NEW Zealand striker Chris Wood has stoked antipodean rivalries ahead of the Kiwi's World Cup play-off this weekend, by insisting the All Whites would get the better of Australia over two legs.

The Aussies left the Oceania section ahead of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup and they now compete in Asian qualifying instead.

That has left New Zealand as the dominant force in Oceania, but despite cruising through that section they must now beat South American side Peru over two legs to qualify for Russia 2018.

Australia's chances of qualifying have increased since their move to the Asian confederation, although they failed to make it through automatically this time around and face Honduras over two legs in their own play-off.

But Clarets striker Wood believes New Zealand football has taken giant strides forward recently, as highlighted by his own Premier League form since joining Burnley in the summer, and asked if they would now give Australia a close game, he said: "One hundred per cent.

"I think right now our team is one of the best it’s ever been in New Zealand football history.

"Australia aren’t at the peak they used to be at, so I think we’d be right up there and if we played them in a one-off match or over two legs I’d definitely fancy us."

New Zealand cruised through Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) qualifying, beating the Solomon Islands 8-3 on aggregate in the final, with Wood firing in a hat-trick in a 6-1 first leg win.

But they are rank outsides to get past Peru, who finished fifth in South American qualifying.

Wood admits the odds are stacked against New Zealand at the moment and he would like to see the All Whites compete more regularly against sides from Asia, giving them greater exposure against better teams.

But he believes if New Zealand followed Australia out of the OFC completely then it would 'decimate' football in the region.

"It’s not nice and we’ve got a lot of games to qualify to where we are," the 25-year-old said.

"Ideally we would like to be in Asia or go into their qualifying patterns, so the winner of Oceania goes into their group. Something like that would be perfect.

"That would give us more experience as a group and as a unit playing the likes of Japan and Australia more regularly, it’s a higher level and it would improve New Zealand football as a whole.

"Unfortunately FIFA can’t really do that at the moment because it would decimate Oceanian football that much. We’ve lost Australia, they were lucky to get out and they had a spell of dominating in Asia, although they’re had a sticky patch over the last few years."

New Zealand host Peru at Westpac Stadium, in Wellington, in the first leg on Saturday, with the game kicking-off at 3.15am in the UK.

The return leg takes place at the Estadio Nacional in Lima in the early hours of Thursday morning UK time.

Peru finished only a point short of qualifying automatically for a place in Russia next summer and Wood knows it's a tough ask for New Zealand, but with Argentina looking set for the play-off spot until the last day of South American qualifying, it could have been worse for the All Whites.

"It’s going to be tough, but it could have been a lot worse. We’re looking forward to that challenge, to get back to a World Cup would be fantastic."