Nail-biting loss guts All Whites fans

Die-hard All Whites fans Jeremy Boyd (left) and Tony Ayoub nervously watch the team take on Peru,...
Die-hard All Whites fans Jeremy Boyd (left) and Tony Ayoub nervously watch the team take on Peru, on TV at the Craft Bar and Kitchen in Dunedin yesterday. Photos: Gregor Richardson
Die-hard All Whites fans Jeremy Boyd (left) and Tony Ayoub nervously watch the team take on Peru,...
Die-hard All Whites fans Jeremy Boyd (left) and Tony Ayoub nervously watch the team take on Peru,...
Die-hard All Whites fans Jeremy Boyd (left) and Tony Ayoub nervously watch the team take on Peru,...

With eyes fixed on Football World Cup action, fingernails were bitten yesterday as the most animated of fans  stayed close  to the screen in an Octagon bar, tensely reacting to the All Whites playing Peru in a qualifier. 

Tony Ayoub and Jeremy Boyd shrieked and leapt to  their feet with hands in the air, eyes locked on a ball destined for the Peruvian goal.

A split second later it was miraculously knocked away.

"It’s been pretty intense. It’s probably the longest 45 minutes of my life," Mr Ayoub said at halftime. With the All  Whites down 1-0, he was confidently anticipating the draw that would send his beloved team to the World Cup.

"We just have to score one goal."

If they did, he planned to follow the team to Russia.

Mr Ayoub bet on the team  qualifying, but did not want the amount of the wager revealed unless they got through.

He watched the first All Whites qualifying match at the same bar, which he said was "amazing".

"I got work off to watch the game today."

Mr Boyd said: "I’ve lost my fingernails, it’s so nerve-racking."

From the timing of excited shrieks, it seemed there was not a single Peru fan among the about 50 others sitting around the bar.

As the whistle blew on a 2-0 New Zealand loss, Mr Ayoub admitted he was a "bit gutted", but said their performance against a highly ranked team was impressive.

"We dominated that second half."

At that moment a South American nation likely erupted in celebration.

In this Dunedin bar,  except for the sounds of sport commentators, there was a silence only sport can produce.

jono.edwards@odt.co.nz

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