Manager: Ricardo Gareca.
Group: Group C.
Other teams in group: France, Australia, Denmark.
Manager Ricardo Gareca has assembled an interesting squad with an exciting blend of young talent and experience for their 2018 World Cup campaign in Russia.
With many of this current crop of Peruvian stars plying their trade out of North and South America, Irish, and European audiences may not be entirely familiar with a whole host of these names that will entertain the masses over the coming weeks.
Premier League enthusiasts may be familiar with Andre Carrillo who plays for mid-table Watford, while Jefferson Farfan is another name that sticks out after his spell in the Bundesliga with Schalke 04.
However, all the talk around the Peruvian World Cup squad announcement was whether their talismanic striker Paolo Guerrero would feature in Gareca’s side, as he failed an anti-doping test which would have ruled him out of the World Cup.
Thankfully, in Guerrero’s case, his ban was lifted for this tournament, and he is now free to represent his country on the grandest stage of all in Russia. Gareca will surely be hoping that his talismanic forward star can deliver the goods against whatever Group C throws at them.
The squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Pedro Gallese (Veracruz), Carlos Caceda (Deportivo Municipal), Jose Carvallo (UTC).
Defenders: Aldo Corzo (Universitario), Luis Advincula (Lobos Buap), Christian Ramos (Veracruz), Miguel Araujo (Alianza Lima), Alberto Rodriguez (Atletico Junior), Anderson Santamaria (Puebla), Miguel Trauco (Flamengo), Nilson Loyola (Melgar).
Midfielders: Renato Tapia (Feyenoord), Pedro Aquino (Lobos Buap), Yoshimar Yotun (Orlando City), Paolo Hurtado (Vitoria Guimaraes), Christian Cueva (Sao Paulo), Edison Flores (Aalborg), Andy Polo (Portland Timbers), Wilder Cartagena (Veracruz).
Forwards: Andre Carrillo (Watford), Raul Ruidiaz (Morelia), Jefferson Farfan (Lokomotiv Moscow), Paolo Guerrero (Flamengo).
HOW THEY GOT HERE
After edging Chile out of the South American qualification series by a mere two goals, Peru qualified for the World Cup Playoffs as they went in search of their first World Cup finals appearance since 1982.
Waiting behind enemy lines was Oceanic side New Zealand, who were determined to join the party in Russia after coming through their qualifiers with relative ease.
In a close, tense, and defensive opening leg, Peru brought a nil-nil result home to Lima as Ricardo Gareca’s side looked to be the fifth South American side to enter the fray of the World’s most prestigious international competition in the summer of 2018.
Peru overcame the stiff challenge of New Zealand in the second leg to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Russia as goals from Lokomotiv Moscow man Jefferson Farfan and Christian Ramos sealed the deal for Gareca’s men as they qualified for their first World Cup in 36 years.
KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
The Flamengo man, the very man who almost missed out on his countries first World Cup in over 30 years due to an Anti-Doping violation, Paolo Guerrero will be the man that all Peruvians will be pinning their hopes on in Russia this summer. Now 34, and with 87 international caps to his name, Guerrero is the leader of this team. His leadership will be key if Peru are to make it out of this group at the expense of either Denmark and/or Australia in the coming weeks. Although, there will be question marks surrounding his match fitness seeing that the 34-year-old has not played November 2017, but you would highly doubt that will stop Guerrero from giving his all to his native country.
Jefferson Farfan will be one of the main creative sparks within this Peruvian team that will hope to unlock many defences this summer in Russia. Now 33, and with age certainly not on his side, this will surely be Farfan’s last opportunity on the World Cup stage so expect the former PSV Eindhoven and Schalke 04 man to give his all for his nation in his first World Cup as a player. It seems as if Farfan is thriving under Gareca’s management of the Peruvian national team and should he replicate his stunning club form at Lokomotiv Moscow, Farfan could help his nation to a thrilling World Cup campaign.
Edison Flores’ name is one certainly to keep an eye out for over the coming weeks as the Aalborg livewire will be hoping to impress suitors with some eye-catching displays of skill and technical ability. Only 24, and with the world as his oyster, it seems as if the stage is set for Flores to catapult himself into the World Cup limelight at the expense of many talented stars throughout the competition. His goals were critical in dragging La Blanquirroja to the World Cups and expect him to do the same here as he hopes to help his native Peru to the knockout stages of the World Cup.
WHERE THEY ARE PLAYING AND STAYING
Peru vs Denmark – Mordovia Arena (5pm Kick-Off, June 16)
France vs Peru – Central Stadium (4pm Kick-Off, June 21)
Australia vs Peru – Fischt Olympic Stadium (3pm Kick-Off, June 26)
Base Camp: Moscow
THREE INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE TEAM
This will be Peru’s first appearance at the World Cup finals since 1982 which ends a long wait of 36 years for Peruvian football. They will be out to improve on their most recent showing no doubt as they exited at the group stages last time round in Spain.
To date, Peru have played 15 games in the World Cup finals and they have won three of those while also losing eight and drawing stalemates on four other occasions in their previous World Cup showings.
In a quite wacky, and bizarre statistic, Peruvian goalkeeper, Ramon Quiroga is the only ever goalkeeper to have committed on the opponent’s side of the pitch during a match at the World Cup finals. This occurred in the 1978 World Cup when he fouled Poland’s Grzegorz Lato in a group stage match.
THEIR RECENT FORM
Since qualifying for the World Cup in November 2017, Peru have had a very impressive recent run of form in friendlies. Gareca’s side have beaten the likes Croatia, Iceland, Scotland and Saudi Arabia before they rounded off their World Cup preparations with a nil-nil draw against Sweden on the 9th of June.
First game: Peru vs Denmark – Mordovia Arena (5pm Kick-Off, June 16)