Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Danish-Kiwi Winston Reid Grabs New Zealand's First World Cup Points

Ricki Herbert said that the Kiwis aim to surprise Slovakia in their opening World Cup match at Rustenburg. New Zealand did exactly that, and in dramatic injury time fashion.

Winston Reid, who until three months ago still harboured dreams of representing Denmark, scored the equaliser giving New Zealand a fair share of the spoils against a tiring Slovakia. Reid's inclusion into the New Zealand's squad raised some controversy among fans of the All Whites but he most definitely played his part today to secure a historic point for his country of birth.

Alongside captain Ryan Nelsen, Reid was working overtime to stop the Slovakian attacks. It was his last ditch tackle that stopped Robert Vittek from doubling Slovakia's lead. Drawing experience from playing in last year's Confederations Cup, New Zealand did not show any nerves in their opening match. The Kiwis knocked the ball about with confidence and had a few good chances at goal early on. However, A-League star, Shane Smeltz found the match tough going until the final minute when he supplied that cross onto the head of Reid.

A clearly jubilant Reid said,
"That was the most important goal of my life. I try to get forward but don't often score, but this is great. I actually didn't see the ball. I saw it late. When I saw it coming, I knew I just had to guide it on goal and not hit it too hard and it would go in. There was so much pace on the ball, I just had to guide it in."
Slovakia in their first World Cup finals ever, had Marek Hamsik coming off an excellent season with Napoli. He had a quiet match and found it hard to exact any influence on the game. However, he showed some nice touches which suggest why he is so highly rated. Hamsik should be expected to feel more at home playing against Italy in their final match of Group F.

On the other hand, Manchester City's Vladimir Weiss was full of flair, pace and dribbling skills. His runs and unpredictability worried the Kiwi defence all afternoon. Weiss' combination of direct running and ball trickery will no doubt worry Italy and Paraguay. With Skrtel, Hamsik and Weiss, Slovakia has the spine to build a team for the future.

Based on this match today, Italy and Paraguay are obviously too talented to slip up against New Zealand and Slovakia. New Zealand got the draw through a combination of tenacity, determination and hard running. The Repre should have done more considering the more talented players they had, it is two points lost for them after leading for 40 long minutes.


FredF said...

They did amazingly well against Slovakia but it's hard to see them doing anything against Italy.

TheFlatBackFour said...

You are right, FredF but at least NZ is proving that there are no easy international match. As long as a team battle and run all day, they can get some reward from it.

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