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Warriors in tough group

First timers T&T Soca Warriors will go into next year’s football World Cup in Germany in a very tough Group B which consists of seeded team England, Sweden and South America’s Paraguay.

T&T’s first match will be against Sweden on June 10 in Dortmund while its ends the first round against Paraguay on June 20 in Kaiserslautern.

T&T having qualified for its first World Cup finals, national coach Holland’s Leo Beenhakker and his technical staff were hopeful of avoiding the powerhouse teams in the draw, but instead the Soca Warriors were grouped with the English, world champions in 1966, at the end of the draw at the Messe in Leipzig, Germany, yesterday.

Beenhakker and one of his assistant coaches, fellow Dutchman Whim Rijsbergen were both in the audience and after being the last team to be placed in group B, the two former Dutch internationals could be seen exchanging a few words.

Should T&T get past the group stage, a second-round clash with the winner or runner-up of the Group A comprising Germany, Poland, Costa Rica and Ecuador awaits them.

Before to the draw, FIFA vice-president and T&T Football Federation special adviser Austin Jack Warner said he would have been happy to see the national team in a group with the English.

Team captain Dwight Yorke, who now plays for Australian club Sydney FC, also hinted that he would have liked to be put in a group with England, after spending most of his international career with English teams Aston Villa, Manchester United, Birmingham City and Blackburn Rovers.

The majority of T&T’s overseas players, who were involved in the final leg of the World Cup qualifying campaign, ply their trade in England or Scotland, which will make them familiar to the English style of play.

While most of T&T may be disappointed with the lack of luck in the draw, Concacaf rivals USA also had little reason to smile.

USA, which topped the Concacaf qualifying series ahead of Mexico, was placed in a very tough Group E where they will compete with Italy, Ghana and Czech Republic for the two spots available to the round of 16.

Mexico, the first team from Concacaf to be seeded when not being host of the competition, heads Group D which also comprises Angola, Portugal and Iran.

Spain is the seeded team in Group H which also has Tunisia, Ukraine and Saudi Arabia.

England’s coach Sven-Goran Eriksson commented yesterday that T&T would be looking forward to playing his team.

“T&T will want to beat England, but who doesn’t? I’m sure they will look forward to the match very, very much.

“They are difficult games, of course, but I am happy with the group. It could have been worse, much worse. It was a very tough group last time,” he said, according to Web site.

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Messages In This Thread

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Warriors in tough group
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