25 Jun 2010

Unbeaten All Whites exit World Cup

9:02 am on 25 June 2010

The World Cup is over for the All Whites, after the team drew 0-0 with Paraguay in their final pool match of the tournament.

New Zealand finished unbeaten in Group F at the tournament, but the draw was not enough for the side to progress, after Slovakia beat defending champions Italy 3-2 to go through ahead of the All Whites.

Paraguay topped Group F on five points, Slovakia finished second with four and New Zealand missed the cut with three points.

The Azzurri, who were the favourites to top the group before the tournament began, finished last with two draws and a loss.

Paraguay dominated the final pool match against New Zealand with the majority of the possession and field position.

The All Whites managed to get a lot of ball into their penalty area in the final 10 minutes, but failed to capitalise on these few chances.

New Zealand's World Cup effort in South Africa is still history-making, with the All Whites picking up three competition points and remaining unbeaten.

Striker Shane Smeltz says three draws for a team that was given no show, is an outstanding achievement.

Smeltz, who plays for Gold Coast in the A-League, says not many people would have predicted their progress at the Cup before it started.

In New Zealand's only other appearance at the World Cup in 1982, the side finished last in their group after losing all three pool games.