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New Zealand 1-1 Slovakia World Cup 2010 Group F

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This was the match between the two underdogs in Group F, and it ended all square 1-1. It seems to be a boring scoreline as what we are already or at least are getting used to in this World Cup, but this 1-1 is arguably the first ever amazing result in this World Cup finals. The first half of this match was as usual a very drab affair with both teams being cautious and cagey against each other. The only notable moments in this half are Marek Hamsik and Vladimir Weiss (pron: Vice), two of Slovakia’s star players as well as the moments in which Mark Paston, New Zealand’s heroic goalkeeper who almost gifted Slovakia a goal by miscuing his long kick from his penalty area. This time, it wasn’t Jabulani’s fault thankfully and thus won’t be added into the growing list of criticisms against the poor ball and also the moment in which Marek Hamsik reminds everyone how good he is when he became the next player who is able to control Jabulani properly when he arrived late just outside of the penalty box from a corner to get a long range shot which was saved. The first half, predictably ended 0-0. Another point to note is Simon Elliott, New Zealand’s number 7 who is the pseudo-manager in this team (refer to my article about Ballack’s absence for more information).

As usual in this World Cup, a goal would be scored at the start of the second half and this match was no exception. Slovakia managed to score through a headed goal by Robert Vittek although it was a controversial one as two Slovakia players were in an offside position for that goal. Right after this goal all the way to the 90th minute, it was a drab affair with both teams, especially Slovakia trying to score the second goal which would condemn New Zealand not only to defeat but to a knocking out from the competition altogether. It seemed set that Slovakia was to gather all three points. When Vladimir Weiss, the standout performer in the game and the son of their manager also named Vladimir Weiss was taken off at the last minute to earn his standing ovation and also to run down the clock, we could see how he trudged off slowly, taking his time, and every player and staff of Slovakia thinking the game was already wrapped by then. How they were wrong, as long as the final whistle has yet to be blown, it’s not over. In the 92nd minute, only a few seconds left to the end, New Zealand’s star man Shane Smeltz managed to get a good cross into the Slovakian penalty box and defender W. Reid (who earlier in the match managed to do a great tackle preventing Slovakia from scoring) happened to be there and he heroically headed the ball into the Slovakian net for the equalizer. It was such an electric moment as even I was stunned. When the ball entered, I thought it was going to be chalked off but it didn’t. It was a legitimate goal and I was a New Zealander for those few seconds. It was such a heart-stopping World Cup moment. He then celebrated wildly by taking his shirts off and was yellow carded, but he and all New Zealanders couldn’t care less about that. New Zealand have made history! Best ever result in the World Cup Finals. This shows that New Zealand can kick soccer balls as well as they can kick rugby balls! Congratulations New Zealand!

Written by cp

15/06/2010 at 21:39

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