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World Cup 2010
Reid makes history for New Zealand
Slovaks miss chance to top Group F as Kiwis get first World Cup point with late draw.
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2010 15:05 GMT
Reid celebrates the greatest moment in New Zealand's football history [GALLO/GETTY]

New Zealand defender Winston Reid, who almost chose Denmark before agreeing to play for the All Whites, headed a last-gasp goal to secure a 1-1 draw against Slovakia and secure their first ever World Cup point.

Reid, 21, who has lived in Denmark for 11 years where he plays for top flight Midtjylland, scored his first goal on his fourth appearance for New Zealand with a well-placed far-post header with 30 seconds remaining in the Group F game.

With New Zealand pushing forward in search of an equaliser after Robert Vittek had headed Slovakia in front after 50 minutes, Reid timed his run and jump perfectly to meet an angled Shane Smeltz cross from the left with a header that went in off the foot of the post.

The draw brought joy to New Zealand fans everywhere, after the All Whites had suffered three straight defeats in their only previous World Cup appearance in Spain in 1982.

"I think the nation will be in reasonably good spirits tonight," said New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert on Tuesday.

"We keep on dreaming. We have a chance like everyone else."

'Good punches'

Asked if it was their best achievement he added: "It would have to be. We have never picked up a point at a World Cup. We have thrown some really good punches tonight and got what I thought was an extremely good result".

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New Zealand were often outplayed by technically superior opponents in the second half of a poor game played in a high wind and cold conditions in Rustenburg, but nobody could question their organisation or commitment.

Reid, who has a Danish step-father, was in the Denmark under-21 team and national development system and had turned down a chance to play for New Zealand in 2007 before finally accepting Herbert's approach the second time.

Until Reid's late strike Slovakia, making their World Cup debut as an independent nation, had seemed set to top the group ahead of world champions Italy and Paraguay who drew 1-1 in the group opener on Monday.

Vittek struck when he met a diagonal Stanislav Sestak cross with a powerful header from 10 metres after Reid missed the ball completely in the swirling air at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

Source:
Reuters
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