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New Zealand 1-1 Slovakia

Herbert proud of fighting spirit

June 15, 2010
By Soccernet staff

New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert had words of praise for his side's attitude as they picked up a 1-1 draw with a 92nd minute goal against Slovakia.

Winston Reid
GettyImagesNew Zealand's Winston Reid celebrates scoring the goal that changed his life

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Herbert's side have never picked up a point at the World Cup with their only other appearance, in 1982, seeing them lose all three group games.

However, Winston Reid's historic header earned the All Whites a draw and Herbert now believes they have a chance to progress to the next phase of the tournament.

''I am very, very proud. Can it get any better? I think the nation will be in reasonably good spirits tonight,'' he said.

Asked if it was their finest hour, he added: ''It would have to be. We've never won a point in a World Cup before. We've thrown some really good punches today and I thought it was an extremely well deserved result.

''We'll keep on dreaming because we are here. We have a chance like anyone else but we still have two heavyweights to go and it will be tough. We are competitive and the brand of football we now play is more conducive to high-level results and performances.''

Goalscorer Reid, who was booked for stripping off his shirt following his late goal amid wild celebrations, said: ''It was awesome. First thing I did was look at the linesman to see if I was offside and after that it was great. We had just decided to stay up there and hope for the best.

''Look at the smiles of the players and staff and that tells you everything. We're at the biggest stage of football and it's great to be here.''

Slovakia manager Vladimir Weiss, meanwhile, described his team's setback as ''a small sporting tragedy''.