All Whites defender Andrew Durante has a unique family link to Peru.

His late grandfather was born in Lima and spent the first 17 years of his life in the bustling metropolis.

Indeed, if Thursday's All Whites-Peru match was being staged here 60 years ago, then the patriarch of the Durante family would be in the stands, yelling in Espanol for the local team.

"I knew that my grandfather was born in Peru, but just thought it was a year here and then he left," said Durante.

Advertisement

"I was actually quite shocked that he had significant links to Lima and Peru."

Durante's great grandparents lived in England until his great-grandfather got posted to Lima with his job working for a telephone company.

"My grandfather was born here and stayed until he was 17," said Durante.

"He did all of his schooling here and his mum and dad got married over here in Lima. I didn't realise the significance of it all until I was speaking to my grandmother last week.

"My grandmother wanted to dig out his address so I could go and see where he used to live. But I told her I'm probably not going to have time."

It makes what is already a special occasion even more memorable.

"Seventeen years is a long time and he had real roots here," said Durante.

"It's quite special to play a game like this here."

Durante could play an important role on Thursday (NZT), with Tommy Smith still under an injury cloud after he limped off last Saturday.

The All Whites will again be massive underdogs - Peru have only lost four matches in the last four years at home - but Durante likes it that way.

"The pressure is all on them - completely," said Durante.

"They are the 10th ranked country in the world and we are a little country in the hundreds or so. They will have a lot of support, and it will be an amazing occasion in their home stadium with lots of noise, singing drums and horns."

"But they will be feeling the pressure," said Durante.

"I'd assume they would have thought they would comfortably beat us in the first leg. But the boys showed a lot of resilience, determination and that Kiwi fight to get a draw and almost snatch a win.

"It will need to be more of the same [on Thursday], we are going to need everybody performing at their best."

If the All Whites don't progress, this could also be the last time Durante wears the Silver Fern, after the naturalized New Zealander made his debut back in March 2013.

"I don't want it to be my last game," said Durante.

"We sat together as a group before the first match, discussing what it meant to us and I said I wasn't ready to give it up and stop playing for the All Whites yet.

"That was my wish to the players, that we continue this journey and it's not the last time I put on this jersey. I want to go to a World Cup. I want some more games."