16 Jun 2010

All Whites snatch historic draw

6:35 am on 16 June 2010

A stoppage time equaliser by defender Winston Reid allowed the All Whites to snatch an historic 1-all draw with Slovakia in their opening match of the World Cup finals in Rustenberg.

The All Whites seemed to be heading for a loss after after Robert Vittek had headed Slovakia into a 50th-minute lead, but three minutes into injury time, Reid popped up at the back post to head Shane Smeltz's cross in off the post to deny Slovakia victory in their first World Cup match as an independent nation.

Coach Ricki Herbert hailed the point as the greatest result in the country's football history, and he thought it was a fully deserved result.

Slovakia's goal scorer Vittek admitted the draw felt more like a defeat, and head coach Vladimir Weiss said it was a small sporting tragedy for his team.

So all four teams in the group have one point after their opening games, and the All Whites next match is against the defending champions Italy early next Monday morning.