New Zealand manager Ricki Herbert was immensely proud of his players, despite their exit from the World Cup.
The All Whites finished third in Group F above world champions Italy, following three draws in the competition.
They finished the campaign with a 0-0 stalemate against Paraguay, who advance to the last 16, having drawn 1-1 against the Azzurri and Slovakia.
New Zealand were expected to be the group's whipping boys before the competition kicked off, and Herbert praised their 'amazing' performance.
"Everybody played well, they all contributed on the highest level," he said.
"It's our second time at the World Cup and to completely reverse what we've done before is quite amazing. The future looks bright for the team.
"I think I need to pinch myself," he added. "If you are going to exit the World Cup there are good ways of doing it.
"A lot of people thought we shouldn't be here and that we had amateurs who were not up to it.
"But I think that's dead and buried now."
Paraguay are rewarded with a round of 16 date against the runners-up of Group E next Tuesday in Pretoria, while Slovakia play the winners of the same pool.