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Defending champion Italy was held to another 1-1 draw Sunday, this time by New Zealand, in the latest World Cup surprise.
The 78th-ranked All Whites took the lead in the seventh minute when the ball glanced off 36-year-old Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro, gifting a goal to Shane Smeltz. A long free kick from Simon Elliott sailed deep into Italy's area, deflected off Cannavaro's hip and went directly toward the waiting Smeltz for the tap in.
Riccardo Montolivo hit the post for Italy in the 27th, and Vincenzo Iaquinta equalized two minutes later with a penalty, after Tommy Smith was shown a yellow card for tugging down Daniele De Rossi inside the area.
The goal was New Zealand's only shot on goal the entire match. Italy didn't get a good look at the goal until the 16th minute when Giorgio Chiellini missed the target with an awful shot from close range. Right back Gianluca Zambrotta then attempted to equalize with a long shot in the 22nd but just missed the top corner, drawing a gasp from the crowd, which clearly featured more Italy supporters.
After Iaquinta's equalizer, the Azzurri kept up the pressure, but Domenico Criscito missed a long shot high in the 31st and Paston had some trouble batting away an attempt by De Rossi from beyond the area in the 45th.
Iaquinta appeared to celebrate as if he were blowing a vuvuzela, the plastic trumpets that have become a symbol of the World Cup.
|Defending champion Italy was held to another 1-1 draw Sunday, this time |
by New Zealand, in the latest World Cup surprise.