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Pressure all on Peru: Hudson

NZN 6 days ago

Anthony Hudson © REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad Anthony Hudson Anthony Hudson is engaging in mind games on the eve of the World Cup intercontinental play-off match against Peru in Lima, believing all the pressure is on the hosts.

Hudson spoke confidently ahead of the second leg in Lima on Thursday (NZT), buoyed by the 0-0 draw in the first leg in Wellington.

The 10th-ranked Peruvians were widely favoured to advance past Hudson's 122nd ranked men but the coach says doubts will have entered their heads after failing to score in the first half of the tie.

With the host nation desperate to qualify for their first World Cup since 1982, the weight of expectation all falls on one time, Hudson contended.

"I think we have even more belief now - we're at the halfway point and are going into a scenario where the pressure really is all on Peru," he says.

"The scenario for us is one we're really embracing.

"I think the whole footballing world expects Peru to win and I don't think anyone would be wrong in saying that when you look at the teams on paper. That's all fine with us because we believe we're going to win."

Hudson has sensed quiet confidence among his players since they touched down less than three days out from kick-off.

They have put the travel delays they endured and the distractions of intense media interest to one side.

Prying eyes made difficult to complete a worthwhile training session but Hudson was unperturbed.

"With all the cameras over the wall and people on the roofs and all that we didn't do a lot. But it's all cat and mouse which is quite fun," he said.

Hudson says his final words before the players run onto Estadio Nacional.

The performance in Wellington convinced him they are capable of qualifying New Zealand for a third World Cup and he wants the players to be just as certain.

"I said to them in the changing rooms after the game that they should be proud but getting a draw against a top-10 team is not enough for us, we're not satisfied with this.

"If and when we get it right we're going to be a very good football team and we have to make that Wednesday night."

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