New Zealand | World Cup Blog | ESPN Soccernet
soccernet blog
World Cup home Blogs Home World Cup Blogs Home
New Zealand
Posted by Marcus Anselm on 06/16/2010

This World Cup looks like being a slow boiler but the competition has reached fever pitch in one forgotten corner of the football world.

New Zealand's draw with Slovakia is yet another high point in the country's football history - and they just keep coming.

Winston Reid, who left Auckland for Denmark as a 10-year-old, is now a national hero in his native country.

Reid’s injury time strike earned a 1-1 result for the country's first point in four World Cup matches.

The defender's header was a quality effort, earning a deserved share of the spoils - and instant fame.

Shane Smeltz came to life from a deeper position to pop in a fine cross from the left to wipe out Slovakia's strike just after half time.

The game's main chances came from aerial exchanges and the goals were a mirror image of each other, even coming either end of the second period.

There's genuine and deserved national pride at the team's achievement. The Slovakia team are no mugs and the performance was a solid display by a team written off as filler until kick off in Rustenberg.

However, there remains a small nagging sense of a missed opportunity.

New Zealand are battling above their weight and deserve enormous credit. Whatever happens from here on in, the All Whites have earned their plaudits

The country is talking about football -rather than the other code we don't speak of - and is positive about the result and the performance.

However, Slovakia were there for the taking. Winger Vladimir Weiss aside, the Slovaks provided few threats and Marek Hamsik didn't fulfil his star billing. With Italy and Paraguay to come, the tasks just get tougher.

But that's not the mood of the nation. There's a celebration about making its mark on world football. For the moment, the team should receive credit for continuing to push forward.

If they can get anything from the world champion Italians in their next game, any remaining doubts will be banished.

Comments

Posted by Steve on 06/20/2010

Congrats!! Tie against Slovakia, and now.. historical tie against Italy. The Kiwis provided the best game in this tournament by far.. & fully deserved the point against Italy.

  Post your comment
Name:
Email Address:
Comments:
characters left
© ESPN Soccernet 2009
Cricinfo
Soccernet
ESPN