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New Zealand hero Reid revelling after equaliser

Little known New Zealand defender Winston Reid emerged on the World Stage last night when he helped secure his nation's first ever point at the sport's biggest tournament.

The 21-year old Auckland-born former Denmark youth international got on the end of a Shane Smeltz cross in the dying seconds of the All Whites' clash with Slovakia and guided his header home to the rapture of New Zealand fans all around the globe.

The goal marked a coming of age for a player in just his fourth international who played all of his youth football in Denmark after moving there when he was 10.

Following the match, Reid spoke of his delight to be the man who helped the All Whites get a draw in only their fourth ever World Cup finals match.

"That was the most important goal of my life," he told the NZ Herald. "I try to get forward but don't often score, but this is great.

"I actually didn't see the ball. I saw it late. When I saw it coming, I knew I just had to guide it on goal and not hit it too hard and it would go in. There was so much pace on the ball, I just had to guide it in."

New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert was full of praise for Reid and said it was the perfect redemption after allowing Robert Vittek to earlier score for the Slovakians.

"He's been a great coup for us, he's only a young player and no doubt internationally he will progress," Herbert said. "But he's got a great heart and he's slotted into the team really well. It's a special moment to score for your country at any stage, let alone at a World Cup.

"It was a good finish. He's kind of redeemed himself for getting on the wrong side of the Slovakian striker when they scored."

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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