for this game

New Zealand nets two late goals to tie Mexico

Jul 5, 2011 - 10:15 PM Sinsheim, Germany (Sports Network) - New Zealand earned its first-ever World Cup point with a goal on the final play of its third tournament Tuesday.

Hannah Wilkinson scored four minutes into stoppage time, minutes after Rebecca Smith scored New Zealand's first goal, as the Football Ferns snapped an eight- game losing streak spanning three World Cups with a 2-2 draw against Mexico.

Stephany Mayor and Maribel Dominguez scored in the first half for Mexico, and it was on pace for its first-ever victory at the World Cup until Smith scored in the 90th and Wilkinson scored on the final play of the game.

"This has been the hardest result for us to take because we thought we had our first win in the bag," Dominguez said. "We showed a few weaknesses in the second half though, and with those late goals we conceded it's a draw that feels like a defeat."

New Zealand lost all three games in its previous appearances in 1991 and 2007, and dropped its first two games in Germany. But the dramatic finish at Rhein- Neckar-Arena helped the Ferns finish with a point on the bottom of Group B.

Mexico finished third with two points, as both countries remained winless all- time in World Cup history. Mexico is 0-4-2 and New Zealand is 0-8-1. England defeated Japan, 2-0, on Tuesday to win Group B. Japan finished second.

The Mexicans got off to a dream start when Mayor opened the scoring lead than two minutes into the match. Veronica Perez began the build up with a pass from the right to Dominguez, and she played Mayor through into the area.

Mayor drove a shot from the right side of the area through New Zealand goalie Jenny Bindon's legs in the second minute for her sixth international goal.

Despite getting the key early goal in its quest to overturn goal differential against England, which had to lose to Japan to give Mexico a shot to advance, the Three Lions didn't cooperate in their match with Japan.

Ellen White scored in the 15th minute of the other group match, being played at the same time, so no matter how many goals Mexico scored it still needed a rally from Japan.

Perez helped set up the second goal for Mexico before the half-hour mark, this time winning a long pass from goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago in midfield to send Dominguez in against Bindon.

Dominguez converted a right-footed shot from the left side of the area to the lower-right corner for her 69th international goal. She also scored in the '99 World Cup.

The Mexicans struggled to add another goal after half and when England doubled its lead against Japan in the other match, even 10 more goals would not have been enough to extend their tournament.

New Zealand then shocked Mexico with two late goals, the first from Smith in the final minute of normal time. She took a pass from Kirsty Yallop and scored to the bottom-left corner.

Wilkinson followed with the tying goal after Ali Riley sent a cross into the area, where Wilkinson scored to the top-left corner from 12 yards. New Zealand celebrated the draw, while Mexico walked off the field stunned.

"To win our first point in this way is like winning the World Cup," New Zealand coach John Herdman said. "If we'd had another three minutes or so, I reckon we would have gone on and won."