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Smith ‘quietly confident’ New Zealand can reach World Cup

PUBLISHED: 15:00 08 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:43 08 November 2017

Tommy Smith, pictured battling with Cardiff's Omar Bogle for the ball, is in World Cup action. Picture: PAGEPIX

Tommy Smith, pictured battling with Cardiff's Omar Bogle for the ball, is in World Cup action. Picture: PAGEPIX

Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town defender Tommy Smith has insisted New Zealand are ‘quietly confident’ they can pull off a shock and beat Peru to reach next summer’s World Cup.

Tommy Smith, pictured in action at the 2010 World Cup. Picture: EMPICS Tommy Smith, pictured in action at the 2010 World Cup. Picture: EMPICS

Ipswich Town defender Tommy Smith has insisted New Zealand are ‘quietly confident’ they can pull off a shock and beat Peru to reach next summer’s World Cup.

Smith’s All-Whites topped the Oceania qualifying section to set up a two-legged play-off clash with Peru, who finished fifth in South American qualifying, with the first leg due to take place in the early hours of Saturday morning in Wellington.

The two sides will then travel to Lima for the second leg on Thursday, with Smith confident his side can cause an upset and dispose of the side currently 10th in the FIFA world rankings.

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“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 told reporters in New Zealand.

“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.”

Smith has joined up with a New Zealand squad including Burnley striker Chris Wood, but it is the return of defensive partner Winston Reid which the Ipswich player believes could make the difference.

Smith has 35 international caps for New Zealand. Picture :SNPA / David Rowland Smith has 35 international caps for New Zealand. Picture :SNPA / David Rowland

“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,” he said.

“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.

“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 back line, it gives us a lot more strength we haven’t had in previous squads.”

Along with Smith, who has 35 international caps to his name and played at the 2010 World Cup, young Blues striker Monty Patterson is also in the New Zealand squad for the two games.

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“I don’t think you can dictate before the game’s started when and where you’re going to press, defend or attack,” Smith added, when asked how his side will approach the games.

“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.”

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