T&T Just Short Against England

T&T Just Short Against England

T&T Just Short Against England




The long awaited historic World Cup match between Trinidad and Tobago and England lived up to its billing for the dramatics before a sold out crowd of 41,000 at Nuremberg Stadium in Germany, England found out the hard way that the Soca Warriors belong on the same field with likes of Beckham and Rooney.  Before the game one could tell what the astute game plan of coach Leo Beenhakker was going to be by his starting line up. He changed his philosophy and as a result implemented the more favorable 4-4-2 formation with the addition of Kenwyne Jones as the second striker with Stern John. He also brought in Otis Whitely for Collin Samuel and kept Carlos Edwards in the vacant right full back position. Carlos ended the Sweden game as the right full back when Cyd Gray was switched to the left fullback position due to the red card given to Avery John at the left back position. The red card carried Avery automatic one game suspension nto the England game. Unlike the Sweden game the England game started a little better for T&T in the early moments but by the ten minute mark England had taken control of the game. The stage was set for another defensive performance by the warriors but it was comforting to know that the warriors had proven that they can defend their goal against the elite teams in their Group B division, and quite frankly England offensive trusts were not as potent as Sweden at that point of the game.

The warriors defensive strategy was forced into effect earlier than Beenhakker anticipated and as a result the game now took on the pattern of the Sweden game. However coach Eriksson must have been concerned that his team could have suffered the same faith as Sweden and got impatient and frustrated by the defensive tactics of Trinidad and Tobago. His blood pressure must have been over the limit when Lampard shot high from close up inside the six yard box from a pass from Michael Owens. England best scoring chance of the first half was again muffed when Peter Crouch found himself unmarked at the last post and went for a spectacular one time volley instead of the basic inside of the foot stab to secure a goal with also enough time to control the ball and put it into the net.

The warriors had some chances of their own but their best chance came from a Stern John header was cleared off the England goal line by Frank Lampard.

The first half ended 0-0 which was good news for the now extremely vocal warriors supporters in the stadium who were also energetic in their support of Trinidad and Tobago and in no uncertain terms were letting the England supporters know that T&T was prepared to Rock and Roll with England (the big boys) right down to the wire.

As expected, the second half began as a continuation of the first with England coming out more aggressive from the get go in an effort to ware the warriors defense down or to score an early goal that might soften the T&T defense a bit. The warriors was having not of that and at every lost of possession aall their players drop behind the ball and assumed a man to man zonal defensive position to circumvent England hopes of drawing them out of their positions to invade the vacated space. Coach Eriksson had enough and substituted Michael Owens and Jamie Carragher with Wayne Rooney and Aaron Lennon to add more fire power but the warriors defense was bending but not breaking. This was the best coordinated team defense that Trinidad and Tobago has played in their short football history. However on the down side their defense could seldom advanced pass the half line when the team was on offense to neutralize England offensive speed in the event of the counter attacks with Rooney, Lampard. and Gerrard. Beenhakker game plan was to capitalize on his set plays on offense which helped in the conservation of energy.

As the game progressed the warriors were being worn down and in the 83 minute England seven foot striker Peter Crouch made use of a rare favorable match up against Bent Sancho by overpowered his defender to score a perfect header from a David Beckham signature cross. The goal deflated the normally courageous soca warriors and as a result they conceded a second goal at the 91 minute mark after Gerrard Steven dribbled inside from the right flank and sizzled a roofer past a screened Shaka Hislop.  The second goal given up by T&T could turn out to be detrimental for
warriors in the goal difference category compared to Sweden and may hurt in their quest to advance to the second round.

Beenhakker concerns at this point should be the lack of production by his offensive players who will have to produce for the team to advance. This is the prime situation for the litte magician Russell Latapy to get his first World Cup start for Trinidad and Tobago in a situation that suits his style of play and an opposition who would not be as aggressive as Sweden and England. He is still one of the best creators of plays on the Soca Warrior team and the warriors supporters would go in a non stop frenzy everytime latapy touches the ball which will be the best send off Russell Latapy could get in his last international game for Trinidad and Tobago against Paraguay.

In order to advance Trinidad and Tobago will have to win by two goals or more against Paraguay and England will have to defeat Sweden by two goals or more.

T&T Line Up; Shaka Hislop, Brent Sancho, Syd Gray, Dennis Lawrence, Carlos Edwards, Chris Birchall, Dwight Yorke (cap’t) Autis Whitely, Densil Theobald (85), Stern John, Kenwyne Jones (70),

Substitutes Ian Cox, Russell Latapy, Collin Samuel, Cornell Glenn (70),
Evans Wise (85), Atiba Charles, Jason Scotland, Clayton Ince (GK), Anthony
Wolfe, Avery John, Marvin Andrews, Kelvin Jack (GK).

England Line: Paul Robinson (GK), Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard, Rio
Ferdinand, John Terry, David Beckham (Capt), Frank Lampard, Michael Owen,
Joe Cole, Jamie Carragher, Peter Crouch.

Substitutes: Wayne Rooney (58), Sol Campbell, David James, Wayne Bridge,
Owen Hargreaves, Jermaine Jenas, Michael Carrick, Aaron Lennon (58), Stewart
Downing (75), Scott Carson (GK), Theo Walcott, Gary Neville