Peru is on edge.

As we hurtled through the streets of Lima, our taxi driver was unequivocal.

"We have to win on Wednesday - there is no choice," he said, as we passed billboards advertising Inca-Kola, cosmetic surgery and some housing developments. We have been building this team for a long time, and we have been waiting for more than 30 years for the World Cup. If we don't - it will be muy complicado.

Complicado, in this case, means a bit more than just complicated.


There might be anger, disbelief, frustration, but whether that will spill over to civil unrest remains to be seen. That would happen in some other South American countries - especially the likes of Uruguay and Argentina - but Peruvians are cut from a different cloth.

He even suggested that it is "no problem" being New Zealanders in this mega city at the moment.

"We have problems with Chileans...a lot of rivalry," he said, "but other countries, no problems."

That remains to be seen, surely dependent on the outcome of Thursday's match, and most of the small number of travelling supporters are choosing to remain circumspect for now.

As are the team, who managed to slip past a huge posse of waiting Peruvian media in the arrivals hall at Jorge Chavez airport on Sunday night (local time).

There were rows of cameras and microphones eagerly anticipating the men in white, but the team had obviously arranged a more discreet exit.

It continued what seemed to be a serene journey. The squad were in good spirits on their flight from Auckland, with regular laughter and animated conversation emanating from the business class area.

Earlier the team had mixed with the handful of fans making the trip, with one lucky supporter getting a `White Noise' t-shirt signed by the entire team.

Chris Wood was asked by another punter if he would be okay to start on Thursday, but played a straight bat "No idea mate".

The highlight of the flight was an impromptu singing session, with Dane Ingham and Jeremy Brockie serenading the economy class section, before Monty Patterson belted out "Halo" for those in Premium Economy.

Air New Zealand had put on a special plane for the team - with increased capacity in business class, and impressively many of the staff had returned from leave or days off to be on the plane.

They included Paul Longo, father of record breaking Football Fern Annalie Longo, who said he wouldn't miss a chance to be part of the All Whites flight.

It certainly must have been a surreal experience for those passengers, as the likes of Winston Reid and Wood wandered around.

Wood was the main topic of conversation among the supporters, and that continued once in Lima.

"The problem is goals," said our man in the cab. "Paolo Guerrero was our goal scorer and the heart of the team. We don't have another goal scorer. If we had [Chris] Wood it would be no problem. We would be very relaxed about Wednesday. But now the game is's there for the taking."