Smith and Patterson's All Whites to Face Peru for Place at World Cup Finals
Wednesday, 11th Oct 2017 09:34
Tommy Smith and Monty Patterson’s New Zealand will face Peru in next month’s intercontinental play-off for a place at the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.
Last month the All Whites secured their spot in the two-legged tie against the side placed fifth in the South American qualification group by beating the Solomon Islands 8-3 on aggregate in the Oceania play-off.
After a dramatic last round of South American games overnight - in which Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick as Argentina came from a goal behind to win 3-1 in Ecuador to finish third and secure their place in Russia - Peru finished fifth after drawing 1-1 at home to Columbia, who qualified fourth with Brazil and Uruguay, first and second, the other qualifiers.
New Zealand head coach Anthony Hudson admitted that Peru, who are 12th in FIFA’s rankings with the All Whites 113th, were the team he was hoping to face, Argentina having gone into the penultimate round of matches fifth in the table.
"Whoever we got, it was going to be a tough game," Hudson said. "If we are sitting here, talking about playing Argentina, then yes, that is a massive uphill battle.
"From my position, Peru is the team I would have liked to have played and now we can start planning."
The first leg of the tie will take place in Wellington on either November 9th or 10th, with the away game in Lima set for November 14th.
Smith, 27, has won 35 caps, scoring two goals and previously played at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the 2012 London Olympics, while Patterson, 20, has made 15 senior international appearances, netting one goal.
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