New Zealand preparing for the second leg of the Intercontinental Play-off in Lima today to secure the final berth in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
There is a chance that their campaign – that for the All Whites began 18 months ago in Port Moresby – may extend into extra time and even penalties should the 0-0 scoreline from Saturday’s first leg in Wellington be repeated at the Estadio Nacional de Lima, but any other result in 90 minutes will provide a winner on either aggregate or the away goals rule.
New Zealand have faced a disrupted build up since leaving New Zealand – their connecting flight from Buenos Aires faced a forced refuelling and their one full training session lacked the privacy they desired, Oceania Football Confederation reports.
But despite those setbacks, the New Zealand camp has continued to radiate a calm confidence insisting the weight of both expectation and history is against their 10th ranked hosts, who have not qualified for the FIFA World Cup finals since 1982.
Coach Anthony Hudson said there is a singular focus lying beneath the team’s breezy demeanour.
“I have to say the mood in the team is unbelievable,” said Hudson.
“Everyone is relaxed. We’re in a really good place, everyone is focused and we’re looking forward to the game. Nothing can get in our way on this tour. The team spirit is the strongest it’s been in the three and a half years I’ve been in the job.”
The interest in Peru’s quest to end a 35 year wait for FIFA World Cup qualification is intense. Over 600,000 people entered the ballot to be able to purchase tickets for the match and Peru coach Ricardo Gereca has assured the public his side is fully committed to delivering the result the country craves.