Peru beat New Zealand 2-0 in the second leg of the playoffs to book a place in Russia.
Peru World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide
Seventy eight years after Peru last went 10 games unbeaten, they repeated the feat. And this time their prize was not a first Copa America crown but a spot in the 2018 World Cup after 36 years. Their route to a first finals since 1982 was as dramatic as it was unexpected. Halfway through the campaign they seemed doomed to yet another dismal failure, but a stroke of luck helped Ricardo Gareca’s side gain confidence and momentum, before making it through after two nervy play-off games against New Zealand.
Key Moments in Qualifying
A 2-0 loss away to Bolivia is later awarded as a 3-0 victory to the visitors after Paraguayan-born sub Nelson Cabrera is later deemed ineligible. As a result, Peru win their first qualifier away from home in more than 12 years.
In the return at home to Bolivia, Peru go 2-0 up but then suffer a crisis of nerves. Bolivia get one back and then miss a sitter in the final minute.
A goal down to Colombia in their last game and on their way out, opposing keeper David Ospina tries to save Paolo Guerrero’s indirect free-kick and touches the ball as it flies into the net. Had it gone straight in it would not have counted.
Leading 1-0 at home to New Zealand but fearful of conceding a fateful away goal, Christian Ramos scoops the ball into the net to settle matters.
Peru World Cup Group
Peru World Cup Friendlies
Peru’s first World Cup friendly in 2018 will come against Croatia on the 24th of March, and then Iceland on the 28th. On the 29th of May they will then play against Scotland, before matches against Saudi Arabia, and Sweden on the 3rd and 9th of June respectively.
- 24th March – Croatia
- 28th March – Iceland
- 29th May – Scotland
- 3rd June – Saudi Arabia
- 9th June – Sweden
Peru World Cup Fixtures
Peru kick off their tournament with a match against Denmark on the 16th of June. Antoine Griezmann and France follow on the 21st, and finally Australia on the 26th.
- 16th June – Denmark
- 21st June – France
- 26th June – Australia
Related: Antoine Griezmann November 2011
Ricardo Gareca, age 59 (10.02.58)
The Argentinian took over in 2015 and his greatest virtue has been to bring calm to an environment prone to despair. He has identified a young group of players with potential and stuck by them until poor results turned to good ones.
The big success story of the campaign was Edison Flores, a versatile midfielder who was the side’s joint-top scorer with five goals. Pedro Gallese was impressive when called upon and signals the end of the days when Peru needs to nationalise Argentinian goalkeepers.
Veteran striker Jefferson Farfan was discarded after the fifth round, but came back for the final few rounds, and stepped up well to cover the absence of Paolo Guerrero in the play-offs.
Captain and centre-forward Guerrero is the country’s all-time record scorer but sat out the play-offs after failing a drug test.
Holding midfielder Renato Tapia made his senior bow in Gareca’s first game in charge and grew in stature during the campaign.
Peru World Cup Squad
Peru are yet to announce their World Cup squad.
Peru World Cup Injuries
We will update you with all injuries here.
The Unanswered Questions
Will there be a recall for 39-year-old Claudio Pizarro?
With the uncertainty over Paolo Guerrero following his drugs ban, and with no other proven target man to play up front, Peru may be tempted to recall their former captain, who was on standby for the play-off second leg against New Zealand.
Will the squad’s lack of World Cup experience tell in Russia?
None of the current squad were born the last time Peru played at a finals. In the past, several Latin American teams with limited experience in this situation have been overawed, starting slowly and then waiting until it was too late to show their best football.
Can they defend in the air?
Physically imposing centre-forwards are likely to cause problems, with big New Zealand striker Chris Wood causing panic in the Peruvian defence in the play-offs.
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