Opinion: Three mistakes the All Whites can't afford to make in Lima

OPINION: After a superb opening leg in Wellington, the All Whites face an even tougher test against Peru in South America.

In what's likely to be the most intense atmosphere they've ever played in, here's what they must avoid doing if they are to advance to the World Cup in Russia next year.

1. Concede an early goal

Keeping a clean sheet at home was a huge success and they'll need a similar showing at the back in Lima.

Peru were fairly subdued in the capital, preferring a slow build-up and allowing New Zealand to get plenty of men behind the ball.

However, in their own backyard, they're likely to come out with more pace and punch on attack, and the All Whites could face an onslaught from all corners of the pitch.

They need to withstand this early pressure and hold off the Peruvians for as long as possible.

The tension and frustration of the players and the fans will only grow, as the match develops.

If the All Whites can produce another determined effort in defence, it'll give them confidence, and could open the door for some swift counter-attacks through the likes of Rojas and Thomas, as Peru commit numbers forward in search of a goal.

2. Get too defensive

This is a tough one - do you sit back and hope to nab a late goal, or even set up for extra time and penalties?

Or do you try and take the game to Peru, strike early and put all the pressure on the hosts?

It's a balance the All Whites will have to get bang on Lima. A goal is an absolute game changer for New Zealand, forcing Peru to score twice to advance.

The attacking flair of Marco Rojas is critical to the All Whites' chances.
The attacking flair of Marco Rojas is critical to the All Whites' chances. Photo credit: Getty

This is the attitude the All Whites should adopt. Coach Anthony Hudson has instilled belief in his side, and they need to go into this game with the attitude of scoring goals and taking the game to Peru.

Sitting too deep and inviting pressure will be dangerous away from home.

Of course, the All Whites will be without the ball for long periods of time and there'll be plenty of situations where they'll need to absorb everything Peru throw at them. But they still need put the hosts on the back foot whenever they can, most likely through Chris Wood, attacking at set-pieces and using the surging runs of Ryan Thomas.

3. Let the occasion get to them 

In a game of this magnitude, it's easy to be over-awed.

The Estadio Nacional de Lima will be crackling with energy, they'll struggle to hear their team-mates on the pitch and some fitful nights of sleep, thanks to a barrage of Peruvian support, won't have helped.

This sort of game could turn ugly, if the All Whites don't enter with the right mindset, so they need to embrace it.

This is exactly why veterans Jeremy Brockie and Rory Fallon were included, to ease the pressure and calm the nerves. They go into the second-leg with a great deal of confidence and they know they've got a genuine shot at making the World Cup.

They must also be flexible and able to adjust. If they go a goal down, they must be able to reset, reshuffle and go again.

Fallon and Brockie give them attacking resources off the bench, if needed, while Bill Tuiloma can be summoned from the sideline to add starch to the midfield and back five.

After being locked up in their hotel, they should be itching to be unleashed on the field.

Henry Rounce is a sports reporter for Newshub.