Trinidad goalkeeper Shaka Hislop pulled off a string of fine saves to hold off Sweden, who charged forward in yellow wave after wave, following the dismissal of Avery John just after the start of the second half.
Hislop, the 37-year-old West Ham keeper, was called into the team at the last minute to replace Kelvin Jack who injured his knee in the warm-up – and he proved to be the star of the show as the Caribbean side, the smallest nation ever to reach the finals, battled for a point in the Group B clash.
It was a remarkable result for little Trinidad – but deeply frustrating for Sweden, who had counted on bagging three points before trickier games against Paraguay and England.
In temperatures hovering around a sweltering 30 degrees, Sweden had the best of the possession and Henrik Larsson just missed out on connecting with a smart cross from Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 22nd minute.
On the half-hour mark, Anders Svensson got in behind the defence but failed to connect with a long through ball.
Trinidad rarely threatened with skipper and former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke pushed back to bolster the defence, but Carlos Edwards brought a smart save out of Rami Shaaban.
Five minutes before the break, Christian Wilhelmsson forced Hislop into his first serious save of the day and the West ham veteran then flung himself to his right to keep out an Ibrahimovic drive.
Trinidad were reduced to 10 men in the first minute of the second period when Avery John, who had already been booked for a 15th-minute foul on Wilhelmsson, lunged in with both feet on the same player and was red-carded by referee Shamsul Maidin.
Hislop then foiled Ibrahimovic again with a point-blank save before also denying substitute Marcus Allbäck with a stop at the feet of the Copenhagen attacker.
Sweden’s next match is against Paraguay on Thursday.