New Zealand up for World Cup fight against Peru, says Barbarouses

Kosta Barbarouses will be in action for New Zealand Source: Getty Images

Australia is just one of a clutch of nations still in the running for nine open 2018 FIFA World Cup slots, with New Zealand joining the Socceroos in contesting do-or-die intercontinental play-offs this week.

The All Whites face South American fifth-placed finishers Peru - on Saturday and Thursday (AEDT) - and A-League-based attacker Kosta Barbarouses inists they're every chance to return to the FIFA World Cup for the first time in eight years.

"It's 50-50. You never really know until you're out there but everyone's fit and we've got our strongest squad," Barbarouses said.

Australia face Honduras as New Zealand tackle Peru in the two inter-confederation play-offs, while four-time winners Italy are involved in one of four all-European clashes.

And three African qualifying groups have come down to the final week, with only Egypt and Nigeria to have booked their places so far.

But New Zealand - the world No.122 - would be by some distance the lowest-ranked team at the 2018 tournament, and are massive underdogs in their play-off.

Barbarouses isn't thinking that way, although he knows it will be tough.

"Looking at the South American standings, you'd probably take Peru out of all the teams that were in the running," Barbarouses said.

"In saying that, they're ranked 10th in the world.

"We just need to perform at the best of our ability and if we do we have a really good chance.

"It'd be a great story to get there."

Source AAP