland still have had a few things to do before they head off on their holidays for the summer.
The likes of Simon Mignolet, Cristian Riveros, Stephane Sessegnon plus more are all in action in Euro 2012 qualifiers and African Cup Of Nations Qualifiers. Not to mention Jordan Henderson and former loan star Danny Welbeck are in action for the England U21's in the European Championships held in Denmark this summer.
So if you want to know how the lads did, you've come to the right place as we've got a full run down on how the boys did this weekend...
Starting on Friday night (June 3rd) there was international matches across Europe and Africa which will have held interest to the hardcore Sunderland fan.
We begin our sojourn in Belgium, where Simon Mignolet won his 3rd cap having seemingly entrenched himself now as Belgium's No.1 Keeper. The home side took the lead through Marvin Ogunjimi, however the Turks soon equalised through Burak Yilmaz.
This proved to be one of only a few things Mignolet had to do in the game, as Turkey spent most the game on the back foot, creating little. Arda Turan eluded the Belgian left back with ease before cutting the ball back from the byline to Yilmaz to finish low from close range. As for Mignolet's part in all this, I feel he could have done better. Immediately rushing to the front post, exposing the rest of the goal when there was absolutely no way Arda could have scored from the angle he was at.
This was pretty much the only action for current SAFC players on Friday, however I'll provide you with a little update on how some of our former and potentially future SAFC players did. We're good like that.
Ghana beat Congo 3-1 in an African Cup Of Nations Qualifier in Kumasi. Whilst Asamoah Gyan was still serving a suspension, Sulley Muntari & John Mensah both managed to get on the pitch for the Black Stars. Mensah was fairly unspectacular throughout, however showed no signs of 'injury' which kept him out of the West Ham game, completing the full 90 minutes.The same could not be said of Sulley Muntari, who had an absolute shocker. Sloppy play, terrible free-kicks, and was amongst the worst players on the Baba Yara Stadium pitch.
Over to Chisinau, where SAFC player to be (seems so anyway) Seb Larsson played a large part in Sweden's 4-1 win over Moldova. Larsson played the full game, and grabbed an assist. As you might have guessed from the scoreline, Sweden dominated from start to finish with Larsson playing wide on the right in a 4-4-2 formation.
Larsson's main involvement was the assist, although debate could be held on whether it was a 'true' assist. It looked more like a strike from distance which he got horribly wrong, and it fell the way of Johan Elmander who managed to direct it in. Elmander himself looking quite surprised at scoring, and confused by the whole situation.
Ex-SAFC man Tobias Hysen also made a cameo appearance. Tobias started the game, but was withdrawn after 40 minutes through injury.
And that just about does it for Friday. On Saturday, there was only the one Sunderland man in action - Cristian Riveros playing for Paraguay against Bolivia. Or for us in the UK it was the small hours of Sunday morning, but not to worry, you didn't miss much.
Crisitan Riveros played 73 minutes of Paraguay's 2-0 win over Bolivia. Goals coming from former SAFC target (if you believe everything you read) Lucas Barrios in the first half, and Federico Santander in the second. For anyone that's watched Paraguay since he came to us, you'll know what I mean here... Riveros had his usual Riveros-esque game. Lots of sideways passing, keeping things ticking over without offering a great deal. At 2-0, and the game dead and buried Riveros was withdrawn within minutes of the second goal.
Also on Sunday, two more Sunderland lads in action, with Stephane Sessegnon's Benin taking on Ivory Coast in an African Cup Of Nations Qualifier, whilst Jordan Henderson played a part for England U21's in their final warm up before this summer's championships.
Jordan started in England U21's 2-0 win over Norway, and looked rather sharp throughout. In an advanced central midfield position his passing was first class, and it was his key ball over the top to Ryan Bertrand which set up Daniel Sturridge for the first goal. Henderson continued to impress throughout the game, spraying passes all over the place with great accuracy, and if there was any deal (there isn't) he added about £2m on to his price-tag. Hendersons play was a highlight of what was an up and down first half, as Jordan was withdrawn at half-time.
Danny Welbeck also played the first 45 minutes, however was fairly lacklustre as he looks to return from the injury that kept him out of the Sunderland team down the end of season stretch.
Stephane Sessegnon rounded out the weekends action featuring for Benin against Ivory Coast on a pitch that the Sunday League would be ashamed of. I'm sure Benin will be quick to blame the pitch rather than their own hideous play for themselves falling 3-0 down after 35 minutes. Sess looked frustrated in the first half playing on the left of midfield as nobody seemed able to play the ball within 5 yards of him.
The second half however was a different story. I've no idea what was said at half-time but 'The Squirrels' were a different team, and Sessegnon was turning the game on it's head single-handed. First he scored a sublime goal. Taking the ball on on his chest around 30 yards out, turn, one touch, and bang it's in the bottom corner. Minutes later our boy rifled a penalty into the top left corner of the net, and very much game on, or at least it was for a while. Benin's defensive lapses from the first half continued and they eventually slumped to a 6-2 defeat. The two goals were really all Sessegnon contributed really, but it was infinitely more than his teammates.
Ahmed Elmohamady started on the right for Egypt in their 0-0 draw against South Africa in an African Nations Cup Qualifier, and he was involved plenty. First squandering a good headed chance from a corner, then on the stroke of half-time he wasted the best chance of the game. A cross put in by Sayed Moawad eluded everyone falling to Elmo just 8 yards out, who fired straight at the keeper unmarked. Not really a game to remember for the lad, sent in a couple of cracking crosses mind, although we could say to sum this up really is 'typical Elmo'. The draw saw Egypt out of next years AFCON, which is good for us as Elmo won't be going, and Egpytian fans seemed hell bent on ruining the game by pointing green lasers all over the bloody place to try and distract the Bafana.
And that just about does it for this weekends games, on Monday you'll be able to see Asamoah Gyan starting for Ghana against South Korea. Gyan could well be lining up against his future strike partner (if you believe everything you read) Korean striker Ji Dong-Won. Plus there are various other internationals throughout the week. Paraguay have a couple of games if you want to see Riveros do an impression of a poor mans Paul Bracewell.
In the coming weeks we're keeping a very close eye indeed on the U21 Championships, analysing every moment involving Jordan Henderson, and looking our for some other future stars. Be sure to check back.