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New Zealand go down to Italy after leading

New Zealand almost produced a stunning upset against reigning World Cup champions Italy. The All Whites ended up going down 4-3 in a thrilling precursor to the Confederations Cup which kicks off next week.

Recent Gold Coast United signing Shane Smeltz opened the scoring for the All Whites in the 14th minute with a header that was only partly stopped by Italian goalkeeper Marco Amelia.

Fiorentina striker Alberto Gilardino equalised for the Azzurri after 33 minutes, his header coming from some deft work by Fabio Quagliarella.

Three minutes prior to the break, New Zealand hit the front again, this time through Celtic striker Christopher Killen.

The 27-year old made the most of a set piece from a corner and nodded in but the lead was short-lived with the Italians equalising in the 48th minute.

The same duo who conjured the first goal got Italy on the board again with Napoli's Quagliarella crossing for Gilardino who again used his head, levelling the scores.

The match ebbed and flowed some more and in the 57th minute, Killen added a second, converting a penalty that he won after being bought down by Amelia.

With scores at 3-2, Azzurri boss Marcello Lippi rung the changes, bringing four fresh players on and just ten minutes later his tactics paid off as substitute Andrea Pirlo supplied fellow latecomer Vincenzo Iaquinta with a 68th minute leveller.

Four minutes later, Iaquinta became the hero with a close range winner after All Whites keeper Glen Moss could only knock Riccardo Montolivo's shot into the Juventus talisman's path who was able to spare the Azzurri's blushes.


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Andrew Slevison
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