All Whites World Cup review

The New Zealand national team has so far been the surprise packet of the 2010 World Cup.

The New Zealand national team has so far been the surprise packet of the 2010 World Cup.

With three draws from their three group matches, the All Whites performed much better than many outsiders thought they could have.

A last-gasp equaliser in their opening match with eventual Round of 16 qualifiers Slovakia created emotional scenes but it was their 1-1 draw with reigning champions Italy which notified the world that New Zealand had arrived as a footballing nation.

Despite not progressing to the second phase of the tournament after their scoreless draw with Paraguay last night, Ricki Herbert’s men have done themselves and their nation extremely proud.

Led by an inspirational captain in Ryan Nelsen who was the key man in a sterling defence which conceded just two goals, the All Whites have created a solid foundation on which to build a successful future.

The unearthing of defenders Winston Reid and Tommy Smith was a major plus and teenage striker Chris Wood can only get better from his 66 World Cup minutes.

2010 will be looked back on with fond memories by New Zealand players, coaches and fans alike as the somewhat fledgling football nation continues to improve and develop.

Official statistics

Minutes played
Mark Paston – 270
Leo Bertos – 270
Simon Elliott – 270
Ryan Nelsen – 270
Tony Lochhead – 270
Shane Smeltz – 270
Tommy Smith – 270
Winston Reid - 270
Top Scorers
Shane Smeltz – 1
Winston Reid – 1

Total Shots
Shane Smeltz – 6
Chris Killen – 3

Pass Completion Rate
Ryan Nelsen – 79%
Simon Elliott – 70%
Jeremy Brockie – 66%
Tommy Smith – 65%
Chris Killen – 63%

Most Fouls
Rory Fallon – 15
Chris Killen – 13
Tony Lochhead – 5
Chris Wood – 4
Ivan Vicelich – 4

Yellow cards
Ryan Nelsen – 2
Winston Reid – 1
Tommy Smith – 1
Tony Lochhead – 1
Rory Fallon – 1

Saves
Mark Paston – 12

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