By ZAID MOHAMMED
TRINIDAD AND Tobago footballers will open their 2006 World Cup Football campaign against Sweden in Dortmund on June 10.
The Warriors, who will be playing on international football’s biggest stage for the first time were yesterday drawn in Group "B" with top seeds England, Sweden and Paraguay.
The draw for the tournament which starts on June 2 with hosts Germany playing Costa Rica in Munich was made yesterday at a gala ceremony in Leipzig.
Witnessing the draw was Trinidad and Tobago’s FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation Oliver Camps and national team coach Leo Beenhakker.
Also in Leipzig are members of an official delegation representing Trinidad and Tobago.
After the opening encounter against Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, the smallest nation to qualify for the World Cup, play top seeds England in Nuremberg, famous for staging the World War II Tribunal.
And the final match in the preliminary round will be against South Americans Paraguay on June 20 in Kaiserslautern.
Yesterday football experts and sports writers in Sweden were sent scambling to gather information about the Warriors in expectation of the opening group match.
Top Swedish daily newspaper Expressen plan to publish a special supplement today featuring stories about Trinidad and Tobago football.
Their top football writer Anders Sandqvist called Newsday yesterday from Stockholm requesting information about the team members and the expectations of Trinidad and Tobago playing his country in Dortmund.
He said not much is known about Trinidad and Tobago footballers in Sweden but confessed that he has heard about team captain Dwight Yorke, a former Manchester United star who now plays for Sydney FC in Australia.
Sandqvist also revealed that the Swedes were very interested in learning about the style of play of Trinidad and Tobago and their improvement under Dutch coach Leo Beenhakker. He said although the Swedes do not know much about Trinidad and Tobago they are not underestimating their rivals but hope to start their campaign with a victory before playing Paraguay in Berlin on June 15.
On June 20 they face their old rivals England whom they have not lost against since 1968.
Sandqvist said yesterday the Swedes were not very worried about playing England or topping the group and expressed great confidence in the abilities of their top strikers.
He spoke highly about Zlatan Ibrahimovic who is of Bosnian ancestry; Henrik Larson a record breaking scorer for Celtic in the Scottish league who now plays for Barcelona in Spain; and Arsenal midfielder Fredrik Ljungberg.
The Swedes, the Expressen writer said, will focus on Trinidad and Tobago since they appear to be an unknown quanity in Group "B" and could be contenders along with England for the runners-up spot in the group.
Winners of Group "B" will face the runners-up of Group "A" and vice versa.
This match-up in the round of 16 poses an intriguing proposition. Should Trinidad and Tobago emerge runners-up in Group "B" they will come up against hosts Germany who are expected to top Group "A" ahead of Ecuador, Poland and Costa Rica.
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