Go Australasia! Aussies claim Kiwis` Cup success

Sydney: First there was pavlova, then Phar
Lap. Then Crowded House and even Russell Crowe joined the list
of New Zealand creations claimed by Australia.

But Australian media may have overstepped the mark on
Wednesday by dubbing New Zealand "Australasia" after their
historic World Cup draw against Slovakia, prompting paroxysms
of rage across the Tasman Sea.

"Australasia 1 -- Slovakia 1: Kiwis get the point,"
trumpeted the Sydney Morning Herald`s front page headline,
over a picture of New Zealand`s Winston Reid celebrating his
late equaliser.

The tongue-in-cheek description was taken up by
Australian breakfast TV, prompting New Zealanders to pause
from celebrating one of the country`s finest sporting moments
to lash out at their near-neighbours.

"Aussies struggle with All Whites` result," read a
headline on stuff.co.nz, while the National Business Review`s
website ran with, "Dirty Aussies lay claim to NZ`s World Cup

"New Zealanders are today celebrating our nation`s
first-ever World Cup point following the All Whites` 1-1 draw
with Slovakia. So are Australians," the Review`s report said,
slamming the Herald`s "stunning gall".

"Bloody Australians, unbelievable, they will claim
anything as their victory," tweeted one disgruntled Kiwi.

New Zealand`s last-gasp draw -- in their first World Cup
appearance in 28 years -- sparked jubilant scenes across the
country, which is usually more closely associated with rugby.

It follows Australia`s 4-0 drubbing by three-time winners
Germany, which left the Socceroos` World Cup hanging in the
balance and Aussie fans in the doldrums.

"Australasia" especially hits a nerve after a surprising
survey showed one in four New Zealanders wanted their country
to become part of their bigger, wealthier neighbour, stoking
fierce debate.

Australia and New Zealand have enjoyed generations of
friendly rivalry, mainly played out on the sports field but
also spilling over to accents, economics and even the weather.

However, a Lowy Institute survey released last month
showed despite the banter, Australians have warmer feelings
towards New Zealand than any other country.

Bureau Report

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