World Cup Class of 2018: Peru

Population:  32.2 million
Capital:  Lima
Team Colors:  White and Red
How Qualified:  Won playoff vs. New Zealand
Nickname:  La Blanquirroja (The White and Red)
4th World Cup
Head Coach:  Ricardo Gareca (ARG)
Key Players:  Jefferson Farina (Lokomotiv Moscow), Alberto Rodriguez (Junior, COL), Edison Flores (AaB Aalborg)
Best Performance:  Quarterfinals (1970)
Can they make an impact after a long time away? The last time Peru was in the World Cup was 1982. Peru had to overcome a slow start to this qualification campaign after winning just one of their first six qualifiers by going unbeaten in their last six qualifiers and getting a 1-1 draw against Colombia to make the playoff against New Zealand which they won 2-0 on aggregate. 
Their troubles are not behind them though as they, FIFPro, and captains from other countries are trying to get a doping ban rescinded for their captain. Paolo Guerrero had a 12-month FIFA ban for using a banned substance reduced in half that would have allowed him to play in Russia, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency to increase the length of the ban to 14 months citing “some fault or negligence” on Guerrero’s part. 
If Guerrero is unable to play, the captain’s armband is expected to go to Alberto Rodriguez. Jefferson Farfan, Andre Carillo, and Raul Ruidiaz are the only forwards going to Russia for Peru and will be expected to help get some goals. 
With the group that Panama has, any points will be considered a victory for them. Very few expect them to get something against either Belgium or England. Their best chance for points will no doubt be in Saransk against Tunisia. 
It is a relatively young squad as just three members of the preliminary squad are over the age of 30. They do have a strong defense; but without Paulo Guerrero and against a group with France, Denmark, and Australia; it may be a bridge too far and their first World Cup in 36 years will be a short one.
June 16:  vs. Denmark in Saransk (11am CT on FS1/Telemundo)
June 21:  vs. France in Yekaterinburg (10am CT on FOX/Telemundo)
June 26:  vs. Australia in Sochi (9am CT on FS1/Telemundo)


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