Ki­wis in bat­tle with Peru for Rus­sia berth

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - SPORT -

NEW Zealand be­lieve they can spring a mas­sive up­set and down Peru to reach the 2018 World Cup fi­nals, even if no one else shares their faith, coach An­thony Hud­son said yes­ter­day.

The New Zealan­ders host “Los In­cas” in Welling­ton to­day for the open­ing leg of a two-match qual­i­fi­ca­tion tie with a berth at the fi­nals in Rus­sia next year up for grabs.

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

Hud­son said his side had been writ­ten off, but it was Peru that was des­per­ate to end a 36-year ab­sence from foot­ball’s show­piece tour­na­ment.

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

Peru coach Ri­cardo Gareca ac­knowl­edged his team were con­sid­ered favourites, but in­sisted they would not be tak­ing New Zealand lightly.

“In re­al­ity, both teams start from zero and the match is so im­por­tant for both teams that you just never know,” the Ar­gen­tine said via an in­ter­preter.

He was con­fi­dent the South Amer­i­cans would cope with­out cap­tain and goal-scor­ing talisman Paolo Guer­rero (pic­tured) , who is serv­ing a sus­pen­sion over an “ab­nor­mal re­sult” from a drugs test.

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

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