Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Men’s football team will depart for Sao Paolo on Thursday night with somewhat of a contented feeling despite going down 3-0 to Argentina at the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires.
Goals by Rodrigo Palacio, Javier Mascherano and Maxi Rodriguez led the homeside to the win before a partisan crowd of 45,000 plus fans which included just over one hundred fans from T&T who made their presence felt as the sounds of Iron and Tassa echoed throughout the River Plate venue from the section behind the T&T goal in the first half.
Defeated but not disgraced nor demoralized was the general consensus following the match as even some of the Argentine locals acknowledged the “Soca Warriors” for their brave showing as they held the two-time World Cup champions scoreless for 44 minutes.
President of the Republic, His Excellency Anthony Carmona said to TTFA President Raymond Tim Kee that he was proud of the team’s display against one of the World Cup favourites. And the impact made by the T&T supporters, through the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and the TTFA in Buenos Aires left a lasting impression. There were several T&T Flags being waved by Argentines both before and after the match in the streets outside the match venue and friends were made on both sides.
T&T head coach Stephen Hart, understandably far from happy with the result, was pleased with the team’s ability to maintain its shape for large parts of the match.
“I think there was a definite difference in the quality of the two teams. But certainly there were some aspects of our game that showed some positive signs and there are some things we can take from this game,” Hart said.
“The speed of which Argentina did everything, not just in how they possess the ball and how they took advantage of our errors but the speed in which the forced us to play. They forced us into making a lot of errors. Quite frankly the ball was another opponent tonight as we were unable to possess it as we should.
“It’s important for us as nation, for our footballers, at very level, from a youth level and not only when you reach senior, to play teams of this quality because they force you to concentrate for the full game and the intensity at which they do things creates a faster playing environment.
“I told the players that we kept our shape well. We didn’t make it easy for Argentina. That is something I was pleased with. But when we won the ball we did not possess it well and mount any serious attacks. We can do better than that.
“We conceded two goals sloppily. We should have attacked the ball for the first goal. The second one was a well-played free kick and there was not much you can do about that
“I would have liked to see them put under some more pressure with better ball possession and moving the ball shorter and quicker. We were not able to do that and that’s because of the quality of Argentina. When they got possession they knew how the slow the game down and then speed the play up and what was really impression was their counter attack and their transition,” Hart added.
The T&T team is scheduled to arrive in Sao Paolo around 2am on Qatar Airlines for Sunday’s match against Iran at the Corinthians Training Facility. After Australia, the first of the 31 teams to land in Brazil, Croatia and Iran arrived in Brazil on Tuesday.
Iran will open its World Cup campaign in Group F against Nigeria on June 16 in Curitiba. They will also face Argentina on June 21 and Bosnia and Herzegovina, June 25.
Iran head coach Carlos Queiroz, said that his team would do everything possible to have a successful campaign at the World Cup.
"As we came from the other side of the world, we arrived earlier to start our preparations. We have earned the right to play against the best; now it is time to do it. We have 90 minutes in each game, and we will use them the best way,” Queiroz said.