Friday, November 24, 2017

Prediction: Peru vs New Zealand

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 1/1

Bookmaker: William Hill

The tie is evenly balanced after the goalless draw in Wellington, but it is Peru who are regarded as clear favourites to go through. New Zealand, on the other hand, will be heavily relying on a counter-attacking approach, hoping the opposition forwards will all have a bad day at the office.

Peru

Even if they were not among the main candidates for a top 5 finish in the South American zone of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, Peru fought bravely throughout, overcame a slow start and eventually secured a play-off berth thanks to back to back draws with CONMEBOL powerhouses Argentina and Colombia. La Blanquirroja were unfortunate to have key striker Paulo Guerrero banned for the play-offs after he failed a doping test due to drinking a contaminated tea. With the team’s other legendary goalscorer Claudio Pizarro now out of the picture, Peru struggled up front against New Zealand, as winger Jefferson Farfan was quite ineffectual in the centre forward role. This is why head coach Ricardo Gareca is thinking about drafting Morelia striker Raul Ruidiaz into the starting line-up, with the 27-year-old having bagged 28 goals in 49 league outings for his new club. While Peru should have no problem dominating the weak New Zealand side, it will be crucial to convert any chances they may create, or else they could be punished on the break and end up not ending a 36-year wait for an appearance at the World Cup finals.

Team News

Raul Ruidiaz and Luis Advincula should be drafted into the starting line-up, but Paulo Guerrero continues to miss out through suspension.

New Zealand

New Zealand have only twice made it to the World Cup finals, back in 1982 and then in 2010, when they defeated Bahrain in the Intercontinental Play-offs. Mexico got the better of them (9-3) four years later and now it’s time to try and reach the 2018 tournament in Russia at Peru’s expense. It is fair to say that the All Whites were far from impressive in the Oceanic zone of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, and that is why we had doubts they would be able to match very good Peru side. However, New Zealand showed a great deal of promise when it really mattered in the first leg against Peru, holding their more illustrious opponents to a goalless draw, and they have now arrived to Lima in high spirits. The All Whites have faced some problems on their arrival in South America as the hosts clearly attempted to upset their preparations, but they have already trained at Estadio Nacional and seem ready for what awaits them in the crucial battle for the ticket to Russia.

Team News

The visitors have some selection problems, but the most important thing is that star striker Chris Wood has recovered from injury and should be in the starting line-up.

Defender Tommy Smith picked up a calf injury in the first leg, but he has traveled with the squad and could be fit to play.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Peru unbeaten in last nine matches (W5 D4)
  • La Blanquirroja shared spoils in their last three competitive fixtures
  • Paulo Guerrero a big miss for the hosts
  • New Zealand lost six of last nine matches (W1 D2)
  • Top scorer Chris Wood returns to starting XI

Key Factors to Consider

Peru may be the hot favourites to go through, but they will not have an easy job in the return leg. We do expect the hosts to enjoy a lion’s share of possession, but they will probably need quite some time to break the hard-working opposition, so chances are we will witness another low-scoring affair.

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 1/1

Bookmaker: William Hill

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lauren euceda
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lauren euceda

I think that New Zealand going to win today 3-0

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