Sunday, June 20, 2010

All Whites shock champions Azzurris

Group F, 14:00 GMT, June 20, 2010
Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit, South Africa

1 - 1
New Zealand

Shane Smeltz gave New Zealand their greatest ever result as they held world champions Italy to a 1-1 draw in Group F. The All Whites went ahead early, before being pegged back by a Vincenzo Iaquinta penalty, but the minnows held on to claim an historic point.

This surprise result keeps alive New Zealand's hopes of reaching the second round for the first time in their history and leaves Italy with much still to do.

Scoring Summary

ItalyNew Zealand
Vincenzo Iaquinta (pen 29')Shane Smeltz (7')

Man of the Match: Ryan Nelsen


  • Man of the Match: Ryan Nelsen - The New Zealand skipper led by example, putting his body on the line to repel wave after wave of Italian attacks. When the All Whites defence looked to be breached he was the last man sweeping up at the back. He must also be commended for helping young centre-back Tommy Smith recover from conceding the penalty.

  • Italy verdict: After going a goal down, the Italians upped the tempo and looked dangerous but once they had equalised after 29 minutes the intensity dropped and so did the quality of their football. The Azzurri had plenty of the ball but only really tested Kiwi keeper Mark Paston on two occasions. Coach Marcello Lippi changed personnel and formation as the game went on but couldn't find a spark to ignite his side.

  • New Zealand verdict: A 1-1 draw against the defending world champions is undoubtedly the greatest result in New Zealand's history. Nobody can criticise the World Cup minnows for sticking ten men behind the ball after taking a shock early lead.

  • Could do better: Alberto Gilardino - Despite Italy going hammer and tongs for a goal after conceding early on, striker Gilardino just couldn't get into the game. He didn't muster a single shot at goal and had the fewest touches of any Italian player before being given the hook at half-time.

  • Stat attack: Italy have conceded two goals from the only two shots on target against them at this World Cup.

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