The hopes of a nation…Italia 1990.

Hasley Crawford stadium on November 19, 1989, in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. One game away from Italia 1990.  If you are a true Soca Warrior – aka Strike Squad –  supporter you know how that match ended.

I was in the stadium that unfaithful day as the FIFA World Cup aspirations of a nation came tumbling down via a one to nil loss to the US Men’s National team at home.  A draw was needed to qualify for our first World Cup Italia 1990, and we lose at home!

Fast forward sixteen years,  I travelled to Trinidad to watch the Soca Warriors attempt to qualify for our first trip to the World Cup in Germany via home and away playoff against Bahrain.  The Soca Warriors eventually qualified, and Trinidad & Tobago became the smallest country ever to be eligible for the FIFA World Cup.

World Cup
Trinidad v Sweden Germany 2006

To the surprise of many football aficionados the Soca Warriors tied their first match against Sweden, and in true Trini fashion, it was like celebrating a WIN!  Dortmund Germany erupted in a sea of Red, White, and Black for a post-game fete Trini style.  A subsequent loss to England was the same result, we were just happy to be competing on the world’s stage.

England loss, bottle and spoon out of the stadium

“I am ah soca warrior
I say win or lose I am ah fighter”

-Maximus Dan

I suspected at that time that Germany 2006 was probably going to be my first and last World Cup attendance for Trinidad in my lifetime, so I decided the make the trek to Germany to watch the fellows play.

Qualifying for the FIFA World Cup is no easy task and the USMNT faced this brutal truth in 2017. With the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 just ten days away the hopes of many nations will be tied to sixty minutes on the football pitch and elevated by every GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!

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Twitter: @ArimaTrini

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