Peru star Paolo Guerrero

FIFA World Cup preview: Peru

Politics and football are a poisonous blend, just ask Peru.

The small nation was one of the best stories of qualifying, snapping a 36-year absence at the FIFA World Cup finals.

But Peru was very nearly booted out after their government attempted to take control of football operations - in violation of FIFA regulations.

That didn't come to pass, but will friction between football and government derail all the good work Peru put in to be here?

Peru may sound like a minnow on paper, but this is a fiercely proud footballing nation in white-hot form.

Australia is on notice here, as is Denmark. Peru is a very real chance of joining France in the final 16.

The draw for Peru

Denmark, June 17

France, June 22

Australia, June 27

The star player

Captain Paolo Guerrero plies his trade in South America with Brazilian club Flamengo and will be the key cog here.

Peru was sweating on his availability after Guerrero was initially banned for six months for a doping offence, but he was cleared to take his place in the squad here.

He is the standout scorer with 34 career goals and five in qualifying. At 34, this will likely be his first and only shot at World Cup glory.

What needs to go right

Political interference aside, Peru needs to brush aside the pressure of a World Cup as well.

The last time Peru lost a match was in November 2016 when Brazil breezed past them in a 2-0 result.

Since then, they have won 12 consecutive matches to gain qualification and surge to No.10 in the FIFA rankings.

All Peru needs to do is what has worked for them in the past 18 months and not let the pressure of the finals overawe them.

About the Author Josh Alston

Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.

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