In Peru, the dirty tricks have begun.

The All Whites' arrival into Lima last night was delayed by almost three hours, after what looks like a curious intervention by local authorities.

Then the bus that took the team from Jorge Chavez airport to their coastal hotel was also strangely slow, taking more than twice as long as it normally should have at that time of night.

The All Whites head onto their team bus in Lima. Photo / Jason Pine
The All Whites head onto their team bus in Lima. Photo / Jason Pine

It made a challenging journey - which started more than a day earlier in Wellington - even tougher; a little sting in the tail for the travelling team.


It's out of character, as Peruvians are naturally hospitable people, some of the most welcoming across the whole continent.

But it seems that the temptation to disrupt the All Whites, in low key but effective ways, has been too great. It's understandable, given what's at stake, with politicians and the entire economy depending on a boost from Thursday's (NZT) result, quite apart from the sporting implications of breaking a 35 year World Cup drought.

It seems like subtle words have been exchanged between closed doors and plans put into action; that's the only way to understand the curious events of Sunday (Peru time) after the All Whites landed in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The trip from Auckland on a specially commissioned Air New Zealand plane had been smooth, but things soon got awkward with their charter flight.

The charter company had submitted a flight plan which had the team landing at 8:30pm (Peru time), after the four and a half hour journey north from Buenos Aires.

But just before they started the journey, the pilots were told by Peruvian authorities they would be unable to land in Lima until after 10:30pm, due to new landing restrictions imposed at Lima airport.

This meant that the team - bizarrely - stopped on the way in the small northern Chile city of Iquique. The team sat on the tarmac for around 45 minutes, before taking off again.
They were finally cleared to land at Lima airport at 11.15pm, almost three hours behind schedule.

Upon arrival, the team went through a back door to a waiting bus, while coach Anthony Hudson and his assistant Darren Bazeley went out to the arrivals hall to face the local media.

Hudson and Bazeley later took a taxi back to the hotel, but still arrived more well before the All Whites bus.

According to those on board, the bus, which was escorted by a large motorcade of police cars and motorcycles, barely got above 35km/h on the whole journey.

It meant that the 20km journey took more than 45 minutes, which added to the frustration of the playing group at the end of a long trip.

The team arrived at their hotel around midnight, and didn't get to sleep until 1:30am.
Welcome to enemy territory.