Coach Vladimir Weiss has expressed his disappointment after New Zealand snatched a last-gasp 1-1 draw against Slovakia.
Weiss' men were set to celebrate a winning start to the nation's first international tournament since Czechoslovakia divided in 1993.
Robert Vittek's header had given them a 50th-minute lead in their Group F opener in Rustenburg on Tuesday.
But three minutes into stoppage time, Winston Reid found space in the box to head home for New Zealand and deny Slovakia all three points.
A win would have put Slovakia top of the group and firmly in the hunt for a place in the second round following Italy's 1-1 draw with Paraguay on Monday.
Yet Weiss' players were left deflated having failed to secure victory in a dominant second-half display.
"This is a minor sporting tragedy for us," Weiss said.
"We were the better team over the course of the game. It's a pity we didn't take our chances."
It was a landmark result for New Zealand, however, as Reid's last-gasp equaliser secured the All Whites' first-ever World Cup point having lost all three games on their previous finals appearance in 1982.
The Auckland-born 21-year-old, who only pledged his allegiance to New Zealand in March having moved to Denmark aged 10, headed home from a Shane Smeltz cross.
Reid was booked for taking his shirt off amid wild celebrations but that mattered little to the FC Midtjylland defender.
"It was awesome," he said. "First thing I did was look at the linesman to see if I was offside and after that it was great.
"We had just decided to stay up there and hope for the best.
"Look at the smiles of the players and staff and that tells you everything. We're at the biggest stage of football and it's great to be here."
New Zealand face holders Italy on Sunday in Nelspruit with an outside chance of progressing to the last 16 while Slovakia play Paraguay in Bloemfontein.