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Fri, Oct

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Since qualifying for its first World Cup in Trindad & Tobago's history on Nov. 16 by virtue of a 2-1 aggregate-goal playoff victory over Bahrain, Friday's celebratory World Cup draw is the day members of the national team have anticipated, even though they knew it may provide a heavy dose of reality next summer in Germany.


Of the eight groups consisting of four countries each, the debutant Soca Warriors were drawn into Group B with highly rated Sweden, South American perennial power Paraguay, and the group'seeded team England.

Being matched with England, FIFA's 9th ranked side, was expected by Trinidad native and newly-acquired Colorado Rapids' forward Cornell Glen.

"Yesterday I was telling a friend that I thought we might get drawn with England, so being in a group with them came as no surprise to me," he said.

T&T, headed by Dutchman Leo Beenhakker, is currently ranked 51st in the world and will play Sweden in their first match.

Both Glen and Kansas City Wizard forward Scott Sealy feel facing Sweden, ranked 14th, first is a positive situation.

"That's the team we'd like to face first out of the three because England is the most difficult," Sealy said. "You want to establish yourself, find yourself, in the first game. And I think against England that would be difficult to do.

"Sweden will be a very good test, and hopefully we can get a result there and the next game is against [30th ranked] Paraguay, so we could build on [a good first result].

Said Glen, "Sweden is a difficult team but we still have the capability and the skill to beat, or tie, Sweden and make it to the other round. I'm pretty confident that we could make it to the last 16."

After becoming the smallest country to make the World Cup, Glen, Sealy, their teammates, and their countrymen have a right to be confident and excited.

"Up to today it's still a buzz," Sealy said. "Everyone's still happy and still very excited that we qualified. There are still people with flags on their cars and Soca Warriors on every sign. It's still a big deal here. I think it did a lot for the country and the buildup to the World Cup is going to be even bigger.

Having experienced the tension and thrill of qualifying for the first time and the excitement of seeing where its fate has been cast, Trinidad & Tobago can now get on with the task. But it's a job now, approached with intense seriousness, as well as thoughts of possibility, triumph, and greatness usually only reserved for nighttime dreams.

Glen and Sealy were both confident of making the 23-man squad that will fight for their lives in Germany.

""[It's a] tough group," Sealy admitted. "England is the favorite to win the group and Sweden is probably the second favorite. [To me, though,] other than England I think it's up in the air."