Beenhakker enlists media to help qualify for last 16

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The Independent Football

Trinidad & Tobago know they need England to beat Sweden - as well as themselves defeating Paraguay - if they are to make the astonishing progression into the World Cup's last 16.

That is why much of the attention yesterday focused on what could happen in Cologne rather than the preparations for their own final Group B match in Kaiserslautern.

Coach Leo Beenhakker is old enough and experienced enough to know that phone calls - he claims to have dialled Sven Goran Eriksson's number "seven times in the last 24 hours" - and text messages from Dwight Yorke to his former Manchester United team-mates will not be enough.

Instead he is relying on the power of the media. "There is always the press to consider," the Dutchman said. "They have been writing some horrible things about them [England]. It is actually quite funny - until they start saying things about me. England certainly won't want to give the media any more ammunition."

Bullets have been flying so far in the campaign and Beenhakker knows that although England can afford to lose and still go through it will only add to the pressure if they do. There is also professional pride.

"The England players won't work any harder because Dwight has been in touch," he said. "They will work hard because they want to win. That is their job. Great players have an ambition to be the best. They hate losing. You do not just give games away."

After the goalless draw with Sweden and the late defeat by England, Beenhakker also knows that the Soca Warriors now have to shift the emphasis to attack and he expects the Paraguayans' style of play to be more suited to them.

It also remains to be seen how the South Americans react. Having reached at least the second round at the last three World Cups they participated in, their early elimination has hit hard. Coach Anibal Ruiz will leave his post after today's game and seemed on the verge of tears after the loss to Sweden while the gamble on the fitness of striker Roque Santa Cruz has not worked.

Still, the 35-year-old captain Carlos Gamarra will be making his 110th and final international appearance and with nothing to lose the Paraguayans could be a liberated, dangerous threat to T&T's prospects.

"Everything in football is based on talent - and all our opponents have more of that than us," Beenhakker said. "My team has played with courage and passion and it has not been fazed by the pressures which come with playing in big games like these. They could not have given me any more and I can ask no more of them."

Despite a career spent in jobs including Real Madrid and Ajax, the 64-year-old indicated he would be happy to negotiate a longer deal to stay in his present post. "I have reached a stage in my career where it is not about working with big clubs or star names," he said. The right combination of results tonight will make his departure even less likely.