Paraguay 2 Trinidad & Tobago 0: Paraguay spoil the party after Sancho slip

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The Independent Football

T&T failed to explode. An own goal, and a late second from Paraguay, ended their World Cup adventure while their failure to find the opposition net even once in their three games will be an unwanted memory Trinidad & Tobago take home with them.

It is, however, one that will only slightly muddy the glorious campaign accomplished by the tournament's smallest participants while their coach Leo Beenhakker has now taken charge of seven World Cup games - four previously with the Netherlands - without a victory, which is a record.

But it would be a rank injustice if that is what the Dutchman is remembered for. He and a modest group of players, the self-styled Soca Warriors, can hold their heads up high.

Captain Dwight Yorke, who hinted that he might, once again, retire, said afterwards: "This is a moment of history for the country, the people, the supporters. The way we have played and conducted ourselves makes me very proud."

His "boyhood dream" ended without the passage into the second round that Yorke believed was achievable, even if the Paraguayans were not the demoralised bunch T&T hoped they might be after failing to progress for the first time at a finals since 1958. Instead the South Americans played with a freedom which, in truth, meant their victory was warranted.

Beenhakker's decision to recall Kelvin Jack in goal, instead of the capable Shaka Hislop, proved to be an error. He saved smartly from Roque Santa Cruz's header inside the first five minutes, but then appeared hesitant and eminently beatable, often rushing from his goal unconvincingly or pushing shots from distance back into his own area.

Time and again the Paraguayans peppered his goal with crosses which were half-cleared until, finally, Robert Acuna swung in a free-kick which was glanced on by Julio Dos Santos only for Brett Sancho to head into his own net.

T&T made a better fist of it after the break by speeding the game up. They had to and poured forward, Beenhakker throwing on extra attackers and a low skimming cross by Carlos Edwards just evaded Yorke while the Luton defender did better with another centre, although it was brushed off Stern John's head by Bobadilla.

Paraguay, with Dos Santos and Paredes in particular, reminded T&T of the threat they could create before Beenhakker finally introduced Russell Latapy for his first appearance of the competition.

The 37-year-old made a difference. Immediately he set up Yorke, but his shot flew over, and then he met Kenwyne Jones's knock-down with a fierce half-volley which only just cleared the bar. It would have been a wonderful ending, but T&T were tiring badly and then Paraguay broke away and scored a fine goal.

Substitute Nelson Cuevas exchanged passes with Santa Cruz before beating Jack with a low shot from just inside the area. With that the fairy tale was over. "We had possibilities but scoring is our problem," Beenhakker said. "We played with courage, with confidence. We didn't want to go home now. But we have to and leave with pride."

Paraguay (4-4-2): Bobadilla (Libertad); Nunez (Estudiantes), Gamarra (Palmeiras), Caceres (River Plate), Caniza (Cruz Azul); Barreto (NEC Nijmegen), Paredes (Reggina), Acuna (Deportivo La Coruna), Dos Santos (Bayern Munich); Valdez (Werder Bremen), Santa Cruz (Bayern Munich).

Substitutes used: Cuevas (Pachuca) for Valdez (66); Manzur (Santos) for Caceres (78); Da Silva (Toluca) for Caniza (88).

Trinidad & Tobago (4-1-4-1): Jack (Dundee); Edwards (Luton), Lawrence (Wrexham), Sancho (Gillingham), A John (New England Revolution); Yorke (Sydney FC); Glen (Los Angeles Galaxy), Birchall (Port Vale), Whitley (San Juan Jabloteh), Theobald (Falkirk); S John (Coventry).

Substitutes used: Jones (Southampton) for A John , 31; Wise (Waldhof Mannheim) for Glen, 41; Latapy (Falkirk) for Whitley (67)

Booked: Paraguay Paredes, Dos Santos; Trinidad & Tobago Sancho, Whitley.

Referee: Roberto Rosetti (Italy)

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