Sweden can't take first game lightly

June 9, 2006 at 8:41 AM
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DORTMUND, Germany, June 8 (UPI) -- Trinidad and Tobago is making its first World Cup appearance, which caused great joy, but Sweden doesn't want to give the islands an extra reason to celebrate.

Trinidad and Tobago faces Sweden in its first 2006 World Cup game Saturday in Dortmund. England and Paraguay, the other Group B teams, open their play in Frankfurt-am-Main.

There are little or no expectations for Trinidad and Tobago to advance, but just qualifying for the tournament set off large celebrations in the Caribbean. It's the first World Cup for Trinidad and Tobago and the fact that it has nothing to lose makes this a very difficult team to deal with.

Sweden has loftier aspirations. The Swedes send a young team to Germany, but one that has proved explosive offensively during qualifying. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the best of the youngsters. For a steadying force, Sweden looks to Henrik Larsson, who was voted the best Swedish soccer player of the last 50 years.

It's a mix that should serve Sweden well, and with England not on the schedule for 10 days, the Swedes should be seeing Trinidad and Tobago as a worthy, if ripe, opponent. The game with Trinidad, however, offers points on the standings that any true contender cannot let slip away.

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