West Ham goalkeeper Shaka Hislop came in from the cold for Trinidad and Tobago
to do England a massive favour.
Veteran Hislop, a late replacement for Kelvin Jack, who sustained a head
injury just before kick-off, made a series of stunning saves to deny Sweden an
opening win in Group B.
The fact the World Cup newcomers gained a point was remarkable given that
Avery John was sent off in the first minute of the second half.
But they dug deep to rattle the Swedes, now two points behind England after
the opening game.
The debutants showed they were not prepared to stand on any ceremony and
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was left reeling after a stiff challenge by Avery John.
Henrik Larsson then curled a free-kick wide of the post from the edge of the
area for Sweden.
They looked menacing and Ibrahimovic tested 37-year-old Hislop from an acute
The opening stages were proving taxing for Trinidad, who qualified through the
play-offs, and Gray was forced into a hurried clearance to repel another Swedish
Sweden continued to dominate and Ibrahimovic was proving to be handful.
The Juventus striker raced clear in the 20th minute but Sancho showed good
positional sense to make the clearance.
Two minutes later Ibrahimovic carved out a path down the right and whipped in
a cross which Larsson just failed to get a touch to.
The Swedes were playing some neat football but struggling to make the
Larsson then knocked a shot wide in the 26th minute from a difficult angle
before Freddie Ljungberg clipped a shot over the top.
Trinidad made a rare breakaway in the 34th minute and Carlos Edwards stung
former Arsenal goalkeeper Rami Shaaban's fingers with a shot from distance.
However they were again forced on the back foot four minutes later when
Larsson escaped his marker only for his header to clear the bar.
Hislop had to come to Trinidad's rescue when he did well to turn over a
thumping drive from Christian Wilhelmsson.
The goalkeeper then proved equal to a stinging shot from Ibrahimovic in the
43rd minute as Trinidad managed to escape the first half on level terms.
Trinidad suffered a massive blow a minute into the second half when Avery John
was sent off after picking up his second yellow card following a challenge on
Wilhelmsson, however he did appear to take both the ball and the man.
That gave the vastly experienced Swedes a clear advantage with so much of the
Dwight Yorke then showed his defensive ability by blocking Larsson's
It was proving a test of Trinidad's resolve if nothing else as they were down
to 10 men, and they adopted a policy of containment, being forced to rely on
They almost stunned the Swedes in the 59th minute when substitute Cornell Glen
found himself in the clear inside the area.
He wasted no time in rattling in a shot which beat Shaaban but came back off
That should have been a wake-up for the Swedes, who were become increasingly
impatient, as were their fans.
They had scored goals for fun in qualifying but were finding it hard with
Sancho and Dennis Lawrence holding firm at the back for the Caribbean side.
Substitute Marcus Allback should have given Sweden the lead after 76 minutes
but sent a shot from close range into the arms of the grateful Hislop.
Allback again fluffed his lines three minutes later as Trinidad's veteran
shot-stopper made the block.
The World Cup newcomers then dug deep to snatch a point against all the odds.