All Whites staying relaxed
The All Whites appear in a relaxed mood after arriving in Peru ahead of the World Cup playoff second leg.
That was despite a delayed flight to Lima on Monday night (NZT) as the plane had to stop to refuel in Chile, as well having a horde of media and fans following their every step when they try to leave their seaside hotel.
All Whites coach Anthony Hudson attempted to venture out with his assistant, Darren Bazeley, the morning after their arrival, but was surrounded by cameras and microphones as he strolled towards the beach.
Hudson answered questions in Spanish – the American-born Brit is self-taught in the language – before the pair eventually retreated back to the team hotel without a caffeine fix.
The same thing happened to players Michael McGlinchey, Jeremy Brockie, Themi Tzimopoulos and Kosta Barbarouses when they emerged for a coffee and a look around. None of the quartet seemed overly bothered by the attention, smiling and posing for a photos, which were posted to Brockie’s social media accounts.
The close attention continued for their training.
Their team bus was flanked by armed police as they went to board it, with chants of ‘‘Peru, Peru!’’ ringing out.
The first lot of All Whites to hop aboard ignored the fans, but not big Rory Fallon. He started chanting back and waving to them, which drew smiles and laughs from his team-mates.
As he said last week when asked what his impact would be on the squad: ‘‘I bring the fun’’.
A group of about 50 journalists and cameramen were awaiting their arrival at their training destination - Markham College, an international school in the southern part of Peru’s capital city.
The media then did everything they could to get a glimpse of training. Three photographers jumped on top of the roof of a ute to see over the wall at the obstructing their view. Others stood on top of news vans or tried to peer through gaps in fences.
The various videos and photos which emerged showed central defender Tommy Smith sitting out of training with ice on his injured calf, although Hudson said he expected him to be fit for the second leg.
The same could be said for striker Chris Wood, who got through a full session. He is expected to start in the second leg at the Estadio Nacional tomorrow (3.15pm kickoff NZT) after only being fit enough for the bench in the first leg due to a hamstring complaint.
Safely through training, Wood and Winston Reid - who are both stars of the English Premier League - were mobbed by autograph and selfie-hunting kids from the college and were only too happy to oblige.
The All Whites arrive for the first leg of their World Cup playoff against Peru in Wellington last Saturday.