The All Whites will face Peru, not Lionel Messi and Argentina, for a place at next year's football World Cup.
Ranked 12th in the world, Peru were confirmed as the opposition for the world No 113 All Whites in next month's intercontinental playoff after finishing fifth following the final round of South American qualifying matches on Wednesday.
Up to six teams were in contention to claim fifth spot and book a meeting with Oceania confederation champions New Zealand heading into the matches and Peru were set to miss out altogether as they trailed 1-0 at home to Colombia in Lima.
But a goal with around 10 minutes remaining earned the home team a 1-1 draw and left them in fifth-place, where they had been after the penultimate round of matches.
New Zealand fans' hopes that Messi would be making a trip to Wellington were dashed after the Barcelona superstar scored a hat-trick to lead Argentina to a 3-1 win away to Ecuador and into third-place overall.
Colombia and Chile had been provisionally in fifth during Wednesday's games before Peru found the goal they needed to keep their World Cup dreams alive.
Chile were beaten 3-0 away to already-qualified Brazil.
The other two matches ended in a 1-0 win for Venezuela away to Paraguay, while Uruguay powered to a 4-2 victory at home against Bolivia.
Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia were the four teams to seal an automatic place at the World Cup, which is being hosted by Russia.