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T&T vs FC St. Pauli (05-Jun-2006).
Mon Jun 5, 2006 20:06
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Time for energy.
By: Shaun Fuentes.


National team coach Leo Beenhakker very calmly took in Monday evening’s 2-1 victory over German Third Division side FC St Pauli but it was the 20,000 odd fans and the hundreds outside Millerntor-Stadion in Hamburg's who took their support to a next level as they sang jubilantly and waved Trinidad and Tobago flags throughout the evening’s proceedings.
Played under what the Germans are claiming to be unusually cold ‘summer’ conditions, the “Soca Warriors” took a comfortable 2-0 lead through Southampton striker Kenwyne Jones and St Johnstone striker Jason Scotland in the 14th and 27th minutes before the traditionally popular homeside pulled a goal back from the penalty spot through Thomas Meggle in the 53rd minute to make a match of it.
The match had an ugly scene when defender Charles, who had handled the ball for the St Pauli penalty, was then involved in a clash with an opposing player and both he and Robert Palikuca were sent off in the 83rd minute. Defender Sancho also suffered a busted lip in the match but is okay and will participate in the one training session carded for Tuesday.
Beenhakker used a team of players who had seen little action in the build up so far with midfielder Russell Latapy skippering the team with the likes of Dwight Yorke, Dennis Lawrence, Marvin Andrews, Stern John, Aurtis Whitley, Kelvin Jack, Shaka Hislop and Carlos Edwards all being rested.
This gave others such as Anthony Wolfe, Ian Cox, Atiba Charles, Clayton Ince, Brent Sancho, Cornell Glen, Kenwyne Jones and Evans Wise the chance to run out before the partisan crowd.
Only Avery John and second half substitute Chris Birchall were asked to take the pitch from among the regulars on tour so far.
Apart from the pitch action, everything from the team’s arrival at the Stadium to the 12 security officers on either side to keep the bus clear of fans on exiting would have left the T&T faithful, including Jack Warner who was at the FIFA Congress in Munich on the day, immensely proud of what had transpired.
“This is amazing. Imagine that these people have taken to us like this,” said midfielder Densill Theobald who also sit out the match with an ankle blow.
FIFA media officer Rob de Leede, who is a former Dutch national team media officer at the 1998 World Cup, and part of the current T&T contingent described it as “simply amazing”.
“What we have seen over the two days and particularly today at the match is simply amazing, We didn’t get this kind of response with the Dutch team and it shows that Trinidad and Tobago has attracted massive interest. And because you are considered underdogs as well means that the people love you even more,” de Leede told TTFF Media.
“And trust me, it will be four or five times bigger when you go to Dortmund for the Sweden match and the other two matches to follow.”
Yorke felt similarly and you could bet that he was smiling at the same time as he appears to be on a different planet like his teammates when they realize all the euphoria surrounding the “Soca Warriors”.
“It’ always good to win because that gets the confidence going,” Yorke told TTFF Media. “We have worked hard and long preparing for this stage and we will continue to fine tune ourselves over the next few days and obviously the coach has his plans and he knows what he has prepared for us. Hopefully we can get things in place and be ready to open our World Cup stage.”
He also laughed off questions as to whether the inclement weather was affecting the team.
“What do you mean? If the rain is difficult for us? No it’s not. We have a lot of guys accustomed to these conditions but hopefully it will get better for everyone involved. The most important thing for us is that we are ready for this historical moment and no it’s not really going to be hard for us against England,” he added when once again be asked as to whether he felt T&T could withstand the pressure of playing such a team. “First up we have to play Sweden and we will put all our energy into it. And so far the support has been unbelievable for us as well so far.”
Beenhakker also told the massive amount of media present that he did not feel the team had played too many games in the build up.
“When you look at all the other teams, they are all playing and it’s what you do when you are preparing for a tournament like this. I am again happy for the kind of game we got today and it was a chance for some of the other guys to play because when you have a squad of 23 players, everyone needs to be playing and ready.”
Beenhakker and company have also seen that the T&T fans have started arriving in Germany and the sounds of Maximus Dan’s Fighter was blasting at the entrance to the stadium along with several other current and retro Soca hits.
And as the players made their way onto the bus for the drive back to the Landhaus Wachtelhof Hotel, it was only fitting for one red clad fan with a T&T flag draped over him to shout “We Reach!!!!!”

Line-Up.

22-Clayton Ince, 3-Avery John (7-Christopher Birchall 46th), 2-Ian Cox, 17-Atiba Charles, 5-Brent Sancho, 16-Evans Wise, 10-Russell Latapy (capt), 20-Jason Scotland, 23-Anthony Wolfe, 15-Kenwyne Jones, 13-Cornell Glen.

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