In one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history, unheralded New Zealand has worked Italy to a 1-1 draw. The 78th ranked Kiwis, known as the All-Whites, had one of the easiest roads to qualification of any team in the World Cup final, and were not expected to make any noise in group play.
However, they have generated quite a lot of noise, as they were able to turn Shane Smeltz’s goal in the seventh minute into a 1-1 draw for the most impressive result in New Zealand’s meager soccer history.
Italy equalized the match on a penalty kick in the 27th minute. The penalty, which came from a New Zealand defender grabbing the jersey of the Italian attacker, was no doubt aided by some theatrics on the part of the Italians, who were flopping all over the field throughout the match.
Nevertheless, New Zealand remained stout with their defense, fending off attacks throughout the second half. The man of the match for New Zealand was almost certainly Mark Patson, who turned in a performance for the ages, making several remarkable saves in the second half.
Italy now goes into their third match of group play against Slovakia in need of a victory.