Reid's late strike helps Kiwis to make history

New Zealand 1 Slovakia 1

The coin toss featured on the half-time highlights film, which said everything about the way this game was heading until Ricki Herbert's side somehow conjured the first last-ditch drama of the tournament, to go with their first point in a World Cup finals.

Herbert later concealed a laugh when someone asked him about progress to the second round. "Who knows what the Italians might do to us – or not," he said but this draw makes the tournament a triumph whatever Marcello Lippi and the Paraguay manager Gerardo Martino inflict upon him in days to come. "We came here for a point. Anything else is a bonus," added Herbert, whose joie de vivre has already made his side so popular in South Africa.

Herbert, who played with a perm in the 1982 finals, the Kiwis' only other outing at this event, had another reason to be grinning. His matchwinner, Winston Reid, secured Danish citizenship in 2006, playing for their Under-21s. He only shifted back to the New Zealand camp after they had beaten Bahrain to qualify from the Oceania group and it became clear that Morten Olsen considered him too young for a call-up. The 21-year-old's change of heart did not exactly pay immediate dividends for his native country, as Reid lost the flight of Stanislav Sestak's excellent cross – he was actually looking away from the ball as it sailed across from the Slovak right – and allowed Robert Vittek in for Slovakia's 50th-minute opener. But when the Slovaks, a comfortably better footballing side, seemed to be home and dry, Reid got on the end of Shane Smeltz's cross in the third minute of second-half injury time, and whipped off his shirt to mark a new piece of Kiwi sporting history. Rarely has a press box been the source of such unfettered joy than the New Zealand end of this one.

The Kiwis' self-effacing manner has been a delight in recent days. Asked whether they might imitate the All Blacks, captain Ryan Nelsen exclaimed on Monday: "Skinny white guys doing the haka? Very initimidating," which is why their promising start to the game was so gratifying to see. You don't expect to find a side 78th in the world – just below Wales – employing an ambitious 3-4-3 system but they were ambitious for a while, pressed effectively and might have gone ahead had Middlesbrough's Chris Killen converted one of two half-chances.

Then Slovakia's superiority told and the game's stand-out talent, the German-based forward Sestak, did his stuff, ably assisted by the right-wing trickery of Manchester City's prodigiously talented Vladimir Weiss, son of the coach. Weiss Snr, at 45 the youngest manager in the World Cup, described the result as "a minor sporting tragedy" though a win against Paraguay would ease the pain on Sunday. That's also when the New Zealanders face Italy. "We have a chance like everybody else," Herbert said. "The opening game was the best chance of getting a result and hopefully the kind of football we play will be conducive to another one."

New Zealand (3-4-3): Paston; Reid, Nelsen, Smith; Bertos, Videlich (Christie, 78) Elliott, Lochead; Fallon, Smeltz, Killen (Wood, 73).

Slovakia (4-3-1-2): Mucha; Zabavnik, Durica, Skrtel, Cech; Weiss (Kucka, 90) Strba, Hamsik; Vittek (Stoch, 84); Sestak, Jendrisek.

Referee J Damon (South Africa).

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker