World Cup 2010: New Zealand vs. Slovakia Live Stream [UPDATED]
After months of rigid training, the New Zealand national football team finally gets a taste of World Cup action this afternoon, as the All Whites take on the Fighting Jondas of Slovakia in their Group F opener at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.
Even if the Slovakia vs. New Zealand match is not a prime attraction, this fixture is sure to be a nerve wracking affair for both sides. The Europeans are playing in their first World Cup as an independent nation since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993. In fact, this is the first time that they have accomplished qualification for any international competition. The All Whites, meanwhile, are returning to the tournament for the first time since their 1982 debut.
New Zealand’s form in friendly competitions has not been too astounding since they beat Bahrain last November. They lost to Mexico, Australia, Slovenia and Chile, but a recent triumph over Serbia shows they cannot be taken lightly, even if they are from a rugby-obsessed nation that is just happy to be invited to the gala.
“I understand why we are the underdogs but we don’t fear anyone,” coach Ricki Herbert told reporters. “Anything can happen in a cup competition. If Senegal can beat France [in 2002], we can beat Italy.”
Herbert is hoping Rory Fallon and Chris Killen will score the goals required to bring in at least one victory, but the All Whites’ most exceptional player is Ryan Nelsen, who plays for the Blackburn Rovers, where he is the club’s captain.
The game starts at 13:30 CET (7:30 a.m. ET).
UPDATE: An injury-time goal by Winston Reid gave the All Whites a 1-1 draw with Slovakia in their Group F match.