All Whites strike late for draw

  • Last Updated: June 15 2010, 16:27 BST

Winston Reid scored a dramatic equaliser deep into injury time to give New Zealand their first-ever point in the World Cup from a 1-1 draw with Slovakia.

Winston Reid celebrates his late leveller.

It was also the All Whites' first goal in the finals for 28 years and sparked wild celebrations among their supporters inside the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

Reid was booked for his own celebration when he ripped off his shirt and twirled it around his head after bulleting home a header from Shane Smeltz's cross - but he probably won't have cared a jot.

It was an historic moment in New Zealand football, considering the Kiwis had lost all three of their previous group matches at their only other appearance in the finals in 1982.

Reid's late strike cancelled out a 50th-minute goal from Slovakia's Robert Vittek, which was also historic. It was the nation's first-ever goal in their debut match at the World Cup finals.

New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert hailed the result as the All Whites' greatest ever.

He said: "I am very, very proud. Can it get any better? I think the nation will be in reasonably good spirits tonight."

Asked if it was their finest hour, he added: "It would have to be. We've never won a point in a World Cup before. We've thrown some really good punches today and I thought it was an extremely well deserved result."

New Zealand, who lost all three group games on their only other World Cup appearance, in 1982, will face Italy on Sunday in Nelspruit with an outside chance of progressing to the second round.

Herbert said: "We'll keep on dreaming because we are here.

"We have a chance like anyone else but we still have two heavyweights to go and it will be tough. We are competitive and the brand of football we now play is more conducive to high-level results and performances."

Goalscorer Reid, who was booked for stripping off his shirt following his late goal amid wild celebrations, said: "It was awesome. First thing I did was look at the linesman to see if I was offside and after that it was great. We had just decided to stay up there and hope for the best."

Slovakia manager Vladimir Weiss, meanwhile, described his team's setback as "a small sporting tragedy".