Trinbagonians I could see. Thousands of them. Happy, loud and sporting their Soca Warrior scarves in celebration of their country, Trinidad and Tobago, who somehow have reached the World Cup finals. But Loftus Road, where T & T were playing a warm-up match on the coldest of nights, didn't seem to be heaving with Icelanders, apart from the 11 players on the pitch.

I needed an alternative perspective to this unlikely fixture, a coming together of two nations living on the fringe of Planet Football, but bristling with ambition, none the less.

Two men, white, one in his sixties, the other probably his son, sat behind Shaka Hislop's goal in the first half.

'Iceland?' I asked in that idiotically hesitant way we have when making an inquiry of someone we imagine might not have English as a first language.

'Derby,' said John, the elder of the two.

'So, why?'

'Well, Andy - that's my son, here - has been following Iceland since he went to university in Essex.'

I did ask why again, but John couldn't say. 'We have followed them all over Europe. Been to Iceland twice.'

Two women behind me were swaying to the rhythm of the Soca band, which thumped away non-stop in the upper tier of the stand to our right. No need to ask who they were supporting. They were among the thousands of Trinbagonians delirious that their heroes have made it to the finals for the first time in 11 tries.

But they haven't a hope of getting a ticket. For a start, the football association back in Port of Spain have not exactly been giving them away. The outrageous prices and the distribution system constituted a row one journalist on the Trinidad Express traced to Jack Warner, their Fifa representative. Warner refused him accreditation for Germany - a decision overturned by Fifa, who have promised to punish Warner for unethical behaviour.

When T & T qualified by winning a play-off in Bahrain, Warner was moved to observe, humbly: 'There are few moments in my life that have moved me as much as when the referee blew his whistle. It was the culmination of everything I have struggled for over the years...'

The fan behind me last Tuesday night was a little more detached. 'We'll watch on TV, like everyone else,' she said, freezing. 'But it's great to be here tonight.'

And it was. T & T won 2-0, courtesy of two goals by Dwight Yorke, one a beautifully worked completion of a mazy run down the left by Dundee United's Collin Samuel. The 24-year-old winger looked the business. As does Yorke, still. He is 34 and, some time today, plays in the national league final in Australia for his latest club, Sydney FC. Yorke flew home almost immediately after the game - first-class of course - and is thrilled to be captaining his country in Germany.

What a footballing journey he's had. What a life he's had. He nearly died when in a car accident back in Tobago, aged two. It is said - and widely believed - that the exhaust pipe in the crashed car lay across his back long enough to sear a map of Tobago into his skin. Whatever.

Graham Taylor, of course, discovered him and brought him to Aston Villa, where his sparkling runs lit up the league - and gave his eight siblings back home good reason to believe their brother would be worth keeping in touch with. Alex Ferguson agreed and paid £12.5m for him. He was player of the year once, dipped a little in form then went off to Blackburn and further. This late gift, a place alongside the best in the world at the biggest tournament of them all, has given his step a fresh spring. 'I'm a far better player than when I was at United,' he said recently. 'But slower.'

Not that much. He was the spark that drove the team engine at QPR. And their obvious go-to figure, the best player his country has produced, by general consensus.

They are the predictable mixture of players who have had to go abroad to make it in football, most of them occupying the lower reaches of the game in Britain. There's Russell Latapy, the Little Magician as they call him, 37 now and playing for Falkirk, recalled recently after five years out of international football. He has class, still.

Silvio Spann, owner of a wonderful name but without a club, came off the bench to liven up the midfield.

The first time Dennis Lawrence shared a pitch with Wayne Rooney, the precocious Scouser was 16 and putting a couple of goals into the Wrexham net for Everton. They meet again in Nuremberg on 15 June.

Lawrence was instrumental in recruiting an unlikely addition to the squad when the 22-year-old Port Vale midfielder, Chris Birchall, born in Stafford, casually mentioned to Lawrence after a game that his mother had Trinidadian heritage. Birchall scored the equaliser in Port of Spain against Bahrain, setting them up for that away win that got them through last November. And he did quite well on Tuesday night. So did Hislop, born in Hackney before going back to Trinidad aged two. He's 37 and, like Yorke, has been given a one-off chance for some unexpected glory.

Their leading scorer is the 29-year-old Coventry striker Stern John, and Cyd 'Flash' Grey, a defender, could be a star too. They play their football with the sort of freedom you'd expect from a team with, well, not great expectations.

They will generate the sort of empathetic support Cameroon had - do you remember 'Give a little cheer, if you love the Cameroon'? - when they crashed the World Cup scene in 1990. But, given Trinidad and Tobago (ranked fifty-first in the world) have Sweden (fourteenth), Paraguay (thirtieth) and England (ninth) in their group, they will do well to nick a point before going home.

None of which pessimism will impress their coach, the well-travelled Leo Beenhakker (quiz question: he is one of four Dutchmen coaching teams in the World Cup finals - who are the others?) The Been is a real hero in Trinidad and Tobago, having taken over from Bertille St Clair last May, when they looked all but busted.

They qualified on the last day of play-offs and, with support back home of surely all 1.3 million inhabitants, are the smallest nation of the 32. The grooviest too. Love that Soca.