Oceania Football Confederation > News > 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa > Nelsen gutted with World Cup exit

Nelsen gutted with World Cup exit

Nelsen was struck down by a stomach bug in the days leading up to the Group F decider against Paraguay and says he felt ‘awful’ and was only functioning at about 40 per cent.
But he once again led a resolute All Whites defence flanked by Winston Reid and Tommy Smith, and ably supported by valuable contributions from midfield through to the front three.
Nelsen says he wishes the All Whites could have done better for a country that had given them ‘incredible’ support.
“I still just feel really gutted, kind of let down,” he says.
“I know the whole country has got behind us and I just feel like I want to say sorry to them in a way. We were so close, we just didn’t get there. I’m just gutted. I wish we could have done a bit better.”
The All Whites had come so far and desperately wanted to get through to the next round, he says.
“I’m just sorry that we didn’t get there.”
Defender Tommy Smith says all the players are disappointed to have missed out on the next round, despite being undefeated in their three matches.
The Ipswich Town youngster has loved every minute of being at the FIFA World Cup and would like to have stayed in South Africa for a bit longer.
”I’m just sad it’s had to come to an end early in the competition,” he says.
Smith says it was lovely to see his parents in the stands at the stadium for the Paraguay match and realise how proud they were.
At the end of the game, he tried to get into the stands to see them but was stopped by security.
However, a FIFA official stepped in after he explained he wanted to see his mum and dad and get a photo of his nephew.
His mother had been waving the photo around at every game as she wanted to get it signed, he says.
His nephew was born just before Smith left for South Africa so he has not yet been able to meet him.
While disappointed to be knocked out at this stage, Smith feels that everyone in the squad has improved ‘as a player as well as a person’ and it is an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives.
He reckons he will now take a couple of weeks’ break and get away on holiday.
Defender Winston Reid says all the players had tried to give it their best.
“We said before the game that everyone had to play 110 per cent and give it all they had. Everyone did so we can’t complain.
“I don’t think anyone back in New Zealand would have thought we would be unbeaten in the group stage after three games. You know, everyone expected we were going to go out and get our behinds kicked to be honest.
“But the guys worked hard and we stood together as a team and at moments we played some good football.”
The players and coaches remained on the pitch at the end of the Paraguay game to thank their supporters in the 34,850-strong crowd.
Some of the players had thought about showing their appreciation by doing a haka but in the end that didn’t happen.
“We wanted to do something for the crowd but I looked over at Rory Fallon and a couple of the other guys’ faces and they were pretty down,” Reid says.
He promises the players will ‘sort something out’ to thank the fans at the next home game New Zealand plays.
Story courtesy of NZF Media.
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