Smeltz out for World Cup swan song
Shane Smeltz is hoping he will get a final international "fairytale" before hanging up his boots, as New Zealand look to book their place at next year's World Cup in Russia.
The 36-year-old is the oldest member of the All Whites squad going into the two-legged play-off with Peru.
His playing future is uncertain beyond the end of next month when his contract expires with Indonesian side Borneo.
Smeltz, though, isn't looking beyond the two games against the South American side.
Speaking ahead of the first leg in Wellington, he said: "It certainly adds to the occasion, I think, knowing that this is definitely or probably my last cycle. It would certainly be a fairytale to get to another World Cup.
"I think it's just as exciting, the pressure, the intensity, as it was the first time, so I'm going to enjoy the week. These games are what you play for. As we've all said before we've all prepared for years now. It's time for action now."
The 58-cap striker, who has scored 24 goals for the All Whites, is already guaranteed a place in New Zealand soccer history for having scored in the 2010 World Cup in a draw against Italy.
He's only scored once in the past five years but believes he's still capable of producing another moment of magic, just like he did seven years ago.
"If the opportunity comes my way, then I think that's why I'm here; everyone is here to help out and pull their weight where they can," said Smeltz. "If I'm on the field I'll certainly be aiming to do that as well."
Coach Anthony Hudson will have Ryan Thomas and Michael McGlinchey in the middle of the park for the first game at Westpac Stadium, but the third player will be a tossup between Marco Rojas and Clayton Lewis.
New Zealand are 13/2 to beat Peru, who are 8/15 with the draw 16/5.
The All Whites are 5/1 to qualify.
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