SINSHEIM: New Zealand sealed a dramatic 2-2 draw with Mexico as the Football Ferns fought back to steal a point with literally the last kick of the game in their final Group B match on Tuesday. Mexico took a 2-0 lead after 30 minutes thanks to Stephany Mayor and Maribel Dominguez, but the Kiwis hit back as captain Rebecca Smith scored with time almost up before teenager Hannah Wilkinson equalised in the 94th minute. Smith, who plays her football in Germany for VfL Wolfsburg, looked to have scored no more than a consolation goal as she was left unmarked in the area and headed home in the 90th minute.
But the Kiwis were rewarded for their never-say-die attitude when second-half replacement Wilkinson controlled the ball from a long cross and held off the attentions of two defenders to score, just seconds before the final whistle.Despite the point, both teams are going home as England progressed as group winners after their 2-0 win over Japan, who had already qualified, in Augsburg. There was no clue of the drama that was to follow as Mexico started the match by flooring the Kiwis in front of a crowd of just over 20,000. Having drawn their opening game with England, they then suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Japan in Leverkusen last Friday and Mexico came out determined to make amends. The Central Americans took the lead after just two minutes when 29-year-old forward Mayor netted her sixth goal on her 19th appearance.
Mexico doubled their lead when captain Dominguez netted a second after 29 minutes – her 69th goal for her country – but New Zealand never gave up. The Oceania champions showed plenty of spirit and midfielder Rosie White picked up an early yellow card for a loose first-half tackle. Left-back Anna Green worked tirelessly and came close with a couple of chances, particularly in the dying stages, but it was Smith who finally netted in the 90th minute to put her side back in the game. It was then left to 19-year-old Wilkinson, who showed maturity beyond her tender years to coolly slot home her half-chance as she found herself in front of goal. – Dailytimes