Football

Kiwis eye upset over Peru

WORLD CUP PLAY-OFF, FIRST LEG
NEW ZEALAND PERU

New Zealand believe they can spring a massive upset and beat Peru to reach next year's World Cup Finals, even if no one else shares their faith, said coach Anthony Hudson yesterday.

The New Zealanders host "Los Incas" in Wellington today for the first of a two-legged tie, with a berth at the Finals in Russia up for grabs.

Peru are ranked 10th in the world, while Hudson's side are 122nd and hail from a nation best known for the All Blacks rugby team.

Hudson, whose side include Burnley striker Chris Wood and West Ham United defender Winston Reid, said his men had been written off but Peru would be desperate to end a 36-year absence from football's showpiece tournament.

"They've had some unbelievable results in the last year against some big teams, the pressure really (is on them)," he said.

"The whole footballing world expects Peru to win, we know that. Everyone in this (media) room expects Peru to win."

The Englishman said the New Zealanders have the skills to match Peru but could not afford to be overawed by the occasion.

"What we need to do is just believe in ourselves and not be afraid of the task," he said.

"Play the game rather than getting carried away with the occasion, stick to the game plan and trust each other.

"We're good enough, I'm telling you that now, we're good enough."

New Zealand have qualified for the World Cup twice before, in 1982 and 2010, and Hudson said this campaign had been running smoothly.

He said he had a full squad with a strong mentality and good spirit.

The Wellington match will take place in front of 38,500 fans at a sold-out Westpac Stadium.

The return leg takes place next Wednesday at the Estadio Nacional in Lima. - AFP

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