Cheat sheet: Who, what and how of Peru
THE Socceroos must win and win well against Peru if they are going to be any hope of qualifying for the next stage of the World Cup.
But while the Peruvians don't have many household names, it's not going to be easy.
Here's your guide to the team the Aussies must topple to keep their slim dreams alive.
Who's the star?
The captain is a fella called Paolo Guerrero. Now you may have heard of Guerrero. He does play for Flamengo in Brazil and had a few years at Bayern Munich but he was the one who had to overcome a drugs ban to play in the World Cup. Guerrero returned a positive test for cocaine, but maintained his innocence and blamed a cup of herbal tea. He is also Peru's all-time top goalscorer.
Anyone else famous/semi famous in the team?
Most of Peru's players earn a living in Mexico or South America, so will be unknown to all but the most attentive football aficionados. Flying winger Andre Carrillo spent last year on loan at Watford in the English Premier League from Sporting Lisbon and despite the odd struggle, the 27-year-old is going to attract plenty of attention from new suitors judging by his performances in the World Cup so far. Jefferson Farfan is a veteran of European football but is out of the Australia game after being knocked unconscious at training.
Best player ever?
It's always a burden to be compared to one of the all-time greats, but Peru's Teofilo Cubillas seemed to cope OK with being called the "Peruvian Pele". Possibly because Pele himself endorsed the claim. "I have a successor and his name is Teófilo Cubillas." Cubillas scored five goals in the 1970 and 1978 World Cups, not a bad effort from a midfielder.
Who's the coach?
Sure, Ricardo Gareca may bear more than a passing resemblance to Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, but he's a serious football figure who has never sung Walk This Way to a packed karaoke audience (as far as we know). An Argentine, in 1985 he scored a goal in a qualifier that knocked Peru out of the World Cup contention. Despite that faux pas, Peru seems to love him and wants him to stay on even though they have so far failed to score a goal or register a point this World Cup.
What will be their game plan?
It's true that Peru has been unlucky so far in this World Cup. They really should have beaten Denmark. They could have stolen something from France. Peru is a team full technically adept, highly skilful players, who enjoy quick passing and interchange of positions. They can break at frightening pace with players such as Andre Carrillo and Luis Advincula and have a goalscorer in Paolo Guerrero leading the line. There is much to be cautious about.
How we can expose them?
Sometimes they appear to be a little too confident in their abilities. Under pressure, and Australia is sure to get right in their faces, they often cough up possession or dwell too long on the ball. While they have only given up one goal in defeats to both Denmark and France there is the suspicion their defence is susceptible at set pieces and cross balls, The power of Mathew Leckie, Tomi Juric, and even, possibly, Tim Cahill in the air could be vital.
Greatest World Cup moment?
Peru has a surprisingly ropy record at the World Cup, only qualifying four times in its history. In the first ever World Cup in 1930 it recorded both the lowest World Cup crowd (300) and the first ever send off. Things were better in 1970. It qualified from the group stage but lost 4-2 to a Brazil inspired by Pele and Rivellino. Fast forward to 1982 and it lost all three games. But back to 1978 in Argentina. It qualified through the group stages but then ….
Worst World Cup moment?
Lost 6-0 to Argentina in one of the most controversial World Cup games ever. At that time, the first group stage was followed by a second group stage. Peru lost to Poland and Brazil and then faced hosts Argentina. They were already out but Argentina needed to win by four clear goals to make it to the World Cup final at the expense of Brazil. Accusations of bribery have never been proved but the suspicions have never gone away.