This month’s World Cup qualifiers for South America conclude later this week until the New Year with Peru playing host to Argentina on Wednesday at 12:30am (UK time).
It has been a dispiriting start to the qualifiers for Peru boss Ricardo Gareca, who has so far overseen an opening day draw versus Paraguay and back-to-back defeats against Brazil and Chile, which places La Blanquirroja eighth in the standings and five points adrift of fourth (the final automatic qualification place).
For Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni it has been a strong but not entirely convincing start, edging Ecuador and Bolivia last month before being held to a 1-1 stalemate with Paraguay on Friday, having trailed against Los Guaranies.
That considered, Lionel Messi and Co currently sit second in the table and are clinging to the coattails of early leaders Brazil with just two points separating the nations. Peru are winless in three and need to start picking up points, but Argentina represent their most difficult challenge yet.
Where to watch Peru vs Argentina on TV:
- UK: N/A
- US: Fanatiz
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Peru & Argentina’s previous line-ups:
- Peru (vs Chile): Gallese; Advincula, Araujo, Abram, Trauco; Tapia, Yotun, Flores, Carrillo, Aquino; Ruidiaz.
- Argentina (vs Paraguay): Armani; Montiel, Lisandro Martinez, Otamendi; De Paul, Paredes, Palacios, Gonzalez; Ocampos, Messi, Lautaro Martinez.
The visitors are without Nicolas Tagliafico, Marcos Acuna, Sergio Aguero, Paulo Dybala and Giovanni Simeone, while Peru must tee off against Argentina without talismanic duo Jefferson Farfan and Paolo Guerrero.
Players to watch:
- Peru: Andre Carrillo fired a blank last time out against Chile but the ex-Watford winger remains Peru’s most potent threat up front without the attacking exploits of Jefferson Farfan and Paolo Guerrero. The current Al-Hilal forward netted a brace in Peru’s 2-2 draw with Paraguay on matchday one, and followed up by opening the floodgates against Brazil in a 4-2 reversal. Carrillo has demonstrated he can do it against formidable opponents and Gareca will need his stand-in talisman to step up one again and produce the goods to get Peru truly up and running in the table.
- Argentina: La Albiceleste sit second and unbeaten in the standings but the performances have been far from convincing. The 1-1 draw with Paraguay last time out proved an underwhelming experience, but one glimmer of positivity from that match at La Bombonera was a debut goal for Nicolas Gonzalez. The 22-year-old Stuttgart forward started the match and vindicated Scaloni’s faith, scoring on the stroke of half time to clinch a point. Now that he is off the mark, Scaloni will be hoping Gonzalez can continue on this goalscoring path to take the burden off some of the nation’s more illustrious stars.
Scoreline prediction: Peru 0-3 Argentina
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