Warriors still battling
June 16, 2006

Warriors still battling

Trinidad and Tobago’s sojourn in the 2006 World Cup continued yesterday with the much-anticipated meeting with the highly fancied England.

Whatever the outcome of the match up with the English, the Soca Warriors have earned the respect and admiration of the football world.

More positive expectations are in the offing when Trinidad and Tobago meet Paraguay next Tuesday, June 20.{{more}}

They shocked the football world earning a point in their opening match last Saturday against Sweden.

Little was thought of the debutantes Trinidadians going into the match, but at the final whistle, the score read 0-0.

The “victory” against the 16th placed on FIFA rankings was sweeter, as the Soca Warriors played with ten men for the greater part of the second half.

A second bookable offence by Avery John, in the 46th minute reduced the Caribbean side numerically, but spurred them mentally as greater tenacity followed.

The Soca Warriors were kept in the match by some timely saves by goal keeper Shaka Hislop, a late replacement for the injured Kelvin Jack.

Hislop, one of the senior members of the squad was at his best between the uprights, denying Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Allback. His efforts seemed to have engendered self believe in the team that ranks 47th in the world.

Dutch-born coach Leo Beenhakker employing a packed midfield, with Stern John playing the role as a lone striker, and skipper Dwight Yorke lingering deep in the defence, added stability to the Soca Warriors’ cause.

Boldly, Beenhakker replaced defender Colin Samuel with the attacking minded Cornell Glenn in the 52nd minute.

Glenn added some impetus to the Trinidad and Tobago attack. His rasping right footer mid-way in the half skimmed the bar, while at the other end Hislop kept the Swedish strikers at bay.

Hugs, smiles, cheers and partying from the many Caribbean supporters who journeyed to Germany were evident at the end of the match, as the Swedish fans hung their heads in disbelief.

It was the first time since 1938 that a Caribbean team earned a point in the opening match. Cuba tied with Romania 3-3, the first team from the region to play on the world stage.

Trinidad and Tobago, the fourth team to reach football’s most prestigious tournament following Haiti in 1974 and Jamaica in 1998.