Peru’s squad trained in Lima on Tuesday ahead of their potentially decisive World Cup qualifying clash against Argentina.
Ricardo Gareca’s side currently occupy the last remaining automatic qualification spot from the South American section, sitting above Argentina on goal difference.
The teams clash in the penultimate round of fixtures at La Bombonera in the early hours of Friday morning in a game which is likely to decide who clinches the final automatic qualifying spot.
Christian Cueva will be unavailable for selection for Peru against Argentina due to suspension
(L-R) Andre Carrillo, Miguel Trauco, Raul Ruidiaz and Alberto Rodriguez train on Tuesday
Peru boss Ricardo Gareca praised Argentina calling them ‘among the best nations in the world’
The country which finishes fifth will face Oceania champions New Zealand in a two-legged play-off for a place at the World Cup in Russia.
And the likes of Jefferson Farfan, Christian Cueva and Watford’s Andre Carrillo were pictured training in the Peruvian capital as Los Incas bid to seal their first appearance at a World Cup since the 1982 finals in Spain.
Peru’s team is made up largely from domestic-based players, with just seven of their squad currently plying their trade in the European leagues.
Manager Gareca has revealed he is unlikely to make any special tactical plans to contain Lionel Messi during the clash in Buenos Aires.
Back-up goalkeeper Pedro Gallese (left) warms up alongside No 1 Carlos Caceda in training
Lokomotiv Moscow star Jefferson Farfan was an unused substitute in Peru’s win over Ecuador
‘We don’t generally man-mark players, we are analysing it but it’s unlikely’, Gareca told reporters via ESPN.
‘[Messi] is a player that cannot be disputed. He elicits admiration. For us it’s a privilege to be on a stage like we are going to be, in a situation that we are in and facing an Argentina side that will have the best players in the world.
‘We consider Argentina among the best national teams in the world. They have players of superlative level. But we will go out determined to take a win because that is our mentality’.
Peru head into Friday’s match off the back of three consecutive victories but opponents Argentina are without a win in their last three qualifying matches.
Argentina have endured a chastening qualifying campaign with former boss Edgardo Bauza dismissed after just three wins from his eight games in charge.
Gareca said his side are unlikely to man-mark Argentina star Lionel Messi at La Bombonera
Paolo Guerrero and Edison Flores (right) are likely to start against Argentina in Buenos Aires
Peru are bidding to secure a place at their first World Cup finals since Spain 1982
Bauza was replaced by ex-Sevilla manager Jorge Sampaoli but he has also struggled – with draws against Uruguay and Venezuela in Argentina’s last round of fixtures.
Gareca will be unable to call on Cueva, Carrillo, Paolo Hurtado and Christian Ramos who are all suspended for Friday’s match.
The two teams drew 2-2 in the reverse fixture in October last year with Cueva netting a late penalty in Lima to deny Argentina, who were without Messi through injury.
One of Peru’s seven victories this qualifying campaign came when they were controversially awarded a 3-0 victory over Bolivia in September after their opponents were found to have fielded an ineligible player. They had lost the original match 2-0 in La Paz.
Brazil are the only country to have sealed automatic qualification but Uruguay and Colombia are in strong positions heading into the final two rounds of fixtures.
Messi and Argentina were held to a 1-1 draw against Venezuela in Buenos Aires last time out
Round 1: Bolivia vs Brazil, Venezuela vs Uruguay, Chile vs Ecuador, Colombia vs Paraguay, Argentina vs Peru
Round 2: Uruguay vs Bolivia, Peru vs Colombia, Ecuador vs Argentina, Brazil vs Chile, Paraguay vs Venezuela