Pressure will be the name of the game when the All Whites host South American heavyweights Peru in Wellington on Saturday.
According to skipper Winston Reid, the Kiwis have the players to cause an upset and edge closer to a spot at next year's World Cup in Russia.
Reid cut a calm figure when addressing the media on Friday - little over 24 hours before kick-off in the first leg of the playoff against heavyweight Peru in Wellington.
And if they are to topple their 10th ranked opponents, his teammates will need to follow suit.
"There's going to be moments that we're going to have the upper hand, and there's going to be moments where the other team's going to have the upper hand," Reid said.
"I think it's just about managing those situations, and trying to steer the ship through those waters."
That's where Reid's experience, and that of star striker Chris Wood, could prove key.
"We've got a good senior group here," he said.
"There's going to be tricky moments out there, so it's just about giving the young players guidance and leading by example."
The visitors' quick, technical players will pose a big threat, Reid admits.
"We've done our homework - they're going to come at us, and we're going to be ready for them."
The 29-year-old West Ham central defender missed the All Whites' Confederation Cup campaign in June with a knee injury, and his steadying influence was sorely missed as the Kiwis were beaten by Russia, Mexico and Portugal.
Remarkably it will be Reid's first World Cup play-off: injury ruled him out in 2013 when Mexico beat the All Whites 9-3 on aggregate, while he hadn't committed to New Zealand at the time of the successful 2009 campaign.
In contrast, Wood played a part in both - off the bench as a raw 17-year-old in 2009, then again in 2013 as a more established striker.
He now has an established English Premier League career, having signed a deal worth more than $NZ25 million with Burnley earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Peruvian coach Ricardo Gareca insists his team will respect the All Whites - despite the gulf between the sides in the world rankings (the All Whites are ranked No 122).
There was no chest-beating from Gareca as he fronted media, the Argentine declaring himself happy with his side's build-up, despite the team only arriving in the capital at lunchtime preferring to prepare for the game in Auckland.
Upon arrival at Wellington Airport, the team was met by several hundred raucous fans, desperate to catch a glimpse of their heroes.
It's also understood the Peruvian delegation will depart Wellington immediately after the first leg and catch a charter flight back to Lima late on Saturday evening. The All Whites depart Auckland for Peru 24 hours later.
Gareca denied they were thinking about returning home for the second leg with a healthy advantage, insisting their focus was solely on the first game in Wellington.
He also revealed he had spoken to his suspended skipper Paolo Guerrero who had expressed his confidence that the side could do well even in his enforced absence for a failed drugs test.
-Additional reporting NZN