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Football: SVEN'S A TRINIDUD; T & T boss slates Eriksson's long ball tactics.

Byline: By Keith Jackson

LEO BEENHAKKER branded England long-ball merchants last night and insisted Sven Goran Eriksson's tactics will eventually kill their World Cup dream.

The veteran Dutchman spoke out after seeing his Trinidad and Tobago no-hopers come within eight minutes of snatching a second successive Group B draw here in Nuremberg.

Two late goals from Liverpool duo Peter Crouch and Steve Gerrard spared England's blushes and secured their place in the knock-out stage with a game to spare.

But Beenhakker believes Eriksson is strangling the life out of his own team's chances with his negative and predictable game plan. He said: "There are different philosophies in football and I'm not saying one is better than the other.

"But Sweden and England have played a very similar and direct style against us. We knew England would lose their patience if we could stop them scoring in the first 20 minutes. I forced my players to survive that period and, as I thought, England did grow impatient.

"England have some great players in midfield and at the start of the game they used them properly and played some good football.

"But little by little they lost their patience and then the first option was the high ball for Crouch.

"Players such as Crouch invite the long ball because of their size but at that moment you are eliminating your best guys in midfield. That was our plan for England and it worked.

"I'm not being a critic here. I don't like to do that because every coach is driving on the same road, just in different cars.

"But if England and Sweden are to go on in this tournament then both of them will have to show a lot more patience.

"Yes, Crouch is one option but he is not THE option. When they play bigger and better teams they will have to use their midfield players properly.

"That's free advice. I won't charge for it."

But Beenhakker stopped short of telling Eriksson exactly how to get the best out of a star-laden midfield containing Gerrard, Frank Lampard, David Beckham and Joe Cole. When he was invited to by an English reporter he simply smiled and said: "No thank you. I'm not getting involved in that.

"That's for Mr Eriksson. He is a very qualified, fantastic coach and he has better knowledge than I do of his players."

Trinidad and Tobago - their squad brimming over with players from Scotland and England's lower leagues - could yet perform a miracle and make the knock-out rounds if they can beat Paraguay.

Beenhakker said: "The players are disappointed to lose this game.

"You could see it in the dressing room and that's the way it has to be. I certainly don't like to see players dancing and singing after they have lost a game.

"But they have nothing to be blamed for because they have played with great courage and passion and I'm sure they'll be ready for the Paraguay game in four days' time.

"I admit I didn't think we would still have a chance of qualifying after our first two games but we have worked hard for it and there is a small possibility we could go through."


OFF THE HOOK: Crouch and Gerrard came to the rescue yesterday' FREE ADVICE: Leo Beenhakker
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 16, 2006
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