Back after an excruciating 36 year, eight tournament wait, Peru are in the World Cup and will be looking to play the role of the dark horse. La Blanquirroja are capable of playing some fantastic football on their day and Ricardo Gareca’s troops will undoubtedly gain some new admirers should they bring their A-game to Russia.
Priced as long as 500/1 to lift the World Cup trophy, the South Americans may well attract a few punters at such long odds, but a far more realistic aim for the side is to make out of a group containing France, Denmark and Australia, something they are price at 9/4 towards achieving. Whatever happens, Los Incas are just happy to be here and will be amongst the most entertaining teams in the competition.
Be sure to check out our World Cup Trends: Previous Winners Stats And Facts feature!
Saturday 16th June (17:00) -Mordovia Arena, Saransk: Peru vs Denmark
Thursday 21st June (16:00) – Ekaterinburg Arena, Ekaterinburg: France vs Peru
Tuesday 26th June (15:00) – Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi: Australia vs Peru
Pedro GALLESE (Veracruz)
Carlos CACEDA (Veracruz)
Jose CARVALLO (UTC)
Aldo CORZO (Universitario)
Luis ADVINCULA (Lobos BUAP)
Christian RAMOS (Veracruz)
Miguel ARAUJO (Alianza Lima)
Alberto RODRIGUEZ (Junior)
Anderson SANTAMARIA (Puebla)
Miguel TRAUCO (Flamengo)
Nilson LOYOLA (Melgar)
Renato TAPIA (Feyenoord)
Pedro AQUINO (Lobos BUAP)
Yoshimar YOTUN (Orlando City)
Paolo HURTADO (Guimarães)
Christian CUEVA (Sao Paulo)
Edison FLORES (Aalborg)
Andy POLO (Portland Timbers)
Wilder CARTAGENA (Veracruz)
Andre CARRILLO (Watford)
Raul RUIDIAZ (Morelia)
Jefferson FARFAN (Lokomotiv Moscow)
Paolo GUERRERO (Flamengo)
It’s a squad of very surprises, as boss Ricardo Gareca puts faith in the heroes that qualified. With the Peruvian domestic game not in it’s finest hour, there’s only room for 4 players currently playing for Peruvian clubs, with Mexican teams dominating the squad, holding 8 representatives, 4 of which from Veracruz.
In goal is unquestionable number one Pedro Gallese, who is the most experienced of three travelling keepers, currently holding 37 caps. Just like at club level, Carlos Caceda will play back up to Gallese, leaving 32 year old Jose Carvallo to round off the travelling party from this department.
Defensively, Ricardo Gareca has a clear and defined back four, all of which should start in Russia barring any late problems. At right back is the pacey Luis Advincula, whilst Flamengo’s Miguel Trauco takes up the left back role. In the middle, plenty of questions have been asked of veteran Alberto Rodriguez, who has suffered with injuries throughout the year and is certainly in the twilight of his career, but he’s set to keep his place, joining partner Christian Ramos in the back line. Overall, it’s a defence of real experience, holding a combined total of 232 caps.
In the midfield, Gareca typically fields two sitters in behind a creative trio and once again, this is another settled department with the first choice men clearly defined. Renato Tapia, one of the nation’s brightest young players sits in front of the back four, alongside the more experienced 72-cap Yoshimar Yotun, whilst it’s the three in front of them that make Peru such a fantastic watch. Well known Jefferson Farfan plays out wide on the right, and has the advantage of playing his club football in Russia, whilst the exciting Christian Cueva and Edison Flores fulfil the two remaining spaces, with Watford’s Andre Carrillo an excellent option off the bench.
Up front there’s only one man for the job, after months of it looking like a controversial drugs ban would rule him out; legendary forward Paolo Guerrero, Peru’s prodigal son and captain. Guerrero’s has been Peru’s talisman for years and his return has been a massive boost for the entire nation. Nonetheless, his availability means that Raul Ruidiaz can expect to watch most of the action from the bench, having looked likely to play a more prominent role in Guerrero’s absence.
Star Player: Paolo Guerrero
We’ve already touched upon his importance, but there can be no other choice for this tag than Paolo Guerrero. His mere presence feels like it’s raised Peru’s chance ten-fold, and Guerrero is certainly one of the game’s most underrated players given the accolades he’s achieved during his career.
With 87 caps and 34 goals, including 5 in qualifying and 2 in the 3-0 friendly win over Saudi Arabia, Guerrero plays a key role in spearheading Peru’s attack and should thrive in Russia, if he’s given the chance to showcase his excellent finishing abilities, something that’s expected given the talent playing just behind him.
To see why Guerrero almost missed out on the World Cup in more detail, click here.
One to Watch: Edson Flores
Whilst Christian Cueva is a hugely exciting player to watch, he’s fairly well known given he’s plays for Brazilian giants Sao Paulo. Recently turned 24 year old Edson Flores in our choice instead, and is someone who has gone relatively under the radar despite playing such a key role in the team.
Starting on the left, Flores plunged home 5 goals in qualification and also notched in the March friendly win over Croatia. Currently breaking into European football with Danish side Aalborg, bigger clubs could will be attracted to Flores should he showcase his excellent physical attributes and ability to get in behind opposition defence to full effect in the forthcoming tournament.
For other young talents, check out our potential breakout stars this summer in Russia feature.
As touched upon, the Peru team is a very settled one and there’s very few debates to be had. Andre Carrillo could end up as a starter if Jefferson Farfan is dropped back to right back, but Gareca is likely to want one of his key players further forward in an area in which he can hurt the opposition.
Garceca normally deploys an attacking 4-2-3-1 system, in which the defensive screen of Tapia and Yotun allow both full backs to push on and the team’s more attacking midfielders to play with real freedom. Barring any big surprises, and aforementioned possible inclusion of Carrillo, viewers can expect to see this Peru lineup fairly often:
Gallese; Advincula, Rodriguez, Ramos, Trauco; Tapia, Yotun; Farfan, Cueva, Flores; Guerrero
Overall, Peru are a team that have the ability to hurt any opposition, but lacking any sort of World Cup experience, the question really is if the occasion will get to them. Peru certainly arrive in Russia with great momentum behind them, but it remains to be seen just how many waves they’ll make.
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