New Zealand scored a last-gasp equaliser from the head of centre half Reid in their FIFA World Cup 2010 opener against Slovakia to end the match 1-1.
Reid’s header from a cross came as fewer than 30 seconds remained of the three additional minutes of stoppage time allowed by the referee at the end of this match with Slovakia.
Slovakia looked to have done enough to top the group with three points before Reid headed in off the post from 6 metres.
After Slovakia took the lead early in the second half, following a first 45 that provided little entertainment for fans, it was Winston Reid who had to be alert to prevent Slovakia grabbing the killer second goal in the 69th minute when Vittek looked certain to score. The defender threw himself at the ball and provided a vital block.
It had been Vittek who had given Slovakia the lead when he leapt to head a good cross from Stanislav Sestak home at the far post. Rarely, in this match, New Zealand marking was a little slack – until this point, Slovakia had not threatened a great deal.
The second half was not full of chances, however, and, when New Zealand wasted the few that came their way, it looked like Slovakia would be closing out a workmanlike 1-0 victory, until the final minute goal from Winston Reid.
The player celebrated as if he had scored the winner in a far later stage than the opening Group F match, demonstrating just what it means to score a goal in a World Cup Finals. It was, perhaps, a pity that Reid’s spirit was not echoed by many in the blue of Slovakia – their lack of desire deserved nothing more than the point they achieved.
Italy and Paraguay, who also shared a point in last night’s Group F opener, will be pleased that their group is currently all square, after it looked like a tricky Slovakian outfit could have got a head start here.
New Zealand will be pleased with their first ever World Cup point, while Slovakia will have to view this as a missed opportunity for three. Neither side, on this afternoon’s evidence, looks like worrying Italy or Paraguay, unless they can show far better endeavour in front of goal.