NZ plan to batten down the hatches and frustrate Peru

The national teams for Peru and New Zealand prepare to face off in the final playoff match that will determine which of the two teams will earn the last spot in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson speaks during a press conference in Lima on the eve of the 2018 World Cup qualifying play-off second leg match against Peru.
New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson speaks during a press conference in Lima on the eve of the 2018 World Cup qualifying play-off second leg match against Peru. PHOTO: REUTERS

LIMA (Peru) • New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson said his team are preparing for an early onslaught as they face Peru this morning (Singapore time), with the winners completing the 32-team line-up for the World Cup Finals in Russia next year.

The odds may be against them in the Oceania-South America play-off following a 0-0 draw in the Wellington leg on Saturday.

But Hudson believes that the pressure is all on the hosts, who are aiming to secure their first appearance at a World Cup Finals since 1982.

"We know that if Peru loses, it will be a national disaster," he said.

"We don't have that pressure. We have a united and small but strong team that is here to win."

Hudson added he believes that awareness of that pressure will prompt Peru to begin aggressively when the second leg kicks off at Lima's Estadio Nacional.

"I expect their team to try and play very fast, and try and score early," he said.

"The longer the tie stays the way it is, the more it will go in our favour. I imagine the pressure will only increase on the home team every five minutes.

"And because of that pressure, I think they're going to start very fast."

New Zealand, ranked 122nd in the world, need only a scoring draw to be assured of their third World Cup berth, following appearances at the 1982 and 2010 Finals.

Peru, ranked 10th, will look to strikers Jefferson Farfan and Raul Ruidiaz to help provide the cutting edge in the absence of suspended captain Paolo Guerrero.

Guerrero is unavailable after failing a dope test last month.

"We have one more final and have to give everything to get to the World Cup," said Farfan.

"New Zealand is a team that is very disciplined tactically and in defence, it does not leave any space. You have to be patient to find the space."

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PERU V NEW ZEALAND

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2017, with the headline 'NZ plan to batten down the hatches and frustrate Peru'. Print Edition | Subscribe