Football media in Peru believe they have worked out their national team’s likely starting line-up to face New Zealand’s All Whites on Queen’s Birthday Monday.
The international friendly (kick-off 3.30am NZT) brings together the two sides from the 2017 FIFA World Cup Intercontinental play-off as they both prepare for crucial play-offs to reach the Qatar finals.
Late decision expected on Chris Wood’s fitness
The All Whites have declared a full squad to choose from with striker Chris Wood being the only player who will need a late decision as he battles an Achilles niggle.
Wood has had 10 days off and was expected to have his first full training session on Saturday (NZT).
Head coach Danny Hay told the NZ Herald: “We will need to monitor him on a daily basis
“We have a great medical staff and he has huge trust in them but ultimately he is the master of his own destiny, in terms of knowing his body best. We won’t risk him if he is feeling anything, particularly with an Achilles injury.”
New Zealand’s squad
Goalkeepers: Matthew Gould, Stefan Marinovic, Oli Sail
Defenders: Michael Boxall, Liberato Cacace, Francis de Vries, Dane Ingham, Niko Kirwan, Tim Payne, Nando Pijnaker, Winston Reid, Tommy Smith, Bill Tuiloma
Midfielders: Joe Bell, Matt Garbett, Elijah Just, Clayton Lewis, Marco Rojas, Marko Stamenic
Forwards: Kosta Barbarouses, Joey Champness, Alex Greive, Callum McCowatt, Logan Rogerson, Ben Waine, Chris Wood
Peru’s possible line-up
Television reports in Peru say the team trained with 11 players in a starting line-up that hinted at the team likely to face New Zealand in the game being played at Barcelona, Spain.
Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese
Defence: Aldo Corzo, Alexander Callens, Carlos Zambrano and Marcos López
Midfield: Pedro Aquino, Yoshimar Yotún and Sergio Peña
Attack: Christian Cueva, André Carrillo and Gianluca Lapadula
Coach Ricardo Gareca is trying to establish the right formation to play either United Arab Emirates or Australia in a one-off play-off on June 14 (NZT) in Doha.
Peru were keen to play the All Whites as they believed the New Zealand style of football would be similar to what they will face if Australia prove to be their opponents.
The form of Peru has improved significantly in the past year.
Coming out of the Copa America last July, Peru were bottom of South America’s qualification table. They ended their campaign with seven wins and two draws from their last 13 games to clinch the play-off spot one point ahead of Colombia.
One omission from the Peru squad to face New Zealand is the legendary former Bayern Munich star Paolo Guerrero who has failed in his bid to make the team after suffering long-term injuries including a torn cruciate ligament and recurrent fibrosis.
Now 38, Guerrero was distraught to be left out of the squad.
“I’ve got the strength to go through this process because football is my passion. It’s my life. When I don’t play football, I feel like I’m not really alive. It’s my life, and it’s impossible to give it up,” Guerrero said.
“I’d kill to represent my national team, you know. I’d even play for Peru with a limp! I’m available.”
Guerrero has scored 38 international goals in 107 games for his country.
New Zealand v Peru
RCDE Stadium, (home of La Liga club Espanyol), Barcelona, Spain
Monday June 6, 3.30am (NZT)
Broadcast: Live on Sky Sport 1