The soccer teams of Peru and New Zealand meet this Sunday in Barcelona in a friendly match in preparation for their respective playoffs to the Qatar-2022 World Cup.
This will be the last test for Peru, which must play the playoff on June 13 in Doha with the winner of the match between Australia and the United Arab Emirates, who will meet on Tuesday in the Qatari capital.
On June 14, another ticket to the World Cup between New Zealand and Costa Rica will be decided in Doha.
Gareca will line up with the Italian-Peruvian forward Gianluca Lapadula, the skillful midfielder Christian Cueva and the attacker André Carrillo as the main offensive cards to face the ‘All Whites’, whose attack will be commanded by Chris Wood, from Newcastle England.
“This friendly match is going to be very important, it is going to give us many answers that the teacher [Gareca] want to see […]It’s going to be a good exam,” said Peruvian midfielder Edison Flores.
“The national team always plays a final in each game and this [duelo del repechaje] is the most important of our lives in recent years,” said Orejas Flores.
In 2017, Peru and New Zealand staged a playoff for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, in which the Inca team qualified.
“Facing Peru again after our disappointment of not qualifying for the World Cup last time will be special,” New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan Mainovid told the AS Peru portal.
The New Zealand team, led by Danny Hay, will apply high pressure against the Peruvians to reach their decisive duel against the Costa Rican team in the best possible way.
Wood has had Achilles tendon problems but is not ruled out for the friendly with Peru, Hay said on Friday.
In addition to Wood, other figures in the team are defender Bill Tuiloma, of the Portland Timbers of the USA, and midfielder Marko Stamenic, of FC Copenhagen of Denmark.
Hay called up 26 players, including 13 who were part of the team that finished sixth at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic.
Chilean-New Zealand midfielder Marco Rojas, from Australia’s Melbourne Victoria, is also among those called up.
“We need the whole team to be fit, battle hardened and pushing to form the starting eleven against Costa Rica,” Hay said at the training camp in Marbella.
After the warm-up with Peru, New Zealand will face Oman in another friendly on June 9 in Doha.
The Kiwis finished first in their regional qualifier after beating the Solomon Islands. The Oceania Football Confederation only has half a place for the World Cup.
For its part, Peru got a ticket to the playoffs as fifth in the South American qualifier, in which Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and Uruguay obtained direct quotas.
The friendly will be played at the Espanyol club stadium in Barcelona at 5:30 p.m. local time (3:30 p.m. GMT) and will be led by Slovenian Slavko Vincic.
Peru: Pedro Gallese – Aldo Corzo, Carlos Zambrano, Alexander Callens, Miguel Trauco – Yoshimar Yotún, Pedro Aquino, Christian Cueva, Sergio Peña, André Carrillo – Gianluca Lapadula. DT: Ricardo Gareca.
New Zealand: Stefan Marinovic – Tim Payne, Nando Pijnaker, Tommy Smith, Francis de Vries – Joe Bell, Marko Stamenic, Buil Tuiloma – Alex Greive, Chris Wood, Logan Rogerson. DT: Danny Hay.