All Whites v Peru: All the big ques­tions an­swered

Manawatu Standard - - Sport -

OPIN­ION: The All Whites are just 90 min­utes away from the World Cup, but so are Peru.

The Ki­wis im­pressed in Wellington on Satur­day, draw­ing 0-0 and keep­ing the play­off alive when many thought they wouldn’t. Ahead of the sec­ond leg, Stuff’s foot­ball writ­ers share their thoughts.

What im­pressed you the most in the first leg?

Liam Hys­lop: Michael Box­all. Hav­ing re­watched the game, he’s emerged as a real un­sung hero in my mind. Made some cru­cial in­ter­cep­tions and tackles. Some have crit­i­cised him for be­ing overly phys­i­cal, but proved just as as­sured as Tommy Smith in the back three.

Phillip Rollo: I was most im­pressed by Win­ston Reid’s Ryan Nelsen-es­que per­for­mance at the back. The cap­tain stood up when the All Whites needed him the most, an­chor­ing a de­fen­sive line that kept Peru score­less for 90 min­utes.

Tony Smith: Win­ston Reid was im­mense, Ryan Thomas showed flashes of skill and Michael Mcglinchey cov­ered huge tracts of ground, but the All Whites are still in this tie thanks to keeper Ste­fan Mari­novic dis­cov­er­ing his in­ner Mark Pas­ton, scram­bling back to stop the ball squirm­ing over the line and tip­ping a shot bril­liantly over the bar in the sec­ond half.

Ben Strang: An­thony Hud­son. Us­ing his midfielders, Thomas and Lewis, to help cover the wing backs and sti­fle Peru’s at­tack was a mas­ter­stroke. The press­ing shoved Peru to the flanks, where they found a dead end. The play­ers never strayed from the plan, hence the re­sult.

An­drew Vo­er­man: The All Whites midfielders, for putting in the ef­fort re­quired on de­fence in An­thony Hud­son’s sys­tem. They were tire­less in get­ting back to pro­vide sup­port, yet still did their jobs on at­tack as well.

Where do the All Whites need to im­prove?

LH: Fin­ish­ing their limited chances, but that should come nat­u­rally with an English Pre­mier League striker back on deck.

PR: De­fen­sively, the All Whites were solid on Satur­day but they pro­vided lit­tle goalscor­ing threat out­side of Ryan Thomas’s late

ef­fort. All five of their shots were off tar­get, in­clud­ing one strike from Kosta Bar­barouses that went out for a throw. Start­ing Chris Wood should solve this, how­ever.

BS: It’s a con­fi­dence thing. We saw Kosta Bar­barouses, Marco Ro­jas and Ryan Thomas beat their

men with ease at times. They’re good enough. Now they need to have con­fi­dence to keep the ball on the ground and pass it.

TS: Stop giv­ing away the ball so eas­ily once they’ve won it and cre­ate and take more chances. Get an early goal - prob­a­bly from a set­piece

- then de­fend like their lives de­pend on it.

AV: Maybe a lit­tle more headsup play on at­tack. There were a few frus­trat­ing drib­bles to nowhere on Satur­day. Other­wise, they were pretty much at their peak - turn­ing their chances into shots, and their shots into shots on tar­get is mostly down to luck (and the likely ad­di­tion of Chris Wood from the start).

What should our ex­pec­ta­tions be?

LH: Qual­i­fy­ing for the World Cup. Take away the re­spec­tive rep­u­ta­tions and rank­ings of the two teams on Satur­day and ex­am­ine them as the white team and the red team. Who was bet­ter? It’s hard to know. For that rea­son, I think the white team, who will wear black to­day, will have the edge by adding a player of Wood’s qual­ity.

PR: Our ex­pec­ta­tion should be that the All Whites qual­ify for a third World Cup. They proved, in the first leg, that they can foot it with Peru. A 1-1 draw will be enough, and I think that should be a re­al­is­tic aim.

TS: Some­one once said that our level of seren­ity is in­versely pro­por­tional to our level of ex­pec­ta­tion. All the pres­sure’s on Peru, but Wood’s likely in­clu­sion from the outset could be a gamechanger. Can the All Whites hold out for an­other 90 min­utes? They did it back-to-back against Bahrain eight years ago, but Peru are a class above the Asians.

BS: Hud­son says they’ll score an away goal, so that’s what we should ex­pect. A strong de­fen­sive per­for­mance, and a goal. New Zealand could still lose, but the ex­pec­ta­tion should be for New Zealand to be within a goal.

AV: Noth­ing. The re­sult on Satur­day doesn’t change the fact that this will be an all-time up­set if the All Whites win, and no big deal if they lose. As long as they aren’t to­tally em­bar­rassed.

Pre­dic­tion for to­mor­row?

LH: New Zealand win 1-0. PR: Peru win 2-1.

TS: The rugby pub­lic hate foot­ball draws, but a 1-1 re­sult here would be the All Whites’ best re­sult since the Ital­ian job at the 2010 World Cup fi­nals. Away goal rules.

BS: I ex­pect New Zealand to score, but I imag­ine it to be an equaliser, with Peru scor­ing a sec­ond to win it. An hon­ourable 2-1 de­feat.

AV: I reckon the All Whites score one, and I reckon Peru score one. But can Peru score an­other? My gut says yes. Peru win 2-1.

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