A WORLD OF PRES­SURE

All Whites brace for show­down in Lima

The Dominion Post - - Front Page - LIAM HYSLOP

Hudson and Reid, it even sounds like a 1980s de­tec­tive duo. In this case, it was All Whites coach An­thony Hudson and cap­tain Win­ston Reid, who put on their best good cop, bad cop rou­tine in Lima yes­ter­day at the pre-match press con­fer­ence for the se­cond leg of their World Cup play­off against Peru.

Hudson was the smil­ing, oblig­ing good cop, an­swer­ing a mul­ti­tude of ques­tions from lo­cal jour­nal­ists in his self-taught Span­ish, while Reid turned bad cop when a Peru jour­nal­ist sug­gested the All Whites didn’t have a good record away from home.

‘‘Well, you haven’t been to a World Cup for 30 years, have you?,’’ Reid fired back, call­ing out world No 10 Peru’s World Cup drought that stretches back to 1982.

Whether that was a bit of mind games or a sim­ple state­ment of fact, the mes­sage was clear: all the pres­sure will be on Peru at the Es­ta­dio Na­cional today.

‘‘You haven’t been to a World Cup for 30 years, have you?’’ Win­ston Reid, left, with An­thony Hudson, fires back at Peru­vian me­dia

They are the ones with a weight of a na­tion on their shoul­ders. That pres­sure has only in­creased since Peru’s lack­lus­tre show­ing in the 0-0 draw in the first leg in Welling­ton on Satur­day.

It means a scor­ing draw would send the All Whites through on away goals, while a score­less draw sends the game to ex­tra time and pos­si­bly penal­ties. Peru have to win to qual­ify.

To com­bat that pres­sure, Hudson said he ex­pected Peru to start fast to try to score an early goal.

‘‘The longer the game goes the way it is [0-0], the pres­sure will in­crease on the home team. Be­cause of that Peru will start fast.’’

That was in stark con­trast to what their op­po­si­tion were ex­pect­ing of them. Peru coach Ri­cardo Gareca said New Zealand would con­tinue with their de­fen­sive mind­set.

‘‘I’m sure they’re go­ing to stay back. Know­ing this, we’ll have to be pa­tient and pass the ball around.’’

There has been talk about what Peru might change with their at­tack to break down New Zealand’s de­fence. Some have sug­gested Jef­fer­son Far­fan might be re­placed up front by Raul Ruidiaz.

If Reid’s re­sponse to a ques­tion about Far­fan was any­thing to go by, then Peru should cer­tainly think long and hard about play­ing him up front again.

‘‘I don’t want to sound ar­ro­gant, but I think I, and my team-mates, are used to play­ing against good strik­ers, so it’s not a shock for us.’’

All Whites de­fender Tommy Smith will need a fit­ness test today to de­ter­mine if he could play af­ter he sat out yes­ter­day’s fi­nal train­ing ses­sion with a calf in­jury. He looks likely to be re­placed in the start­ing lineup by An­drew Du­rante.

The prog­no­sis was slightly bet­ter for striker Chris Wood and his tight ham­string. He is in line to start the se­cond leg, al­though Hudson said he wasn’t their only at­tack­ing weapon.

‘‘Chris Wood is very im­por­tant to us, but we have many play­ers on the pitch who are im­por­tant and also dan­ger­ous, so we’re not putting all our faith in Chris Wood.

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

The streets in the Peru­vian cap­i­tal are all decked out in the red and white of the team’s colours.

The Peru­vian Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion has also an­nounced it will al­low a Peru­vian flag to be dis­played be­fore 50,000 peo­ple at Es­ta­dio Na­cional de Lima dur­ing the game. The flag is re­ported to be 100 me­tres long and took fans weeks to stitch to­gether.

Photo: PHOTOSPORT

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