New Zealands' Belo Horizonte - Almost

They're calling it the biggest upset of the tournament and, on the face of it, you certainly can't argue.

With the defending champions lining up against possibly the weakest side in the field, the common assumption was that the "Docile Flightless Birds" were being led to the slaughter.

An assumption which, unfortunately, Italy's players seemed to share. They strutted, they swaggered, they whined and moaned and non-chalanted and pranced about like the sleek show ponies they clearly feel themselves to be.

The referee was complicit in the conspiracy, not allowing anyone in a white shirt to bump into, breathe on or cast a mean glance at anyone in blue without a whistle.

That wasn't enough for the Azzuri who embellished, exaggerated and, when all else failed, flat out dove their way through an embarrassing 90 minute farce which they deserved to lose and, frankly, except for the idiot with the whistle, they did lose.

Mark this down as the day I moved Italy above France as "The Team I Love to Watch Lose".

The only thing which allowed the defending - but not for long - champions to salvage a point was an utterly ridiculous De Rossi dive in the box which Mr. "I Love The Boot" dutifully deemed worthy of a spot kick, apparently on the basis of artistic value..

New Zealand worked for and frankly earned the win today, but they're so delirious about the draw that they're not likely to notice for a few days.

Their grittiness at the end, when they looked for all the world like Mohammed Ali absorbing blow after blow until you couldn't figure out how he was still standing, was a performance for the ages.

Conversely, if their opponents had shown a tenth of that kind of heart, they might have actually won instead of needing blatant cheating and a clearly biased referee to merely salvage a tie.

As for Italy, that arrogant insult to the game which they casually tossed out there, apparently on the assumption that it was theirs by virtue of birth, they need to try and at least pretend to respect their opponents and the game itself before they'll deserve anything more than what they got today.

Which was a lot more than they deserved.