As New Zealand earn point in Nelspruit
Portugal vs Korea DPR 1.30pm
Chile vs Switzerland -4pm
Spain vs Honduras -8.30pm
Slovakia 0-2 Paraguay
Italy 1-1 New Zealand
Brazil 3-1 Ivory Coast
ITALY endured a frustrating afternoon in Nelspruit as New Zealand held on for a famous 1-1 draw to leave Group F wide open.
Having stunned Slovakia with a last-gasp equaliser in their opening game, New Zealand took the lead after just seven minutes against the reigning world champions.
Former Halifax Town striker Shane Smeltz grabbed the goal from close range after Italy had failed to deal with a threatening free-kick, although he was lucky not to be flagged offside as the ball was flicked on.
Vincenzo Iaquinta pulled Italy level from the penalty spot in the 29th minute after Tommy Smith had tugged at Daniele De Rossi’s shirt.
But the Azzurri were unable to complete their comeback despite dominating for long periods in the second half, with the All Whites withstanding the pressure and nearly nicking all three points late on when Chris Wood shot wide.
Italy must now beat Slovakia in their final game to ensure progression to the last 16, while New Zealand are also still very much in the hunt for a place in the next round ahead of their clash with current group leaders Paraguay.
The All Whites, buoyant after their draw with Slovakia, made the perfect start as Smeltz crept into the box to give them a seventh-minute lead.
Italy coach Marcello Lippi had warned New Zealand’s greatest threat would come from set-pieces and his side was caught out as Simon Elliott swung in a free-kick from the left.
After 28 minutes, New Zealand were caught out as De Rossi went down in the area after the slightest of shirt pulls from Ipswich defender Smith.
The Kiwis complained about the decision but Iaquinta stepped up to convert from the spot, much to Italy’s relief.
Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Paraguay 2 1 1 0 3 1 2 4
Italy 2 0 2 0 2 2 0 2
New Zealand 2 0 2 0 2 2 0 2
Slovakia 2 0 1 1 1 3 -2 1