From a witch doctor cursing the All Whites with a live snake outside Estadio Nacional, to an interestingly-timed demonstration of the country's aerial military prowess over the visiting team's hotel in the wee hours of this morning, the South American nation has left no stone unturned in its effort to unsettle its antipodean guests.
No doubt the All Whites contingent would have been suitably impressed by Peru's aerial display of military might. Albeit, they perhaps weren't expecting it directly over their hotel at 3am in the morning. It was but the start of an interesting morning of activities.
Fireworks outside team hotel:
What better time welcome your visitors with a vibrant fireworks display just after you've sent your entire airforce over the hotel? Perhaps Peruvian authorities were anticipating jet lag. Or perhaps something more sinister was at play.
Witch doctor curse:
It just wouldn't be a critical 'away' leg play-off eve in South America without an appearance by the dark arts of football sorcery. Enter the cluster of local Peruvian witch doctors and shamans who gathered outside Estadio Nacional to put a hex on the All Whites. As the NZ Herald reported: "One shaman placed a snake on photos of the All Whites while another spat liquid outside of Estadio Nacional, the venue for tomorrow's second leg tie."
Bizarre street art:
While significantly less intimidating than military fly-overs and wizardry better suited to Hogwarts, Peruvian locals have done their bit to remind New Zealand's players they're in enemy territory. Take for example this street performance, which depicts the All Whites as a tree trunk being effortlessly passed by what appears to be a bird of prey clad in the Peru colours.
Effigies of various sorts are commonplace too.
Slow bus trip from airport:
Camp All Whites are said to have been taken on a suspiciously slow and overly complicated bus journey from the airport to their team hotel, whereupon coach Anthony Hudson was set upon by reporters, eager to do a stand-up press conference, despite the team being delayed by three hours.
Delayed flights out of Wellington:
The first hints that the New Zealand players and coaching staff were in for an atmosphere like no other they had experienced in football arrived at Wellington airport, where their flight was inexplicably delayed by upwards of three hours. It may have provided just the slightest inkling of the madness that was to come.