Date: Saturday 10th June 2006
Location: Dortmund, Germany
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TJJ On De Road To Germany...
TNT VS SWEDEN PRE-GAME
De TJJ crew coming from all over de globe - Trini, US, Canada, UK, all with one common touch down point WORLD CUP 2006 in GERMANY! Yes we know World Cup is a BIG ting, BUT this rounds it just got BIGGER little Trinidad & Tobago in de World Cup!! Yeah Yeah!! So now we are big TRINIDAD & TOBAGO and all man jack is Germany bound to support the Soca Warriors!!
After almost 2 days of traveling and a loss of 6 hours in time zone changes, WE REACH! It was a quick pit stop in London, then a hop, skip and a jump to Düsseldorf, Germany. Although it was very much expected, it was real nice to see soooo many Trinis or Trini supports a like all over de place representation was strong.
After taking in a little of Dusseldorf, it was time to get our batteries recharged for game day. Yes sir, TnT very first World Cup match; and Sweden was first up. Well if you don't know Trinis by now, we love to lime! We had to make a pit stop for some drinks at Limericks in Dortmund before kick off we love you Angostura for hooking up a sweet lime. Peoples, we reach late but let's us just tell you it was real action! Red all over, food stalls and nuff drinks flowing. On top of that, there was music from Martin Jay (Choice FM London) and even live entertainment, some Germany band (that we have no clue what their name was) and Maximus Dan. So you can imagine the energy when Maximus start to sing Fighter before the game . "Ohhhhhh oooooooo, ohhhhhh o, ooooohhh oooooo I'm a Soooooocccaa Warrior, win or lose I am a fighter!!" Man, everyone was hyped. And when you think it was time to get on the train to head to the match, brakes - Laventille Rhythm Section start to jam!! We hear lots of other rhythm sections all over de globe, but no one can touch these men dem just have a natural talent for beating iron! And you know the music sounding real sweet when folks from Sweden and Germany dancing and all.
Saturday June 10th 2006, history in the making, our first ever World Cup Finals football match. First up would be the mighty Swedes; their fans had been plenty friendly enough but that could be attributed to their expectations of an easy win over our Soca Warriors, whom one TV journalist referred to as 'journey men'. Upon arriving at the Stadium in Dortmund, it was just a sea of people all looking for their section: "Where is Red?", "You see Blue?" Having got to the stadium a mere 30 minutes before the start, we were trying to make double time to the seats, this was not helped by the lack of stadium personnel to direct you to specific entrance location and the lack of signage to lead the way, so after a brief tour of the grounds on the nearby hotel and climbing over no less than 4 fences, we finally got in line, through the check point and into the stadium. Being seated in Blocks 66-68, we had about 4 flights of stairs to climb to our seats. We aint go lie the only seats higher than ours were the rafters in the roof, but we cared not, game going to start and we in the stadium.
The teams entered the field, lined up, national anthems were played and sung, then the starters took the field. We have learned to trust Beenhacker, he got us this far, but the man does still surprise us. First off the scoreboard showed Jack in goal, but low and behold Shaka Hislop takes the field along with: Cyd Gray, Brent Shancho, Dennis Lawrence, Avery John, Dwight Yorke, Chris Birchall, Carlos Edwards, Densil Theobald (freal!!!!) Colin Samuel and Stern John as the lone forward. Before the game it was agreed that if we could survive the first 15 to 20 minutes without an early goal that would be good and we could settle down. If we could make it to the end of the first half tied then is trouble in the camp cause we is a 2nd half team. So we watching the clock as much as the match.
Tweet!!! Game on! Blood Pressure raise one time. From the start the guys looked a little tentative, who would not be in their first ever WC match, but they were in the game matching up with the Swedes, who were pressing from early, who won a few corners early on. The first real scare came from a point blank bullet that brought out the best in Shaka who could only parry it over bars, bring all the Trins to their feet cheering loudly. There was no rhythm section in the stadium, save for one lone drummer somewhere, so it was up to the fans to make some noise, which for the most part we did. "TnT we want a Goal!!!", "Ole Ole Ole Oleeee Ole". 15 minutes gone still 0-0; we in the game, the Swedes pressing, we defending with out lives, Sancho and Yorke all over the place, we even manage to string together a few passes and have an attack or two of our own. Carlos Edwards get the ball on the top of the 18 yard, after beating way a Swedish defender, and force a save from the goalie. More brilliant saves from Shaka.
TWEET ... Half Time 0-0
During the half, a picture of a Trini in a Tribe headpiece was flashed on the screens as having won "the fan of the match" prize. Our support was so passionate that a Trini winning this was no surprise . I hope we win the prize for all our matches. 2nd half start we are still in this game, and the Swedes cant be happy bout that, they launch an early attach down the right side, Avery John puts in a sliding tackle and upends the Swedish forward, the ref runs up RED CARD!!!! Trinis gone crazy, "buh what the muddah!!" It's now only the 46th minute and we are down to 10 men and now it's apparent we are playing against 12 as the ref is clearly not giving us any calls, and the red card was just the worst of the calls that went against us. So Carlos Edwards drops back into defense to fill Avery's spot and we get back to the task at hand. It also becomes apparent that the instructions were to keep Sweden out of the goal, and make our attacks if/when the chance presents itself. The Swedes are becoming frustrated at not being able to penetrate our defense, some of the best we have played to date, and then Beenie make a big big move; being short 1 man he substitutes Colin Samuel, a winger for Cornell Glenn a 2nd forward, not a defender as most would expect. In Beenie we Trust! Soon afer Cornell unleashes a bullet that rocks the crossbar, again bringing the Trinis to their feet and a groan from the Swedes. As the clock ticks closer to the 90th minute the attacks become more feverish by the Swedes and every clearance by Birchall, and every head out by Sancho, every save by Shaka bring the crowd to their feet, cheering and waving flags. As we hit the 90 minute and 3 minutes of added time are announced it seems as if time just slows down, a glitch in the Matrix perhaps, all men behind the ball and we sending everything back their way.
Then as if a dream has come through the referee blows off the game, it's over 0-0. 1 point!! Madness in the place, and it's like we just won the World Cup!!!! Is big lime inside and outside the stadium, we not leaving here anytime soon, a group of fans come chippin out the stadium, a makeshift jump up. And Warrior fans shouting repeatedly, "With 10 men with 10 men!" Rooney or no Rooney bring on England.
TNT VS SWEDEN POST-GAME
More celebration time TJJ heading back to Angostura for the after-match lime. Bring drinks!! The square ram and atmosphere perfect. Trini artist Ms. Triniti was performing and host, Mr. Slaughter, was keeping the vibes hyped. This lead up to Destra and Atlantik who came and mash up de place. But the fete went to a next level when Destra introduced Mr. Maximus "Hotta than a Radiator" Dan, who sang the Soca Warriors theme "Fighter." Nuff love to Destra - we loved her emotions at the game. Not only we were sitting right next to Destra, but we had Maximus right in we section too. What more can you ask for than Maximus himself leading the Soca Warriors chant!!
By now the whole square was going wild and everyone was in a state of euphoria, but by all accounts the scene back at home was just as mad. Yuh could just imagine how the other million people there were celebrating, but nobody in this Dortmund square would have traded places. Well the party finished too early, but when the music stopped (big up to the Soca Twins, Germany #1 Soca Sound), men left the area still chanting "only 10 men" proud of the massive achievement of our Warriors. To top off the night, when we arrived back at the hotel, we were greeted with applause from a group of England fans in the lobby . if only they knew what awaits them on the 15th! (heh heh).
Next stop Amsterdam. "Trinidad Tobago . Oh oh oooohh oh" (if you don't know, it's the popular chant by all Europeans supporting TnT).