Sat, Aug

MARVIN ANDREWS is looking forward to coming up against an old adversary when Trinidad and Tobago take on Sweden in their opening World Cup Group B match on June 10.

Henrik Larsson may have swapped Celtic's hoops for the famous stripes of Barcelona in the summer of 2004 but he left a lasting impression on the Gers' defender who insists the prolific hitman was one of the best players he has ever came up against.

The thought of marking Larsson, and his Juve strike partner Zlatan Ibrahimovich, for 90 minutes would make most footballers break out in a cold sweat but Andrews is relishing the prospect of testing himself on world football's greatest stage.

The players will now lock horns in Dortmund's vast Westfaelen Stadium and Big Marv admits that it will be a dream come true.

He said: "I have to pinch myself when I think that I will be playing in the World Cup with Trinidad and Tobago as it is a dream I have had in my heart for over 16 years now.

"I can't wait for the tournament to get started and our game against Sweden will be a great occasion for my country.

"I know that in this game I might come up against Henrik Larsson again but that is something I will look forward to.

"He is a world class player and showed at Celtic that if he gets an opportunity he will score.

"I played against him a few times when I was at Livingston so hopefully I will get the chance to mark him again at the World Cup as that would be a great experience for me."

Andrews, who celebrated his 30th birthday on December 22, always believed that he would get the opportunity to play in the World Cup finals despite many critics writing off his team's chances.

He said: "I have always believed that God would make this happen and my dreams came true two months ago when we managed to beat Bahrain to qualify.

"Playing in the World Cup is the biggest stage for any professional footballer and I remember just laughing and then crying.

"When the referee blew the final whistle the joy I felt was unbelievable because my nation has been through a lot over the past couple of years, I just broke down in tears.

"In 1989 we failed to qualify by one point which was very disappointing for everyone.

"For a long time people were saying that we would not even be able to get to the 4th place spot to get into a play-off for Germany 2006 but here we are going to the World Cup and I am really looking forward to the occasion.

"We knew that all of the 32 teams in the draw would be very strong so we did not really care who we would be up against.

"England are obviously one of the favourites to win the tournament so it will be a great moment for me and my teammates to come up against the likes of Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney.

"They have great players in every position so this game will be a challenge everyone will be looking forward to.

"We also have to play Paraguay which will be very tough but we will be going to the tournament to enjoy ourselves and do our best for our country."