Stuart Dye at the World Cup

Stuart Dye blogs from the Fifa World Cup

Stuart Dye: Faith, hope ... and sports glory

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Some moments live long in the memory, creating goosebumps and smiles whenever they are revisited. Last night gave us one of those moments.

With less than two minutes to play, and the All Whites' chances dwindling with the seconds, up popped Winston Reid to make New Zealand sporting history.

It had seemed passion, belief and hope were not enough.

But if New Zealand's chances had been written off by most in world football, no-one had told the band of travelling fans supporting the team.

Most wore their All Whites shirts, many had their faces painted, some had fancy dress and white afro wigs.

Curtis Atkinson and Simon Witcher from Auckland had been travelling round Africa and as they made their way to their seats with a box of 15 beers, they believed this was New Zealand's day.

"We get a win here and we're top of the group," said Curtis.

"This is the biggest day for New Zealand."

Simon said: "This is the game to get a result. Then we take out chances against Italy and Paraguay.

It's a dream, but not an impossible dream."

An icy wind whipped around the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, carrying with it the incessant drone of the vuvuzelas.

As the New Zealand national anthem played, some players sang and some looked to the crowd. Captain Ryan Nelsen sang, but with head bowed and eyes closed.

For a glorious half an hour the All Whites were the better side and, but for a few inches, could have taken the lead when Shane Smeltz crashed the ball into the side netting.

But it didn't last. Slovakia crept slowly back into the game.

At half time Kiwi hopes were still high.

But hope is that most fragile of emotions.

And it was shattered a few minutes into the second half when Slovakia scored what looked for the next 40 minutes to have been the winning goal.

Then Reid came from nowhere to win New Zealand its first point in the greatest sporting contest on the planet.

- NZ Herald

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