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WARRIORS OUT

WARRIORS OUT

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Trinidad and Tobago’s Soca Warriors bowed out of the 2006 football World Cup in Germany last Tuesday with a single point, but with their standings as a football nation enhanced.

The Warriors lost their last two matches to England and Paraguay, both by 2-0 margins, after their shock 0-0 tie with Sweden.{{more}}

Though beaten and eliminated, the Trinidadians exhibited that there is latent talent in the Caribbean region.

The Soca Warriors warded off the English for 83 minutes before the bean pole Peter Crouch soared over Brent Sancho to head past Shaka Hislop in goal. Steven Gerard sealed the issue in the 89th minute with a crushing left footer.

Displaying more enterprise in their last match on Tuesday against Paraguay, the warriors applied early pressure in search of that first goal at football’s highest level.

But an own goal in the first half off the head of Sancho knocked the winds out of the Trinidadians spirited efforts.

Markedly energised in the second half, the Trinidadians made several forays and came close to scoring on at least two occasions.

The continuous surge exposed the Warriors’ back line – the South Americans capitalized, to score a second goal.

Trinidad and Tobago, one of five debutantes in the final, ended their match stronger than their two previous outings. The injection of midfielder Russell Latapy in the latter stages of the second half, added flair and creativity to the Trinidadians’ play.

Known as the “Little Magician”, Latapy, 37, created space in the Paraguayan defence, with his deft turns. He had a good opportunity, but saw his shot barely going over the bar.

Latapy along with skipper Dwight Yorke came out of retirement to help advance the Warriors to the finals.

Both may have played their last international match after about two decades representing their country at various age levels.

Sporting the highest average age of players in the thirty-two team finals, Trinidad and Tobago is the smallest nation to play in the world cup which dates back to 1930.

Trinidad and Tobago ended at the bottom of Group B, with England heading the pack, and Sweden in the runner-up position in the four-team grouping.

The Warriors are one of sixteen teams that exited the finals after the first round of competition.

The round of sixteen, a knock out format begins tomorrow with host Germany playing Sweden and Argentina meeting Mexico.

Sunday’s fixtures pit England versus Ecuador and Portugal against the Netherlands.

The quarter-finals begin Friday June 30, with the semi-finals set for July 4 and 5 and the grand final July 9.

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