What A Result, Yet What Could Have Been…
Well, more history has been made, the All Whites got a draw with holders Italy, and there was more than a hint of disappointment that they didn’t take all three points.
After taking a surprisingly unsurprising early lead when a Winston Reid free kick was turned in by a combination of Fabio Cannivaro and Shane Smeltz, Italy were once again rewarded for their old tricks when Daniele de Rossi was awarded a very soft foul by Tommy Smith in the box. Unfortunately, Mark Paston was unable to ensure that justice prevailed, although he did go on to have a Man of the Match level performance that will probably see him taking Premiership calls before too long.
The draw is being trumpeted as being on of the biggest results in the history of the World Cup by ESPN, but one must realize the special circumstances. This is Italy, and they knew they have one more game, against a Slovakia team that is already down. If they do not win that game, that will be the historic event. If New Zealand had won today’s game, they could have played for a draw in their third game, with a Paraguay team that would also go through with a draw. Italy (and those that they can influence) was not going to allow that. Now New Zealand need to win next week, and by more goals than Italy….right….well, at least it’s nice that these scenarios are even being considered, and Ricki Herbert said as much in his post game interview.