T&T World Cup comes to an End

T&T World Cup Ends

T&T World Cup Ends

Trinidad and Tobago was officially eliminated from World Cup 2006 Germany after the warriors turned out a lethargic effort in their last game losing to Paraguay by a score of 2-0. Going into the game the warriors needed to win the game by at least two goals and also needed help for England to defeat Sweden in the other group B game. As it turned out the Paraguay game for Trinidad and Tobago was for respectability because Sweden tied 2-2 with England and by doing so they kept their 40 year undefeated streak against England in tact and at the same time clinched second spot in the Group B division to advance to the second round.

The warriors was not in a good situation heading into the Paraguay game due to the fact that they did not control their own destiny and that is usually situations that teams always try to avoid. To add to their woes the warriors also had not scored a goal from their two previous games so the task of having to score more than one goal meant a different approach and a different mindset.

With goals the immediate objective it was a surprise to most knowledgeable football supporters why the Trinidad and Tobago starting line up was not reflective of an offensive game plan. I thought that coach Beenhakker was making his second major error in his selection which he managed to avoid previously when Shaka Hislop was inserted at game time for injured Kelvin Jack before the Sweden game,. Beenhakker first major error was in the first Bahrain game in Trinidad when he started Silvio Spann at right back for Syd Gray when it was obvious from the practices the synergy was not where it should have been with Spann and Carlos. This proves is savy because he corrected his mistake for the second Bahrain game, but after Paraguay game there is no more games for correction.Avery John inserted into the starting line up at left back in a game when scoring goals was the objective for the team to advance to the second round is a major error and Avery did not help his coach for the short time he was onthe field of play.

Beenhakker third strange move (not error) was the inclusion of Kevin Jack as the starting goalkeeper. If Beenhakker reason for starting Kelvin was that he (Kevin) got the warriors to the world cup from the preliminaries round then its his call and he has the right, but very early in the game it was noticeable that Kelvin had no sense of urgency in restarting the plays. He did make some saves but he was sending his defenders over centre and the result of his long kicks was a 99 % lost of possession which equates to the team going back on defense and simply not having the possession of the ball to score or sustain and offensive build up.

In fairness to coach Beenhakker the obvious lack of urgency he had no control over but I am sure it was driving him as crazy as the Soca Warriors supporters who were getting very impatient.

To this day the question remains, What was the game plan of Trinidad and
Tobago and did it ever change for the Paraguay game or could it have been that the warriors were too mentally exhausted? As coach Beenhakker responded the question to his team being physically tired he responded “if that was the case they would not have been capable of playing the second half”. From my observation it seemed that the warriors could not change
gears and probably were still in the reactive mode instead of an initiating mode.

Last but not least the question without an answer was, why was Russell Latapy overlooked as a starter. The media, warriors supporters, and warrior players anticipated his inclusion in the starting line up. In answer to that question at the after the game press conference coach Beenhakker stated that he has a tremendous amount of respect for Russell Latapy but “he did not think he could use him against opponents who had 70% of the possession and in his opinion that was not best suited for Latapy type of game”. My advise to coach Beenhakker is that he should go back and take a look at the game tape after the entrance of Russell Latapy and look at Latapy first touches, his awareness and his decision making process and then he would appreciate that this was suppose to be an offensive game that had little to do with Russells lack of defensive capabilities.

Beenhakker trend of though was perfect for the likes of Sweden and England but the overall team inability to shift gears to close off their schedule is work left undone and only skillful offensive players should have been the menu to match Paraguay style of play.

All in all the last performance of the soca warriors is comprehendible but the team starting formation should have been change to reflect a 3-4-3 formation or the personnel reflective of the objective. As was the case the formation was changed only after Paraguay scored the first goal and left back Avery John was replaced with Kenwyne Jones. There is a saying goes that “you cant be lucky and coward”.

The most disturbing though was when Beenhakker had Evans Wise and Collin Samuel warming up before the half after making his first change of Avery John. The reason for my concern was the fact that it appeared that Trinidad and Tobago was about to make their full compliment of substitutions without Russell Latapy making his last grand appearance for the Warriors at the World Cup.

The lesson to be learnt here is that everyone including Leo Beenhakker will make mistakes because he is human, but he has done the best coaching job that I can recall in the history of Trinidad and Tobago with the exception of Everard “Gally” Cumming with the Strike Squad. The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation should now take the time to convene and make a decision on head coach position of the men national senior team.

Trinidad and Tobago improved in every area in the journey to Germany from a support of a 30% disadvantage in supporters at the opening game against Sweden to a 70% supporter advantage at the last game against Paraguay. It is safe to say that Trinidad and Tobago was the sentiment and action of World Cup Germany 2006.