Relaxed All Whites coach Danny Hay believes all the pressure is on opponents Costa Rica heading into New Zealand's World Cup play-off in Qatar.

All Whites World Cup Qualification

  • New Zealand face Costa Rica in their inter-continental play-off tomorrow.
  • A win would secure the side a place at this year's World Cup.
  • It would be the All Whites' third appearance at the men's tournament.

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Hay could lead New Zealand to a World Cup for just the third time in their history if they beat the Central American nation at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Tuesday (0400 Weds AEST).

Most, however, are tipping the 2014 World Cup quarter-finalists Costa Rica to get through the match as they aim to make it three-straight World Cup appearances.

The underdog tag sits perfectly well with Hay, though.

"The world's media has basically written us off, given us no chance," he said.

"I'm sleeping pretty well. I'm not sure their coach will be though."

Hay is going into Tuesday's game with a squad that features experienced duo Chris Wood and Winston Reid - both part of New Zealand's 2010 World Cup team.

Alongside that pair though is a raft of young talent, including Italian-based pair Liberato Cacace and Matthew Garbett as well as Elijah Just, Marko Stamenic and Joe Bell.

There's also a strong A-League Men's influence in his squad with four Wellington Phoenix players - Oli Sail, Ben Waine, Tim Payne and Clayton Lewis - as well as Sydney FC veteran Kosta Barbarouses, Newcastle's Dane Ingham and Melbourne Victory's Marco Rojas.

Hay is keen for his youngsters to make sure they seize the chance to secure World Cup qualification.

"A lot of people are probably looking ahead to 2026, when some of them will be in their prime," he said.

"The reality is none of us have a crystal ball. We don't know what the future holds.

"Our time is now ... we've got a really good shot at doing something special but we know we're up against a very good side as well and they're certainly not going to go roll over for us."

A lot will seemingly hinge on the impact Newcastle United striker Chris Wood can have on the match, with Hay tipping the 30-year-old can deliver on the big stage.

"Cometh the moment, cometh the man," Hay said.

"Chris Wood, he's playing in the Premier League at a big club for a reason and that's because he's a top player and I have no doubts that he will step up and perform."


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