Date: Thursday 15th June 2006
Location: Nuremberg (Nürnburg), Germany
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SOCA WARRIORS VS THE THREE LIONS
Well if the game versus Sweden was our historic first World Cup match, the game against England was definitely the most anticipated match ever. With superstars at every position on the field and on the bench this was our dream game. Beckham, Rooney, Lampard, Crouch, Gerrard we watch them every weekend play in the EPL and now our Soca Warriors will run out on the field and match skills and tactics with them for a 90 minute battle.
The day of the game was like Christmas morning; we just could not sleep late and could not wait to get to the stadium. This being our second World Cup game, we were not so bright eyed and 'never see come see' as we were for Swedish fans. Folks nothing could prepare you for the onslaught of English fans. OMG!!!! There were literally tens of thousands of them everywhere, starting with our hotel in Nuremberg, our lone Trini flag outside the window was surrounded by no less than a dozen England flags from the other rooms. When you say English football fan, the term hooligan comes to mind, with good reason. They are notorious; in fact, trains were stopped to remove some of them, and others were spotted in local bars and taken into custody. So, we were all thinking of what might happen after the game with all these intoxicated England fans, worse yet, if we had beaten them. Thankfully, they were very well behaved. So far they have been the most massive in terms of numbers, the loudest and they own the most cheers, we still can't get "Its coming home, football's coming home " out of our collective heads.
FIRST HALF - TWEET GAME ON!
Again, no Latas in the starting lineup and no Avery John due to his red card. Shaka Hislop back in goal (whew!) Whitley gets the start (nice move Beenie), also K. Jones gets the start so more fire power up front, but the tactics is still the same, get behind the ball and defend, defend, defend!! And, just like the first game we keeping them at bay, but unlike the first game England's attack is relentless, though at a much slower pace than one would have expected. In the first two games Shaka has faced 41 shots on goal; we dare say 80% of those came from England. They do just as expected Gerrard and Lampard try to control things, feeding the ball to Beckham who keeps on crossing it in for Owen and Crouch. We won't lie, they missed a sitter or two, the defenders turned them away a few times, and Shaka kept the rest out of the net.
The game slow pace quiets both set of fans, especially the English, who far outnumbered us Trinis. Many an English fingernail was chewed down during the game. They have the youngsters warming up early in the first half, as well as Sol Campbell. Again the ref seems to be calling the shots in favor of the other team, maybe next time they will make it easy for us and wear the same uniform as Paraguay's players so we make out who we playing against. No Cyd Gray for the 3rd game due to a 2nd yellow card, ironically Gray has been our most fouled player. After 45 minutes of clock watching its HALF TIME and the score is 0 - 0, dare we dream?
2nd HALF AKA THE HAND OF CROUCH
We kick it off again, and Trinis hearts around the world collectively skip a beat. 45 mins to glory. Back to the same tactics, they attack and we defend with our lives. Eventually, Sven can't stand the deadlock anymore and calls for Rooney the take the field in place of Owen, the English fans come to the feet and a roar goes out around the stadium "ROOOOney!!!" Trinis around the world all get goose bumps. So what if he has been out injured, this guy is poison with a capital "P"! Sven also calls for another young terror on the right side Lennon - a quick and skillful right winger. Both of these guys instantly increased the tempo of the game. Rooney with a volley and Lennon with constant runs to the right corner and feeding the ball back to a wide open Beckham.
Not to be out done, Beenie brings in Cornell Glenn who himself makes a spark upon entry letting fly with a shot that brought both sets of fans to their feet. The only other sub Beenie used was Evans Wise, our own tulum (beats) specialist, who quickly turns up an England player, but fails to deliver a killer cross. Now this game is history, it's in the books we went down admirably 2 - 0. But it won't be remember for Stern's header that was cleared off the line (looked like it crossed over to us), it won't be remember for the disallowed goal that was called back for offside (looked good to us), it won't be remembered for the 90 mph rolly polly that Dwight put down, it won't even be remembered for the cracker of a leftfooter that Gerrard let fly past Shaka (he seems to be making a habit of that, re: the recent FA Cup final).
What Trinis will always remember this game for is that we held the Mighty England goaless for 83 minutes until Peter Crouch, all 6 foot 7 inches of him decided that good sportsmanship was not part of his kit for this game when he grabbed the dreadlocks of defender Brent Shancho when going up for his header for the first goal. If you don't believe us the proof is right here ... http://england.worldcupblog.org/1/hand-of-geek-the-video-proof.html. That act right there has changed the course of TnT football history. In fact, World Football had we been able to hold on for a draw. Who is to say what would have transpired had that foul been called and the goal disallowed and the game remained 0 - 0. The scare might have worked up the Warriors, who had become noticeably tired. The passes that lead to Gerrard's 2nd goal may never have happened, who knows? We will never know, but can't cry over spilt milk.
Paraguay is next and if we can beat them by 2 goals and England beats Sweden 2nd rounds (and possibly Germany) here we come! Crouch leave your sportsmanship in the locker room for that game also. ;-) Either way, we are very proud of our Soca Warriors. It's like a Trini fan told us after the game, "When we first came to Germany, we were just happy to be here. After drawing with Sweden, there is now talk and hope in Germany and around the globe of little TnT actually making it to the 2nd round. Who would have thought?" Trinibagoians are definitely standing proud.
TNT VS ENGLAND POST GAME - FAN FEST NUREMBERG
It took us a minute to recuperate from the loss and exit the stadium, not even a few drinks made tings better this rounds. But in true Trini fashion, we still had to represent for our country and celebrate our Warriors at Fan Fest.
We have been to a couple of Fan Fest in the different German cities, and none of the live entertainment even came close to the performances we witnessed in Nuremberg. The line up was short and sweet, BUT each group or artist brought their fire punch, keeping the energy of the crowd at its highest. We talking bout Germans, Swiss, Brits, Trinis and more all jumpin', wavin' and winin'. And who ent know how to wine, learnt very fast! Allya know how Trini men quick to show a tourist how to wine!! LOL.
Sweet Soca/RnB sensation, H2o Phlo, kicked things off and got everyone "High on the Dance Floor." Then, it was Kes (of KES the Band) up next. De fella have a sweet voice, and de ladies love it bad, bad. Now since Trini full a culture and diversity, it was only fitting to hear the words, "I everrrrry Sunday morrrrrning, in dem Indian wedding dem old ladies singing, see wow dem young gyals wining . Mor Tor, Mor Tor" from none other than chutney singer Rikki Jai. Yes indeed, waistline was pelting! Then braaaaaaps, Fan Fest gone clear when Trinis hear the one and only Black Stallin start to sing "Tonight the Black Man Come to Party." No matter how many yuh hear that tune, or where you hear that tune it does get nuff forwards!!
All this time it's Roy Cape Kaiso All Stars was the band backing all the artists, so you know lead singers Blaxx and Rita Jones had to represent. Rita's "Carnival Feeling" was well received (as expected), and the Moka Jumbies (de tall men on the stilts if you are non Trini) added that nice touch to the entire atmosphere. They even performed Nigel Lewis' "Movin" which got folks on stage along with the entire crowd moving to the left and back to the right. Up next, Mr. Neil Iwer George performing his popular 2006 tune "We Reach." He quickly called the 2006 Soca Monarch Champ Shurwayne Winchester to the stage, and the rest was history! Bring de irrrrrrrrrrron . Tang tang, tang tang, tang tang! Taking the crowd yet again to another level. You know the party nice when smallies reach up on men shoulders and ting!!
Shurwayne closed out the Fan Fest and it was time for movements de night still young for TJJ, it's only about 12 midnight (we think). Next stop TriniTown's Block Party 2 at Hirsch. Movements peoples, movements!