Thu, Jun 15, 2006 - Page 19 News List

World Cup: Beckham pledges to turn on the style

BELIEVE IT While a win over Trinidad and Tobago would be enough to propel England into the last 16, the `Soca Warriors' aren't intimidated by England's superstar line-up


An English soccer supporter signs a giant English flag in central Nuremberg, Germany, on Tuesday. England will play against Trinidad and Tobago in their Group B preliminary round match today.



Englang v Trinidad & TobagoDavid Beckham has pledged England will turn on the style as they attempt to secure their passage to the World Cup second round with victory over Trinidad and Tobago here today.

The Real Madrid star acknowledged that England were well below their best during a drab opening win over Paraguay and were determined to lay down a more convincing marker against the Caribbean minnows.

"The fans are aware of how we can play and the potential we have in our team," the England captain said.

"We do want to perform, we do want to excite, and we want to prove to people that we can play at this level and we can perform like the likes of Brazil, Argentina, Holland or Italy. There's no doubt in [my] mind that we can do it," he said.

A win over the "Soca Warriors" would be enough to see England into the last 16 and leave them favorites to qualify as winners of Group B.

England's players are anxious to put the disappointment of the Paraguay match behind them, when they wilted in the heat and looked anything but world champions-in-waiting.

With cooler temperatures expected in Nuremberg for a match that will kick off at midnight tonight Taiwan time, Beckham and his teammates are aware that anything other than a victory over Trinidad will be viewed as a disaster.

But even though Beckham has admitted it would be a "huge disappointment" if England failed to register a victory in a match they expect to win, he warned there would be no danger of complacency.

"We're not under-estimating them as a team but we have got a stronger team than them and we should do well and hopefully beat them. But this is football and the World Cup and we've seen already that teams that aren't as big as other teams can still play well and do well," he said.

Trinidad and Tobago pulled off the first shock of the tournament in their opening match, holding Sweden to a 0-0 draw despite being reduced to 10 men.

England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson had been reported to be considering introducing Wayne Rooney from the substitutes bench against Trinidad but it is now unlikely the Manchester United player will feature.

Rooney has returned to full contact training and is shooting at full force with his right foot, which has recovered from a fractured metatarsal bone.

Figures in the England camp are worried however that in his determination to prove his match fitness and spearhead the World Cup challenge, Rooney could injure himself again.

Either way, Eriksson is expected to continue with the 4-4-2 line-up that started against Paraguay, meaning that Michael Owen will get another chance to play himself into form alongside Peter Crouch.

Trinidad meanwhile will go into the match looking to write another chapter in what is rapidly emerging as the fairytale story of the finals.

Coventry striker Stern John said Trinidad and Tobago, the smallest nation ever to participate in the World Cup, had already proved they were worthy of their place in the finals.

"We know the England game will be very tough," John said. "You are only as good as your last game but we ground out a result against Sweden and hopefully we can build on it."

Trinidad's Dutch coach Leo Beenhakker -- who must be the only coach in the World Cup who bicycles to training -- has been in a relaxed mood this week, allowing fans into practice sessions for team autographs.

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