22 Jun 2010

Draw against Italy a huge result, says Key

5:41 am on 22 June 2010

Prime Minister John Key says the All Whites' draw against Italy at the Football World Cup in South Africa on Monday morning has left every New Zealander proud.

Mr Key is the All Whites' patron for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and attended the pool match against Italy in the northeastern city of Nelspruit.

He says the 1-all draw is a huge result. There is a lot of support for the All Whites as underdogs and many people had travelled to South Africa to support them.

Mr Key says many people didn't believe a draw was possible but the team showed a huge amount of courage and pride.

Mr Key had earlier picked the All Whites would draw 1-all with the Italian side, the World Cup champions.

Mr Key will not attend the All Whites' last pool match against Paraguay on Friday morning.

Former All Whites coach John Adshead has likened the result to Sir Edmund Hillary's scaling of Mt Everest.

Adshead, who took New Zealand to its only other World Cup showing in 1982, described the game as remarkable and nerve-wracking.

Adshead says it is not beyond the realms of possibility that New Zealand could be in the last 16, impossible as that might have sounded two weeks ago.