Smith: We're Quietly Confident We Can Cause Upset
Wednesday, 8th Nov 2017 12:40
Town centre-half Tommy Smith says New Zealand are “quietly confident” they can cause an upset and defeat Peru in their World Cup play-off to claim a place at next summer’s finals in Russia. Smith and Blues youngster Monty Patterson are both in the All Whites squad for the two-legged tie.
New Zealand won the Oceania World Cup qualification process, while the Peruvians finished fifth in the South American qualifying group with the first leg of the play-off in Wellington on Saturday and the second game in Lima four days later.
“There's no two ways about it, we've got more than enough to cause them problems, but we want to keep those cards close to our chest," Smith insisted, despite the All Whites sitting at 122 in FIFA’s current rankings and Peru 10th.
"It's great to have a full-strength squad, which we haven't had for a long time. We're quietly confident that we can go and cause an upset."
The 27-year-old is expected to line-up at the heart of the defence with West Ham’s Winston Reid, the squad’s skipper, for the first time in four years due to injuries and a fallout with the New Zealand Football hierarchy, which saw Smith take two years off international football.
"A player as good as Winston is always going to slide straight back in - we know how good he is and how strong he is for us,” added Smith, who has been capped 35 times, scoring twice, and represented the All Whites at the 2010 finals in South Africa.
"We've been well-versed in how they're going to play and how we're going to combat their strengths and exploit their weaknesses.
“With Winston in the backline it gives us a lot more strength we haven't had in previous squads.”
Reflecting on how the ties might progress, he said: ”I don't think you can dictate before the game's started when and where you're going to press, defend or attack.
"As players and a group, you've got to pick your moment when to capitalise on those opportunities. It’s a hard one to put your finger on before the event's actually started.”
Midfielder or striker Patterson, 20, has previously won 15 caps and has scored one international goal.
Also in the squad are former Town loan frontmen Chris Wood and Rory Fallon.
Photo: Action Images
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