All Whites coach Anthony Hudson admits there was an element of deception over injured striker Chris Wood ahead of today's scoreless draw with Peru.
In-form Burnley striker Wood was expected to play a leading role in the first leg of the intercontinental playoff in Wellington, but less than two hours before kick-off, rumours started swirling that he could miss the match.
In the end, he was named on the bench, and was a hugely disruptive force for the All Whites when he came on late in the second half.
Hudson admitted after the match they had been nursing him since he arrived back from England, and there was never any intention to start him.
"It's not something we want to promote to the world as it's not in our best interest to do that, if the opposition know all about our team," he said with a wry smile.
"It was a day-by-day thing, and we kind of planned it this way with the number of minutes.
"I think it worked out well."
Wood's impact was immediate, creating the best opportunity of the match for Ryan Thomas, but Hudson said it was better he get limited minutes today in the hope he would play a larger role in Lima next week.
"We're confident he will start the game."