WORLD CUP: Peru returns to finals after 36-year absence
LIMA, Peru (AP) — The Peruvian players heading to Russia weren't alive when the team last appeared at the World Cup.
The 36-year wait is over.
Argentine coach Ricardo Gareca has restored the elegant ball possession and short passing style that carried Peru to the quarterfinals of the 1970 edition.
While lacking stars, Peru will be hoping its ability to adapt to different conditions serves it well across Russia. The players have already shown through qualifying that they can handle everything from the altitude of the Andean mountains to the heat of the Amazon.
Here's a closer look at the Peru team, which secured its place at the World Cup through the playoffs against New Zealand:
Gareca was responsible for denying Peru a place at the 1986 World Cup, scoring the goal that ended its qualification hopes while playing for Argentina.
He went on to gain two decades of coaching experience in the South American club game, including spells at Brazil's Palmeiras, Argentina's Velez Sarsfield, and Colombia's America de Cali, and has led Peru since 2015.
Pedro Gallese, of Mexico's Veracruz, expects to have Peru's No. 1 jersey by recovering from the right knee injury he sustained in February.
Peru will be relying on two players who rarely feature for their clubs: Central defender Alberto Rodriguez and left back Miguel Trauco.
At age 34, Rodriguez returned to training at Colombia's Junior Barranquilla only in the middle of April after an injury to his right leg. Trauco played only three matches this year for Flamengo in Brazil.
Tapia of Feyenoord and Carrillo of Watford were integral during qualifying along with Yoshimar Yotun of Orlando City. Christian Cueva of Sao Paulo and Edison Flores of Denmark's Aalborg are also likely to be called.
Gareca will be hoping top-scorer Paolo Guerrero is eligible as he fights a case at the Court for Arbitration of Sport over a positive doping test.
If Guerrero is indeed suspended, Lokomotiv's Jefferson Farfan will have to lead. Raul Ruidiaz, who is doing well at Mexico's Monarcas, is the other goalscorer.
Based in Moscow, Peru opens on June 16 against Denmark, plays France on June 21, and Australia on June 26.