Trinidad and Tobago rallied on two goals by Stern John to beat Mexico 2-1 Wednesday and advanced to a playoff against Bahrain for a berth in the World Cup, the closest the Caribbean nation of 1.1 million has been to soccer's quadrennial championship in 16 years.
John's goals in the 42nd and 61st finished the Soca Warriors with 13 points in fourth place in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying, holding off Guatemala which beat Costa Rica 3-1 in Guatemala City.
The United States, which defeated Panama 2-0 in its final qualifier, Mexico and Costa Rica already had secured their places in next year's 32-team field in Germany. But a second chance still remained for either Trinidad or Guatemala.
Trinidad entered the night two points ahead of Guatemala, but fell behind on Jaime Lozano's goal in the 38th minute. Meanwhile, Guatemala led Costa Rica 3-0 by the 31st minute on goals by Elmer Ponciano, Freddy Garcia and Carlos Ruiz.
However, John's goals reversed the fortunes of the Soca Warriors, who were within a draw of reaching the 1990 World Cup but were beaten at home by the United States in its final qualifier. Earlier in the day, Bahrain drew with Uzbekistan 0-0 to advance to the playoff on away goals. The United States victory finished the Americans atop the final round of CONCACAF qualifying.
Second-half scores by Kyle Martino and Taylor Twellman, the first international goals for both, led a United States side which featured six players with less than 10 caps and two players, midfielders Justin Mapp and Brian Carroll, making their international debut. Twellman, who leads Major League Soccer with 16 goals in 24 games for the New England Revolution, gave the Americans a two-goal lead in the 57th minute with a breakaway goal, AP reports.