Hello and welcome to our live blog of the All Whites taking on Mexico in the second leg of the intercontinental World Cup playoff in Wellington.
Despite returning from the first leg at the Azteca in Mexico with a four-goal deficit, Wellington is buzzing tonight with the capital overcome by All Whites fever. There is a 'white-out' in the streets with thousands of fans dressing up to sing and chant their support and hope for a miracle.
Tonight we will either see one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time, or Ricki Herbert's final game in charge of the All Whites.
Herbert announced yesterday that he will stand down at the end of this World Cup campaign and has selected a young, inexperienced but exciting starting lineup which represents the future of the All Whites.
How young and how inexperienced I hear you ask? Well 18-year old Bill Tuiloma will tonight make his starting debut at left back and 20-year old Storm Roux will make his debut at right back.
Hi Guys, already a fair few All Whites fans in here at Westpac Stadium. Everyone is decked out in white and the All Whites enjoyed a warm reception when they came out to warm-up just before. Pubs and the streets were packed on my walk to the Cake Tin....
My name is Steven Holloway and with the help of my man on the spot Daniel Richardson we will bring you all the buildup and action from Wellington. Join the chat by clicking 'comment now' and flick us your score predictions, thoughts on the starting lineup or where you're tuning in from.
Mexican team has just entered to a rousing dose of "boooooo", I guess it's ok when Quade Cooper's not playing?
That's for their warm-ups sorry, not the game, obviously. People still slowly filtering in to the ground here...
Ivan Vicelich, Chris Wood and Leo Bertos are all suspended from tonight's game after picking up yellow cards at the Azteca and it has forced a real re-shuffle of the deck for Herbert.
I'm sitting alongside one of the Herald's many football scribes, Michael Burgess, and if he mentions any words of wisdom, I will drop them in too..
He has abandoned his defensive 3-4-3 (4-5-1) in favour of an attacking 4-4-2 with 'ball players' scattered throughout the team.
New Zealand (4-4-2): 1-Glen MOSS (GK), 5-Tommy SMITH (capt), 6-Bill TUILOMA, 8-Michael MCGLINCHEY, 9-Shane SMELTZ, 11-Marco ROJAS, 13-Chris JAMES, 14-Storm ROUX, 16- Jeremy BROCKIE, 17-Kosta BARBAROUSES, 22-Andrew DURANTE.
Substitutes (from): 2-Jake BUTLER, 3-Tony LOCHHEAD, 4-Ben SIGMUND, 10-Rory FALLON, 12-Tamati WILLIAMS (GK), 15-Louis FENTON, 18-Craig HENDERSON, 19-Aaron CLAPHAM, 21-Jeremy CHRISTIE, 23-Jacob SPOONLEY
Smith, Tuiloma, Roux and Durante will make up the back four, while McGlinchey, James, Barbarouses and Brockie will pack the midfield leaving Smeltz and Rojas up front.
All Whites player announcements going on.... receiving big cheers here, crowd is building nicely, this should be an entertaining evening
Just under 30 minutes till kickoff and Ivan Vicelich is doing the pre-match sideline interviews.
"Boys are feeling really good, team spirit is really high, we are out there looking for goals tonight."
Bet no one saw those answers coming..
The fans tonight are trying to recreate the atmosphere of four years ago, when the All Whites beat Bahrain 1-0 to progress to the World Cup for the first time in 28 years in one of the great night's in NZ sport.
So, do you think the All Whites can do it tonight? The TAB has Mexico at $1.45 for the win, while the All Whites are $6.50 outsiders. A NZ 4-0 win is paying $150-1. Any takers?
"All Whites" chants starting to go up at Westpac now. Considering the situation of the tie, you have to admire the fans for turning out in their droves.
Looks like the standard Kiwi football fan move of turning up ten minutes before kick off might catch a few out tonight.
Crowds stream in this late to Phoenix games. But different when it's a sellout to the 73* people that attend Phoenix matches. * figures are approximate
Their are lots of question marks about how this All Whites team will stack up against world class opposition. Apart from the baby-faced fullbacks, the Kiwi midfield of McGlinchey, James, Barbarouses and Brockie will have to put in a huge shift defensively for this system to click.
The players are now making their way out onto the field on a beautiful clear night. Perfect playing conditions.
Mexico are up first on the anthem front and it's a jaunty instrumental number. Can't say I'm blown away, but some good effort made from the Mexican fans in the stand. 6.5/10.
That's more like it. Westpac Stadium comes together for the Kiwi anthem and it's a booming rendition. Rory Fallon is giving it heaps. First blood to the Kiwis 8/10.
Plenty of white in the crowd, should be a decent spectacle. Here we goooo
All the formalities are out of the way and we are very nearly ready to go.
Bill Tuiloma wearing No 6, taking over for that Nelsen bloke. He wasn't the worst