Trinidad & Tobago 1 Wales 2: Trinidad upstaged by Welsh Walcott

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The Independent Football

Leo Beenhakker is nearly 64 and has clocked up more air miles than Dr Who. Gareth Bale is 16 and makes his one-time room-mate Theo Walcott look long in the tooth. Yet on the day the generation game came to Graz, the gnarled veteran was upstaged by the fresh-faced rookie.

Barely a fortnight before pitting his wits against Sven Goran Eriksson, Beenhakker was caught out when Bale created a late, flattering winner for Wales against his Trinidad team. As the Southampton teenager relived the moment, the Dutchman shrugged off the idea that he should travel to Old Trafford tomorrow to watch England play Hungary.

"I will see it on DVD or video," Beenhakker said. "There are no secrets in football any more." Gone are the days when "Trini" could have arrived at the finals an unknown quantity, like North Korea in 1966. To underline the former Real Madrid, Ajax, Saudi Arabia and Mexico coach's point, Wales' victory went out live on television from Britain to Beijing.

Eriksson should therefore be thoroughly acquainted with Trinidad by 15 June, especially with their opponents playing further warm-up games against Slovenia and the Czech Republic. On the evidence of Saturday's friendly, over-confidence may be England's worst enemy.

Trinidad's strengths are the finishing of Stern John, who gave them an early lead with his 65th goal in 91 caps, and their midfield industry. Dwight Yorke, once one of the Premiership's finest strikers, and Chris Birchall, a winger with Port Vale, relished their unfamiliar roles.

Their weakness, exploited by Rob Earnshaw's first goals for Wales since the last match of the Mark Hughes era in 2004, could be a tendency to lose concentration at the back. Even the presence of 6ft 7in Dennis Lawrence could not deny James Collins a free header to make the first, while Bale and Earnshaw carved through with ominous ease for the decisive thrust.

Trinidad, who had dominated the second half, were deflated. But Beenhakker, who will join Guus Hiddink, Dick Advocaat and Marco van Basten in painting the technical area orange in Germany, was geniality itself. He cautioned their Group B rivals not to under-estimate Dutch coaches - "We're citizens of the world and bring a good philosophy of football" - or the professionalism of his players.

"People say I'm a miracle worker, and I am! Didn't anyone tell you?" he teased reporters. "Seriously, there's no miracle at all. Everyone says the culture of England or Scotland is totally different to the Caribbean or Japanese or South American cultures. That's not the point. The whole world over, there's only one football culture.

"To be successful, you must embrace it. These guys may have a different mentality to the European players. But when they enter my football world, my football culture, it's the same job whether it's Spain, Switzerland or Saudi."

Beenhakker is no mere hired hand, however, claiming he was already "West Indian in outlook" before arriving. "I've always said it was probably a little mistake by God that I was born in the Netherlands. I feel very connected to the Latin American way of life. For me, Mexico was a personal and professional paradise."

His captain, Yorke, insisted England should not take Trinidad for granted. "The whole world expects them, Sweden and Paraguay to finish above us, but there's a small possibility we can cause an upset," he said. "We're not going just to participate; we're going to compete.

"I had more text messages from Rio [Ferdinand] and Wayne [Rooney] when I got back in the dressing-room. They may think if we can't beat Wales without Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy, we've no chance. But we're still two weeks away. We'd love to have won, but we kept the ball, had lots of possession and caused problems."

For John Toshack, the result was better than the performance. In mitigation, the Wales manager had integrated four new caps into an already raw line-up, among them Bale, who became the Principality's youngest cap and must turn 17 before he can turn professional. "Impossible is nothing" ran the slogan on Trini T-shirts on a stall outside the stadium. It had taken Southampton's No 37 to prove it.

Goals: S John (32) 1-0; Earnshaw (38) 1-1; Earnshaw (87) 1-2.

Trinidad & Tobago (4-3-2-1): Jack (Dundee); Gray (CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh), Andrews (Rangers), Lawrence (Wrexham), A John (New England Revolution); Birchall (Port Vale), Yorke (Sydney FC), Theobald (Falkirk); Edwards (Luton), Jones (Southampton); S John (Coventry). Substitutes used: Samuel (Dundee) for Andrews, 34; Whitley (CL Financial) for Theobald, 78; Latapy (Falkirk) for Jones, 62.

Wales (4-4-2): Brown (Gillingham); J Collins, Gabbidon (both West Ham), Partridge (Bristol City); Robinson (Norwich), S Davies (Everton), Fletcher (West Ham), Vaughan (Crewe), Ledley (Cardiff); Earnshaw (Norwich), Cotterill (Bristol City). Substitutes used: Garner (Leyton Orient) for Brown, h-t; Nyatanga (Derby) for Partridge, h-t; Crofts (Gillingham) for Fletcher, h-t; C Davies (Verona) for Cotterill, h-t; Bale (Southampton) for Vaughan, 54; A Davies (Yeovil) for S Davies, 78.

Referee: S Messner (Austria).

Man of the match: Birchall.

Attendance: 8,100.

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