16 Nov 2017

Can the All Whites claim the final World Cup spot?

8:34 am on 16 November 2017

The All Whites came within centimetres of a magical win over Peru in Wellington last weekend, but if New Zealand are going to produce one moment of magic in this tie, it is perhaps best they saved it for today's return match in Lima.

All Whites coach Anthony Hudson.

All Whites coach Anthony Hudson. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

It is likely they'll need something special, given they'll be playing in front of 50 thousand partisan Peruvian fans doing everything in their power to help their team to their first World Cup in 35 years.

All Whites coach Anthony Hudson, though, said they won't be intimidated.

"The team is used to this [type of] situation.

"Four years ago in Mexico, the opening game of the Confederations Cup against [hosts] Russia, away to Mexico, away to Japan, this team is used to difficult situations.

"We're in a really good place. It's been a great week, everyone is relaxed, everyone is focussed. We're really looking forward to the game."

A huge home crowd desperate for victory is not the only reason Peru are strong favourites to prevail, with the 10th-ranked hosts no less than 112 places ahead of New Zealand.

But the All Whites don't appear daunted by that, either, and when asked about his team's bad record away from home, captain Winston Reid didn't take a backwards step.

"Well you haven't been to the World Cup in 30 years either, have you.

"Records are there to be broken, for you and for us, so we'll see.

"We know it's difficult, like Anthony said, you have a very good team but we must believe in ourselves and through that we'll try and get a good result."

A key figure when it comes to a result in favour of Reid's team is fellow English Premier League star Chris Wood.

Wood played only the final 20 minutes of the Wellington match because of injury but showed his class by creating two chances.

Wood is expected to be fit enough to start the return leg but Hudson said his star striker's availability will not impact the team's mindset.

"Chris Wood is very important to us but we are not putting all our faith in Chris Wood.

"We have lots of other players that we know can score and have scored away from home against big teams and have caused problems against big teams, so we go into the game confident."

Whether that confidence has been enough to send the All Whites back to the World Cup will be known later on Thursday afternoon.

The return leg in Lima kicks-off at 3.15pm.