TADS and Black Yellow White host Aaron Dahmen believes Chris Wood will be the deciding factor as New Zealand faces Peru in the away leg of their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.
The tie hangs in the balance after a gripping 0-0 draw at a near-capacity Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday. The All Whites say “they are in a great position to achieve one of the biggest results in New Zealand Football history.”
New Zealand have been swamped by local media in Lima, and completed their official training on Wednesday, before they look to upset World No.10 Peru for a place in the FIFA World Cup.
Speaking on TADS, Dahmen said Wood had the talent, potential and drive to make a significant difference when he takes on the physical Peruvian defence.
“To have a New Zealander standing out as one of the best players in the Premier League is remarkable – credit to him.”
“Now it’s time to make a mark with our All Whites.”
New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson says the team spirit within his side is “the best it has ever been” since he took over the job three and a half years ago.
“I have to say the mood in the team is unbelievable”
“Everyone is relaxed. We’re in a really good place, everyone is focused and we’re looking forward to the game.”
The coach is confident that Wood, who made a 19 minute cameo from the bench which changed the game in Wellington, will be fit enough to start up front for the All Whites.
“Chris has a mild tightness in his hamstring, that’s all.”
“He is a very important player to us, but we’re not putting all of our faith in him, as we have lots of other players who can score goals and have scored goals away from home against big teams in the past.”
Hudson and captain Winston Reid said all of the pressure was on the hosts as the favourites look to qualify for their first FIFA World Cup since 1982.
Asked about the All Whites’ poor international record, Reid didn’t hold back:
“Have you noticed that Peru have not qualified for a World Cup for 30 years?”
“The pressure is on Peru to win the game tomorrow, not us.”
The wait is almost over.