After participating in Russia 2018, Peru wants to play the World Cup again, something they have not achieved since Argentina 1978 and Spain 1982. This Monday they have their big chance when they face Australia, at the Ahmad Bin Ali stadium in Al Rayyan, from 3:00 p.m. in Argentina, with TNT Sports television.
“I have had important moments in my life, but this is a beautiful opportunity”, said the Tiger Ricardo Gareca before the intercontinental match against Australia. “A World Cup is a privilege for few. It is an extraordinary moment in my career that we want to take advantage of,” continued the coach who knows that he is about to make history since the World Cup events of 78 and 82 were achieved by different technicians.
In charge since 2015, the “Tiger” returned the selected team to a competitive level in South America, qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia after 36 years. And they reached the Copa América final in 2019.
The ticket to Russia was also achieved via a playoff in which they defeated New Zealand, the winner of the Oceania tie. Now they are fighting against some Australians who could not get the direct ticket in the Asian zone.
The Ahmad Bin Ali stadium in Al Rayyan, located west of Doha, is one of the eight venues that will host the World Cup between November 21 and December 18 next.
The Al Rayyan stadium in Qatar will host the match. Photo: REUTERS
Due to the delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the repechage will be a single game instead of the home and away format. The winner will join Group D, where reigning champions France, Denmark and Tunisia await.
“It’s been hard for us to get to this game and we’re not going to waste it,” said Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallese. “For us it is the most important game of our lives and it will be beautiful from a physical and technical point of view.”
And boy, was it difficult to reach this playoff, in a campaign in which he was injured due to injury to his historic scorer Paolo Guerrero.
Peru was practically hopeless in the South American qualifiers. He barely added a point in the first five dates to sink to the bottom of the table, but gradually recovered positions until he was fifth.
Without Guerrero or Jefferson Farfán ruled out due to knee injuries, the Peruvian offensive weight today will be in charge of Italian-Peruvian striker Gianluca Lapadula, winger André Carrillo and creative midfielder Christian Cueva.
Boca’s player, Advíncula, in Peru’s last practice, before the rebound. Photo: EFE/Albert Estevez
“Australia is a well-worked team that knows what it wants on the field of play,” warned Gareca: “When that happens, we have to be very careful, we have to be in control.”
Australia is aiming to qualify for its fourth World Cup in a row and will try to capitalize on its physical display. The team led by Graham Arnold has just shown it in the 3-1 victory against the United Arab Emirates last Tuesday: the Australians had better return for the last quarter of the rival against an opponent that fell apart.
Arnold warned that Peru will be surprised by Australia’s technical quality.
“The players know their job, they go out there and do it the Australian way and that’s fighting for 90 minutes, being very physical,” the helmsman said. “And technically, Peruvians are going to be surprised at how much better Australian rules football has taken.”
Another factor is that Australia has had more preparation time in Qatar. Peru focused on Spain, where last Sunday they defeated New Zealand 1-0 in a blank.
Peruvians understand the challenge, as their midfielder Renato Tapia commented.
“With the passing of the minutes it cost the Emirates physically,” Tapia said. “We have never felt like favorites in anything and I think that is one of our virtues. From humility build a path to victory”.