Italy was expected to join Paraguay at the top of Group F today when they set up against the minnows of New Zealand, but New Zealand weren’t willing to sit back and watch the reigning champions outplay them.
There isn’t even a professional football league in New Zealand and a lot of their payers don’t have a club, are out of contract or play in the minor leagues over the world; so there were a few surprised gasps around the stadium when Smeltz scrambled the ball over the line to put them ahead with just seven minutes played.
Italy looked lost and Cannavaro seemed to resort to trying to get the New Zealand players sent off as he feigned the strike of a flaying elbow from Fallon. They were gifted a chance from a penalty on the half hour and Iaquinta converted to square the game up.
After the goal it seemed to be a matter of time before Italy took the lead and walked away with the game, but time continued to tick and they never got their second goal. They came close on a number of occasions but New Zealand also had their chances to win this game. A fair draw in the end and one for New Zealand to celebrate and Italy to ponder.