All Whites coach Anthony Hudson maintains his team are ready to face the best footballer on the planet.

On Saturday night at 6pm (Sunday 3am NZT) the All Whites will step on to the field for one of their most daunting challenges in recent years; taking on Portugal, led by Cristiano Ronaldo.

The best defences in the world have struggled to contain him - witness his brace in the recent Champions League final win against Juventus - but Hudson says his team are up for the challenge.

"I'm not the first manager to be asked about how to stop him," said Hudson.


"We know this is not only a world class team but Ronaldo is the best in the world."

"But it's not one of those situations where if you deal with Ronaldo that's it - there are a lot of top players in this team. But we are not overawed by it."

Like he has consistently said, both before and during this tournament, the All Whites have no desire to just be part of the occasion on Sunday. They want to turn heads, like they did for long periods against Mexico in Sochi.

"We are not just going to there to play against Portugal we are going there for a result," said Hudson. "We are playing against one of the world's best teams and we need to understand there is a huge gulf in class. But we want to improve and we will give everything that we can. We are not even thinking about trying to conserve or keep the score line respectable. We are not even thinking that way. "

Hudson said he enjoyed the fact that the All Whites had been consistently underestimated, both at home and abroad.

"Every situation we have been in the team is always written off," said Hudson. "I absolutely loved it when the journalists back home were saying we were going to get absolutely hammered, predictions of four or five nil [against Mexico]. Constantly we have had people writing our team off. [But] we have nothing but belief, nothing but spirit."

Tomorrow is the toughest test yet in this tournament. Portugal have always been a major footballing nation, but gained an extra level of impetus and belief following last year's European Championships triumph in France.

They are renowned for their close passing style - weaving triangles across the pitch - and have individual brilliance in the attacking third. They also have an uncompromising, disciplined defence and can push the boundaries with their gamesmanship.

Portugal also has plenty to play for. They need a point to guarantee qualification for the semi-finals, but are also aware that only a convincing win will secure top spot, as Mexico currently has an advantage on goal difference.

"They don't want to be playing New Zealand and that's good for us," said Hudson. "We have come here and are creating a little bit of a stir and teams are starting to take us a bit more seriously."

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