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Chris Birchall says he wants to make Port Vale proud of him in the biggest game of his life today. The 21-year-old from Stafford (pictured) will become the first Vale player to appear in the World Cup finals if he can help Trinidad and Tobago win the second leg of their play-off game in Bahrain (4pm).


Birchall's equaliser allowed Trinidad to claim a 1-1 draw from Saturday's first leg, although home advantage means Bahrain will start as slight favourites for a place in Germany next summer.

The winger will be cheered on in Bahrain by his parents Phil and Jenny, and in England by Vale staff and supporters, who have followed his progress since he joined the club's school of excellence aged nine.

Birchall said: "Vale have been my only club and, if we do it, I think they will feel proud of having coached a player who is going to the World Cup.

"I have been with the club for all my career and they have been good to me and have understood when I have wanted to go and play for Trinidad.

"I just hope I can make everyone there proud."

Robbie Earle was the last former Vale player to appear in the World Cup finals when he represented Jamaica in 1998, but no one has appeared in the finals while still at the club.

Birchall rates his goal in the first leg as the most important of his career so far and says the Trinidad players believe they can claim a place in the finals for the first time in the country's history.

He said: "We are confident because we played so badly on Saturday, but still created a lot of chances to win the game.

"These last two games have come up really quickly, but if we can just do it in this game, everything will be a dream.

"It is by far the biggest game of my career because going to the World Cup depends on it. I am trying not to think about that too much and get nervous, but we are confident we have the quality in the team to win the game."