At last! At long last...Trinidad & Tobago - after so many disappointments, after so many underwhelming performances - dug deep and buried once and for all the bitter memories of 1971, 1989, and 2001. Now the tiny Caribbean nation is in the World Cup finals, the fourth Caribbean country (and the second English Caribbean nation) to qualify for the finals, and I will guarantee you that there will be celebrations in T&T, the USA, Canada, Great Britain, and beyond. Tomorrow is a national holiday on the two islands, but unlike 1989 it will not be a bitter one.
Dennis Lawrence will always have a place in Trinidadian history. But this is also a moment for Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy, who were on the field against the USA on that fateful November day, and after a long and distinguished career will finally be on soccer's biggest stage. This is also a great achievement for Leo Beenhakker who helped right a sinking ship and lead the Soca Warriors to only one loss in their last six matches.
As for Bahrain, they went further than they had ever done before in the World Cup, although not without much controversy. They gave a brave effort, and did what they had to do in the away matches in both of their playoff series. But as Peruzovic said after the match, the game and the series turned on small details. It is bitterly disappointing to miss the finals by one goal, and it showed in Ali Baba's ejection and the poor fan reaction after the match.
So Trinidad & Tobago are in the World Cup, and CONCACAF - a region often derided and ridiculed (though not without reason sometimes!) - has as many teams in the World Cup finals as South America...would you believe it! Ich sehe Sie in Deutschland, T&T. But for now, you have some partying to do.