Knock-out stages looks beyond them
Peru were a surprise inclusion in the final line-up for Russia 2018 but they are here on merit after finishing fifth in the South American qualifying table. A 10-team division headed by Brazil, the likes of Uruguay, Argentina and Columbia were all ahead but a final tally of seven wins, five draws and six defeats meant they saw off Chile and Paraguay.
After sneaking through that stage of the competition critics expect Los Incas to struggle when things get serious this summer and they have been dropped into Group C alongside France, Australia and Denmark.
Gaining a place in the knock-out stages may just be beyond them but the underdogs will be eager to ensure they don’t become the pool’s whipping boys. Here’s three players of note who’ll make a difference during their stay…..
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Farfan in scoring form
The 23-year-old attacking midfielder shouldn’t get too many chances to surge forward and run at the opposition defence but he does rate as his team’s most important player in the middle of the park and manager Ricardo Gareca will be looking for him to run the ball out of defence and buy them a bit of breathing space.
Flores can also be relied upon to find the net and he was on target in a recent win over Croatia, scoring the second in a 2-0 cheer. Currently employed by club side Aab in Denmark, Edison has chipped in with nine goals from his first 26 games for Peru. His nation are 4/9 with Bet Victor to go home after three matches.
If Peru are to get goals and ask questions of their group opponents, it’s most likely Farfan will be the man to get things moving. The experienced 33-year-old from Lima is one of Peru’s highest scorers of all time on 24 and he brings bags of experience into the tournament with over 80 caps in his locker. An important player on the pitch and in the dressing room.
Jefferson is a Lokomotiv Moscow face at present having joined the club last year and he has wasted no time settling in, scoring 11 goals in 28 goes. Has also turned out for the likes of PSV and Schalke during his career so knows exactly how to deal with the pressure of expectation. 500/1 at 888Sport to win the Golden Boot but some firms are as tight as 100/1. Recently scored in a warm-up win over Iceland.
One of the few faces in the Peru squad that’ll be familiar to followers of British football with Carrillo playing for Premier League side Watford but it remains to be seen if he’ll travel after a season hampered by injury. The promising 26-year-old is currently on loan at Vicarage Road from Benfica but he hasn’t made too much of an impact and we expect him to return.
With his future up in the air Carrillo will be eager to pass a medical, get himself a seat on the plane to Russia and prove his worth to the watching world, hopefully earning himself a move to another major side. It remains to be seen if he’ll start but Andre must grab any chances that come his way with both hands. Scored the opener of an impressive 2-0 win over Croatia back in March to boost his chances.