In our Peru preview, we look ahead to this summer’s Copa America Centenario tournament to pick out the players to watch for, how far the team will go in the tournament as well as reviewing the upcoming schedule of games and the team’s roster.
Manager: Ricardo Gareca
Peru preview: Squad:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Carlos Cáceda (Universitario, PER), Pedro Gallese (Juan Aurich, PER), Diego Penny (Sporting Cristal, PER)
DEFENDERS (8): Luis Abram (Sporting Cristal, PER), Jair Céspedes (Sporting Cristal, PER), Aldo Corzo (Deportivo Municipal, PER), Christian Ramos (Juan Aurich, PER), Renzo Revoredo (Sporting Cristal, PER), Alberto Rodríguez (Sporting Cristal, PER), Renato Tapia (Feyenoord, NED), Miguel Trauco (Universitario, PER)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Armando Alfagme (Deportivo Municipal, PER), Adán Balbín (Universitario, PER), Cristian Benavente (Charleroi, BEL), Luiz da Silva (PSV, NED), Alejandro Hohberg (Universidad César Vallejo, PER), Andy Polo (Universitario, PER), Óscar Vilchez (Alianza Lima, PER), Yoshimar Yotún (Malmö, SWE)
FORWARDS (4): Christian Cueva (Toluca, MEX), Edison Flores (Universitario, PER), Paolo Guerrero (Flamengo, BRA), Raúl Ruidíaz (Universitario, PER)
Peru preview: Overview:
In 2015, for the second consecutive tournament, Peru finished in third place at the Copa America. It’s to the nation’s great credit that they were able to do so and given their fresh penchant for making runs into the latter stages of the tournament, shouldn’t be dismissed here.
What was more impressive about their progression was the fact that Gareca only took the job on in February 2015, selected a young squad and got the players organized quickly. It’s a process which he has sought to continue beyond the 2015 Copa in World Cup qualifying, with admittedly mixed results to this point.
But it’s evident the manager has the future in mind by the squad selected. Despite being involved in qualifying, longstanding star centre-forward Claudio Pizarro and regular key man Jefferson Farfan have both been left out. Additionally, there is no room for familiar names such as Juan Manuel Vargas, Carlos Zambrano and Andre Carrillo.
Gareca has a huge majority of players from the Peruvian league, although there is room for some players who have been thriving elsewhere. Defender Yoshimar Yotun has sampled the Champions League with Malmo this season, while Paolo Guerrero, the joint top-scorer at last summer’s Copa, will be tasked with sticking the ball in the back of the net again.
Looking ahead to the competition, Peru are likely to find things tough. Gareca seems to be ushering in a full transitional period based on the players picked, with the wheels only slightly in motion last summer. Coping without the experience and quality of men like Pizarro, Vargas and Farfan will be testing.