Lawrence confident of taking full measure of Crouch in clash of giants

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The Independent Online

Dennis Lawrence could not handle little Robert Earnshaw, but believes he will have no problems if he is confronted by England's striker Peter Crouch at the World Cup.

The Wrexham centre back is a giant himself, standing 6ft 7in at the heart of the Trinidad & Tobago defence who will have to contend with England in Nuremberg on 15 June.

Wales' 5ft 8in striker Earnshaw bagged two goals in their 2-1 win over the Trinidadians in Austria on Saturday. But Lawrence believes he will be a match for Crouch if the gangling Liverpool frontman, also 6ft 7in, leads England's attack.

The 32-year-old said: "We are both big guys, but I have played against people as big as Crouch and it's not a problem for me.

"Ben Futcher, who plays for Grimsby, is 6ft 7in too and I had to deal with him. So playing against Crouch is not going to be much different from what I have come up against before."

Trinidad & Tobago, who are in a training camp near Graz, Austria, hop across the border tonight for another warm-up match against Slovenia in Celje, where Lawrence believes the smallest nation in the finals can iron out their problems after the Wales defeat.

He said: "We have time to work on those parts of our game that didn't go so well against Wales, but the only major downside for us was the scoreline.

"We have got a couple more friendlies and, hopefully, we'll be able to get the right results, but it's all about being right for the opening game against Sweden."

Lawrence denied the Caribbean side are focusing on the England game at the expense of the other group matches against Sweden and Paraguay.

"That one is on the back-burner as far as we are concerned because we have to make sure we are prepared physically and mentally for the Sweden match," he said.

"No one game is bigger than any other for us and we intend to take the tournament step by step. We have nothing to fear and everything to gain, so we are approaching things in that frame of mind.

"There's no reason why we can't cause a few surprises in Germany. If we believe in ourselves, as we do, who is to say what might happen?"

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