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.
Still, it’s a chance for players from the domestic division to show what they’re capable of and stake a place to play a role in the next phase of this nation’s football history. And given the way they’ve battled into the final four in the last two editions, it’d be a big mistake to completely rule out this diligent outfit.
Peru preview: Group Fixtures:
Saturday, June 4
Wednesday, June 8
Sunday, June 12
Peru preview: Key Player:
Paolo Guerrero – With so many stalwarts not selected, there will be an increased onus on Guerrero at this tournament. But the signs are that he’ll thrive under the pressure.
He certainly did last summer. The forward was superb in Chile, leading the line with composure, physicality and when chances did come about, he snaffled them with ruthlessness. Guerrero’s hat-trick against Bolivia was one of the highlights of the tournament; he also netted in the third place playoff against Paraguay and was included on the list of nominees for the 2015 Ballon d’Or.
Now 32 and starting to lose his dynamism, it’s imperative Gareca finds a way of getting support up alongside Guerrero, especially given just how well he can link up with midfield men. He’ll be the key to this refreshing side going beyond the group stages.
Peru preview: Verdict:
Group Stage Elimination – A third bronze medal looks beyond this group of players, with many featuring in a major international tournament for the first time. Factor in their opponents—the formidable Brazil and an in-form Ecuador outfit—and La Blanquirroja will not be in the United States by the time the knockout stages kick-off.
Read all of the Copa America team previews
• Argentina team preview
• Bolivia team preview
• Brazil team preview
• Chile team preview
• Colombia team preview
• Costa Rica team preview
• Ecuador team preview
• Haiti team preview
• Jamaica team preview
• Mexico team preview
• Panama team preview
• Paraguay team preview
• Peru team preview
• United States team preview
• Uruguay team preview
• Venezuela team preview
If you have any questions about the Peru preview, let us know in the comments section below.
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