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Ask SL in the 96 cricket WC.To be fair, I guess most of the teams that win World Cups haven't really been mediocre pre-tournament (England 2003 were favourites, South Africa had a good run-in to the 2007 tournament). In saying that, how does being consistently poor for 90% of the time and turning up well for a tournament for a month and a half constitute a better overall performance than a team with an outstanding record between World Cups (NZs win/loss sits at about 80% since 2007) and a one-off loss in the tournament? The funny thing is, if New Zealand do happen to lose this time, I think a lot of other New Zealanders would actually agree with your viewpoint; but its one I don't really subscribe to.
Doesn't diminish the achievement. Everyone in the sport knows this is the biggest tourney, iot's incumbent upon them to turn up and play their best, injuries allowing.
On that note, Australia needs to start picking a few blokes who have been west of Anzac Parade in their lives, so when the silver spoons get removed from their arses, they get on with the job and actually play with some bloody heart.