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New Zealand
1
 
1
Slovakia
 0-1R. Vittek  50'
W. Reid  90' 1-1 
HT: 0-0
Royal Bafokeng Stadium (Attendance: 33,820)
Referee: Jerome Damon
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New Zealand vs. Slovakia
Minute Commentary
96' FULL-TIME
Winston Reid's late, late header earned New Zealand a famous win that leaves Slovakia's World Cup hopes hanging by a thread. The European side would have seen this as a must-win match with Paraguay and Italy to come, but clearly the All Whites didn't see the script, and stunned their opponents in the sort of late drama that a game of dire quality really needed. Portugal v Ivory Coast is next, and hopefully they can equal this drama whilst also providing some quality that this tournament desperately needs.
95' YELLOW CARD
Reid didn't know what to do with himself after that goal and picked up a booking for whipping off his shirt in a frenzied goal celebration. He won't care a jot though!
94' MORE ON THAT GOAL
The full-back Reid had thrown himself up-front for the last few minutes of the game. The defender was picked out by a great cross from Smeltz and diverted a header beyond Mucha to earn New Zealand an historic first ever point at a World Cup. You can't say they don't deserve it!
93' GOOOAAALLL!!!
Oh my word, Reid has only gone and equalised for New Zealand!!! Incredible scenes at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium!
91' LATE SWITCH
The lively Weiss is replaced by Kucka for the final few minutes of the game.
90' WHY SO LATE?
New Zealand have burst into life for the final moments of the game and suddenly look like a team who might get something from this game. Why couldn't they have done this earlier?!
88' SHOULD HAVE SCORED!
Lochhead's superb cross picks out Smeltz in the box, but the striker can't direct his header on target when he should have made the keeper work at the very least. That was his chance to shock the tournament!
84' GOAL-SCORER MAKES WAY
Vittek goes off to a standing ovation from the Slovakia fans in the stands, to be replaced by Chelsea youngster Stoch.
81' CHANGE FOR SLOVAKIA
The impressive Sestak is replaced by Holosko as Slovakia look to hold on to what would be a crucial three points.
79' OVER THE BAR
Fallon has a pop from distance, but gets right underneath his shot and sends it ballooning miles over the bar.
79' CHANGE FOR NEW ZEALAND
Vicelich is out on his feet and is replaced by Christie in midfield.
77' WOULDN'T SIT DOWN FOR HIM
Sestak waits too long to get a shot away, letting the ball bounce twice in the box, and the All Whites defence snuffs out the danger.
76' CAUGHT IN TWO MINDS
Jendrisek flies clear down the inside left channel, but can't decide whether to shoot or cross, so attempts both and achieves neither.
75' ONE-WAY TRAFFIC
It's all Slovakia now. Vittek is causing problems up top, and finally it looks as if Hamsik and Weiss are getting involved in the final third.
72' SUBSTITUTION
Killen goes off to be replaced by the youngest player in the New Zealand squad, Chris Wood.
69' GOAL-SAVING CHALLENGE
Reid dives in to deny Vittek and keep New Zealand in the game. It was a flowing move from Slovakia, with Sestak picking out a quality final ball to find his strike partner, and the big man looked destined to find the back of the net until the defender's timely intervention.
67' NOT THE BEST
This World Cup really needs one game to spark into life and get things going for the sake of the tournament, but it's not going to be this one.
64' DUCKING IN THE STANDS
Sestak does well to hold the ball up on the edge of the box and sets up Hamsik for a shot, but the youngster's effort goes high over the bar and rises way up into the stands. You'd expect better than that from a player with his reputation.
61' POOR CROSS
New Zealand break in numbers, but the final ball into the box is poor and the chance to test Mucha goes begging.
59' TEMPERS FLARE
Nelsen doesn't hold back as Weiss gets a bit physical in a challenge. The All Whites skipper makes his point known, and it's all picked up by those slow motion cameras that make even a friendly chat look like a scene from Rocky.
56' ROUGH AND TUMBLE
Strba picks up a yellow card for a second foul on Elliott in the space of a minute. The Slovakians have targeted the ageing midfielder since the break and he's spent half the time picking himself up off the floor!
52' WAS HE OFFSIDE
Replays suggest that Vittek may have been marginally offside in the build-up to that goal. It was hardly an officiating howler, but New Zealand will be disappointed to go behind in that way.
50' MORE ON THAT GOAL
Sestak was given time and space out on the left, and he curled in a beauty of a cross, picking out his striker at the back post. Vittek's header was pin-point, down and into the corner, leaving the keeper with no chance.
49' GOOOAAALLL!!!
Slovakia take the lead through Vittek!
46' SECOND HALF
The second half has kicked off, and New Zealand will revel in the fact that this was the first time they have gone into the break not being behind. In their only other World Cup appearance back in 1982, they scored just two goals in three games, conceding 12.
45' HALF TIME
It hasn't been a classic by any means, but New Zealand will be delighted with a first half that has seen them shut Slovakia out while also creating some decent chances going forward. Let's hope for some goals in the second half.
44' POOR DELIVERY
Slovakia come to life for the final moments of the half, but once again the ball into the box is sub-standard.
43' TIME TO MAKE AMENDS
Slovakia take a free-kick short, finding Hamsik in space, and the captain's curling drive is tipped over the bar by Paston. That was a decent stop and will help the keeper's confidence after such a nervy opening.
40' BIZARRE KEEPING
Paston has had a shocking first half of World Cup football in goal for New Zealand, and almost lets Slovakia in again. The goalkeeper inexplicably hesitated when he should have comfortably claimed an innocuous cross into the box, allowing it to skid across the edge of the six yard box.
38' BEST ATTEMPT SO FAR
Smeltz is picked out at an angle in the box and hammers in a thunderous volleyed effort that looks to be heading for the top corner, only for the keeper to get a touch. The ref apparently didn't see the save and gives a goal-kick, but that was a vital intervention by Mucha.
36' SHOOT ON SIGHT
It seems as if Vittek has taken it on himself to try and liven things up, shooting whenever he gets the ball within 40 yards of the New Zealand goal. This time he gets a good connection, but can't quite manage accuracy to go with it and the ball careers into the advertising hoardings behind the goal. That's better though.
34' OFF THE HOOK!!!
Paston's attempted clearance is an absolute shocker, letting in Vittek behind the defence. However, the front-man fails to get a decent cross away with the keeper scrambling to get back into position and the chance goes begging.
33' NEEDS A GOAL
This game is in dire need of a goal. Neither team are willing to take unnecessary risks, and that's making for a poor spectacle.
30' FLIMSY IN THE AIR
Paston flaps his arms wildly at the first Slovakia corner of the game, but doesn't get anywhere near the ball and almost pays the price. However, the cross fizzes out of the box with nobody managing to get that all-important touch.
28' FIZZING WIDE
Sestak is picked out by Weiss on the edge of the box. The front-man jinks into space and snaps out a shot, but can't get his foot around the ball and sends it wide of the post.
27' DISSENT IN THE RANKS
Slovakia are starting to look rattled after such a poor start, and Skrtel is the man to make his feelings known, screaming at those in front of him to push forward.
25' SCRAPPY STUFF
After such a promising start, the game has broken down, with New Zealand laying into the Slovakia midfield in an effort to prevent the Europeans from settling.
21' STUNNING FOOTBALL
Slovakia link up well and send Weiss racing away down the left. He in turn finds Hamsik, who opts to shoot rather than find a team-mate in the box, but curls his effort wide of the far post.
16' HEIGHT AND WIDTH
The centre of the park is so congested that both teams are looking to get away into space down the flanks. Slovakia have looked livelier in those positions, but their delivery has been poor, whereas New Zealand's final ball has been decent... except as I write that, with Elliott pumping a long free-kick straight out of play.
14' NOT THE BEST DELIVERY
Hamsik tricks his way into space down the flank, but his cross is poor, heading straight into the arms of the keeper.
12' PROMISING START
The World Cup has disappointed from a neutral's perspective so far, but this game has shown enough in the early stages to suggest it'll be decent to watch. Slovakia's quality on the ball is obvious, but their opponents have looked the more dangerous, playing some nice football in the final third.
10' THREAT IN THE AIR
New Zealand's tactics are already clear - get the ball into the box and aim for the big men up-front. This time it's Fallon who almost gets a head to another dangerous cross.
8' DISAPPOINTING TURN-OUT
This may be one of the less attractive ties of the group stage, but you'd still expect a better crowd than this. The small Royal Bafokeng Stadium is barely half full, and if it wasn't for the Vuzuvelas it really would be a dull atmosphere.
5' DANGER SIGNS
Weiss turns his full-back inside and out before cutting in and having a shot. However, it's comfortably saved by Paston.
4' ENCOURAGING SIGNS
Killen has the first meaningful attempt on goal, forcing Mucha to make a smart save.
1' KICK-OFF
The game's underway and gets off to the cagiest of starts.
0' ALTERNATIVE CAREER
The television cameras focussed in on Slovakia star Hamsik during the anthems, and it becomes immediately clear that he won't be able to fall back on a career in music after retiring from the game. The midfielder's booming vocals achieve the impressive feat of making the many Vuzuvelas in the crowd seem delightfully tuneful.
0' TIME FOR THE ANTHEMS
Slovakia emerge from the tunnel in a World Cup for the first ever time and are passionately cheered on by a small section of support in a far from full Royal Bafokeng Stadium. Both teams look emotional as they belt out the anthems... although it could just be their eyes watering from the cold - it's freezing in Rustenburg today!
0' THE LINE-UPS
New Zealand name Nelsen, Reid and Smith in a solid looking back-line, while play-off hero Fallon starts in a front-three with Killen and the lively Smeltz. For Slovakia, Weiss and Hamsik start on the flanks as expected, and should cause the All Whites some serious problems.
0' PREDICTION
New Zealand won't be easy opponents, but Slovakia are the more talented squad and should have too much for their opponents in Rustenburg this lunchtime.
0' WHAT'S AT STAKE?
Neither of these teams are expected to reach the last-16, but a win here would give them a great chance of pipping one of Italy or Paraguay to make it out of Group F.
0' ONES TO WATCH
Shane Smeltz was top-scorer for the All Whites in qualifying, scoring eight in seven games, and will need to continue those feats if his side are to leave South Africa with a positive result to their name. Man City midfielder Vladimir Weiss is the son of the Slovakian manager, but doesn't need parental pride to get into the national team. His lively attacking game and searing pace has been seen in flashes for City and Bolton in the Premier League and could well light up Group F.
0' STAR MEN
Centre-half Ryan Nelsen is New Zealand's rock at the back. The Premier League man has been solid for Blackburn for a number of years and will be vital to keeping a talented Slovakia front-line at bay. The European side's 22-year-old skipper Marek Hamsik is one of the most highly rated young players in Europe, and will be given licence to cut in from his left midfield position and play off the strikers.
0' HOW THEY QUALIFIED
Slovakia finished top of one of the easier groups in European qualifying, although they did see off the waning Czech Republic along the way. New Zealand reached the Finals the hard way, topping the OFC group to reach a play-off with Bahrain. Rory Fallon's goal in the second leg of the tie was enough to seal a place in South Africa for the All Whites.
0' REFEREE
South African official Jerome Damon has been on FIFA's international list of referees since 2000 and was a fourth official at the last World Cup. He took charge of the third-place play-off in the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations between Ghana and the Ivory Coast, and was also used at the Beijing Olympics.
0' THE VENUE
One of the smaller stadiums used in the tournament, the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg hosted the England v USA clash on Saturday and will hold four further games after this. One of the northerly grounds used in this World Cup, it is also one of the venues at altitude, something that may impact on the game itself.
0' EARLY TEAM NEWS
Slovakia have no fresh injury problems, but New Zealand will be without key midfielder Tim Brown, who is unlikely to be risked following surgery on a shoulder injury.
0' PREVIEW
The All Whites kick-off their first World Cup campaign for 28 years against a Slovakia side who have never before featured at a Finals as an independent nation. This may be one of the ties that many neutrals have penned as one they can afford to miss, but it would be unwise to write off a Slovakia side who took four points off the Czech Republic as they topped their qualification group to reach the tournament.
CommentaryTeam StatsPlayer Stats Shotchart
Teams
New Zealand
(4-3-3)
Mark Paston1
90' 90' Winston Reid4
Ryan Nelsen6
78' Ivan Vicelich5
Tommy Smith19
Leo Bertos11
Simon Elliott7
42' Tony Lochhead3
Rory Fallon14
Shane Smeltz9
72' Christopher Killen10
Substitutes
Glen Moss12
James Bannatyne23
Andrew Boyens18
Ben Sigmund2
78' Jeremy Christie21
Michael McGlinchey15
Aaron Clapham16
David Mulligan17
Andrew Barron13
Tim Brown8
72' Chris Wood20
Jeremy Brockie22
Slovakia
(4-4-2)
1Jan Mucha
5Radoslav Zabavnik
16Jan Durica
3Martin Skrtel
4Marek Cech
7Vladimir Weiss 90'
6Zdeno Strba 55'
9Stanislav Sestak 81'
17Marek Hamsik
11Robert Vittek 84' 50' 
18Erik Jendrisek
Substitutes
23Dusan Kuciak
12Dusan Pernis
22Martin Petras
2Peter Pekarik
21Kornel Salata
19Juraj Kucka 90'
15Miroslav Stoch 84'
8Jan Kozak
10Marek Sapara
20Kamil Kopunek
13Filip Holosko 81'
14Martin Jakubko
Team Stats
New Zealand Slovakia
1 Goals 1
1 Assists 1
8 Shots 13
2 Shots on Goal 3
4 Saves 1
0 Penalties Scored 0
0 Penalty Kicks 0
20 Crosses 21
3 Corner Kicks 10
0 Offsides 1
17 Fouls Committed 15
2 Cautions/Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
CommentaryTeam StatsPlayer Stats Shotchart
New Zealand
No. Player G YC RC GA Svs
1M. Paston - 0 0 1 4
3T. Lochhead 0 1 0 - -
4W. Reid 1 1 0 - -
5I. Vicelich 0 0 0 - -
6R. Nelsen 0 0 0 - -
7S. Elliott 0 0 0 - -
9S. Smeltz 0 0 0 - -
10C. Killen 0 0 0 - -
11L. Bertos 0 0 0 - -
14R. Fallon 0 0 0 - -
19T. Smith 0 0 0 - -
Substitutes
20C. Wood 0 0 0 - -
21J. Christie 0 0 0 - -

Slovakia
No. Player G YC RC GA Svs
1J. Mucha - 0 0 1 1
3M. Skrtel 0 0 0 - -
4M. Cech 0 0 0 - -
5R. Zabavnik 0 0 0 - -
6Z. Strba 0 1 0 - -
7V. Weiss 0 0 0 - -
9S. Sestak 0 0 0 - -
11R. Vittek 1 0 0 - -
16J. Durica 0 0 0 - -
17M. Hamsik 0 0 0 - -
18E. Jendrisek 0 0 0 - -
Substitutes
13F. Holosko 0 0 0 - -
15M. Stoch 0 0 0 - -
19J. Kucka 0 0 0 - -
CommentaryTeam StatsPlayer Stats Shotchart

Players
No.Number
GGoals
AstAssists
SHTSShots
SOGShots on Goal
CKCorner Kicks
CRCrosses
OffOffsides
FCFouls Committed
FSFouls Suffered
YCYellow Cards
RCRed Cards
GAGoals Against
SvsSaves
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