The All Whites are well versed in demanding travel schedules but what they are about to undertake over the next two weeks is at the extreme end of the scale.
In the space of seven days they will fly more than 26,000km from New Zealand to Mexico City, via Los Angeles, and back again.
There is no time for jet lag. The team arrive on Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles and have two training sessions the next day. They have another training session on Monday (US time) before flying to Mexico that night.
The game will be played at the lung-busting altitude of 2300m at the Azteca Stadium. The Mexican Federation has also deliberately fixed a 2.30pm kickoff time (Thursday 9.30am NZT) when the temperature is at its hottest and air quality at its worst in the city of around 20 million people.
The following day the team will begin their long journey back to New Zealand, which will take more than 30 hours door to door. They arrive in Wellington next Saturday, before hitting the training field on the Sunday and Monday. There is a captain's run on Tuesday before Wednesday's game at Westpac Stadium (7pm).
The time spent in planes and at airports is a significant disadvantage for the All Whites - they have to make two long-haul trips, the Mexicans only one.
The situation was markedly different in 2010. The first leg in Bahrain was played on October 10, with the unforgettable "White Out" match in Wellington staged five weeks later on November 14.
"It's demanding but this is a pretty tough group," says coach Ricki Herbert. "They are used to having to cope with all kinds of schedules and still fronting up."
"It's far from ideal," says All Whites defender Ivan Vicelich. "Last time neither side was disadvantaged whereas this time it is obvious that the Mexicans have a much more forgiving schedule. But we can't change it and just have to get on with it."
Meanwhile, the need for more cover in midfield has seen Waitakere United's Jake Butler replace Winston Reid in the All Whites squad.
The coaching staff are confident that either Ben Sigmund or Vicelich will provide enough cover defensively to fill the void left by Reid.
If Vicelich is chosen in that role, then a new defensive midfielder will need to be found. Chris James, provided he is 100 per cent fit after his injury, would be the favourite to fill that role as he offers more pace than Jeremy Christie or Aaron Clapham. Butler is probably too inexperienced to be considered for a starting role at the Azteca.
Mexico are expected to play three in the centre of midfield (one holding, two attacking) and the All Whites would need to match that formation. They would either employ one of the attackers in an advanced midfield role or select an extra midfielder.
The 28-year-old Butler, who made his international debut this year at the OSN Cup in Saudi Arabia, was due to captain Waitakere United against Southern United tomorrow. His sudden elevation means that there are now five "amateur" players in the All Whites' 23-man squad (Butler, Vicelich, Jacob Spoonley, Tamati Williams and Aaron Clapham).