International friendly: Peru vs Scotland – Lineups, Preview and Predictions
Peru host Scotland in the first of three friendlies in preparation of their trip to Russia for the World Cup.
02:00, Wednesday 30th May, BBC One Scotland (IPlayer for the rest of UK), Estadio Nacional de Lima
Having lost his opening game as Scotland manager, Alex McLeish finds himself in dire need of a victory to get Scotland some momentum before the European Qualifiers begin in September.
Peru, on the other hand, are undefeated in their last eight international games with their last game being a 2-1 victory over Iceland.
Ricardo Gareca and his side have three games before the World Cup, tonight’s match with Scotland, Sunday’s game against Saudi Arabia and a game next Saturday against Sweden.
The team are gearing up for their first World Cup in 36 years.
Ricardo Gareca has named his provisional squad for the World Cup and there are few surprises include within it. On paper, it’s a strong team that has remained the same, one reason they have played so well recently.
However, they will be without leading striker Paolo Guerrero, who is suspended for a failed drug test for the foreseeable future. Also missing out is midfielder Cristian Benavente.
Alex McLeish has rung the changes with his squad. Established players such as Andrew Robertson of Liverpool, injured goalkeeper Alan McGregor, Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon and Kieran Tierney have all been left out of the squad.
There are nine players in the squad who have yet to earn a cap for Scotland.
Key battle: Jefferson Farfan (Peru) vs Scott McTominay (Scotland)
He may be 33, but Farfan is the most recognisable name on the Peruvian team sheet and it seems fitting that his final acts for his country will come at the grandest international stage.
Farfan’s 81 caps are the most of any current Peru international and his 24 goals far exceed anyone else’s in the squad.
While his pace may have lessened, Farfan still has superb talent, netting 10 goals this past season for Lokomotiv Moscow.
The Manchester United youngster chose Scotland over England because of a ‘special’ visit from Alex McLeish.
He is the future of this Scotland side and he will no doubt want to put a stamp on the team before the Euro qualifiers in September.
McTominay played 23 games for Manchester United this past season and is no doubt ready for the challenges that international football brings. He will surely be the future Scotland captain.
Are Peru contenders or pretenders?
To qualify for the World Cup in South America is very difficult such is the talent levels. Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Chile, and Paraguay are all arguably better than Peru.
However, for the first time in 36 years, Peru qualified which is testament to the good work of coach Gareca.
A fifth-place finish gave Peru the chance to qualify, but they needed to get past New Zealand. The Kiwi’s were able to get a 0-0 draw in the first leg, but quality told in the second as Peru won 2-0.
In preparation for the World Cup, Peru needs to make sure that they are going to be more than just making the numbers up and with France, Denmark and Australia in their group they will need to be good to qualify.
New era for Scotland?
Alex McLeish has a job on his hands to make Scotland a force at the international level again. Their current baron run of 20 years without qualifying for a major international competition has left them in the bracket of an international minnow.
But there are plenty of reasons to be excited. Up to nine players could make their debuts for Scotland against Peru and there are some quality players coming through their ranks.
The key for Scotland is to make sure that those players develop and games like this one will be key.
It may be too early to declare this a new era, but Scotland needs to change their culture or they will continue to fail to qualify for major tournaments.
Prediction – Peru 3-1 Scotland
A jubilant Peru and their excited fans will no doubt be enough to ease past Scotland. The quality Peru possesses against a Scotland side that is very inexperienced should be more than enough.
However, Scotland may give them a greater match than expected because they will be fielding a lot of players who have yet to play at the international level. For that reason alone, do not expect Scotland to roll over.
But Peru should win it.
Do you think Scotland can pull of an upset here? Let us know by commenting below.