FIFA World Cup 2018 team profile: Peru seek consistent run of form
Head coach: Ricardo Gareca
FIFA World Cup history: Qualified five times; best – quarter-finals in 1970
Qualifying route: Won inter-continental play-off vs. New Zealand
Squad (25-man preliminary): Carlos Caceda, Jose Carvallo, Pedro Gallese, Luis Abram, Luis Advincula, Pedro Aquino, Miguel Araujo, Andre Carrillo, Wilder Cartagena, Aldo Corzo, Christian Cueva, Jefferson Farfan, Edison Flores, Paolo Hurtado, Nilson Loyola, Sergio Pena, Andy Polo, Christian Ramos, Alberto Rodriguez, Raul Ruidiaz, Anderson Santamaria, Renato Tapia, Miguel Trauco, Yoshimar Yotun, Paolo Guerrero
Peru’s appearance in the FIFA World Cup 2018 will be only their sixth appearance, which is quite bewildering given they were one of thirteen nations invited to be a part of the first edition of the tournament. (Full schedule of FIFA World Cup 2018)
What’s even more baffling is that their next appearance in the tournament came in 1970, a full forty years later.
That year saw them put in their best FIFA World Cup performance, making it to the quarter-finals before being eliminated by eventual winners Brazil.
They made the tournament again in 1978 and 1982, but failed to make it beyond the group stages. The 1982 would prove to be their final appearance in the quadrennial event for 36 years.
In Group B, they are perhaps the weakest team on paper in a group that features France, Denmark and Australia. However, there are some positives for the Peru football team ahead of this year’s tournament.
For one, they have mastered the possession-based style of the great Peru teams from the past under head coach Ricardo Gareca.
There’s also the fact that they will be able to call upon the experience of Paolo Guerrero, who was in real danger of missing the tournament thanks to a suspension for drug use.
Three key players
Paolo Guerrero – The striker had to fight tooth and nail to get a temporary lifting of a drugs ban to be available for the tournament but he will be on the plane to Russia. Having played for clubs like Bayern Munich and Hamburger SV, he has the kind of experience and goal-scoring ability that Peru will need for a successful World Cup campaign.
Jefferson Farfan – Ardent football fans will remember this speedy winger, who has played for the likes of Dutch powerhouse PSV Eindhoven and German side FC Schalke 04. He’s another experienced campaigner and he has an eye for picking out passes, something that’s evident by the number of assists he racked up when he played in the Bundesliga.
Andre Carrillo – The forward has played for two Portuguese powerhouses in Sporting CP and Benfica and even spent a season on loan in Premier League club Watford. He was part of a Benfica squad that won the domestic double in 2016/17 and Peru would want him to transfer this winning habit in the national team as well.