Can Peru fire without their main man?
REVELLING in qualifying for their first World Cup in 36 years, Peru has been rocked by the suspension of their skipper. Full rundown of Australia's Group C opponents.
Game 1 v Denmark Saransk Sunday June 17 2AM AEST
Game 2 v France Ekaterinburg Friday June 22 1AM AEST
Game 3 v Australia Sochi Wednesday June 27 12AM AEST
Nickname: The White and Red, The Incas
World Cup appearances: 1930, 1970, 1978, 1982, 2018.
Best performance: Quarter-finals 1970
How they qualified: Beat New Zealand 2-0 on aggregate after finishing fifth in South American qualifying.
World ranking: 11th
Head to head: never played
Goalkeepers: Carlos Caceda (Municipal), Jose Carvallo (UTC), Pedro Gallese (Veracruz).
Defenders: Luis Abram (Velez Sarsfield), Luis Advincula (Lobos), Miguel Araujo (Alianza Lima), Aldo Corzo (Universitario), Nilson Loyola (Melgar), Christian Ramos (Veracruz), Alberto Rodriguez (Junior Barranquilla), Anderson Santamaria (Puebla), Miguel Trauco (Flamengo).
Midfielders: Pedro Aquino (Lobos), Wilmer Cartagena (Veracruz), Christian Cueva (Sao Paulo), Edison Flores (Aalborg), Paolo Hurtado (Vitoria Guimaraes), Sergio Pena (Granada), Andy Polo (Portland Timbers), Renato Tapia (Feyenoord), Yoshimar Yotun (Orlando City).
Fowards: Andre Carrillo (Watford), Raul Ruidiaz (Morelia), Jefferson Farfan (Lokomotiv Moscow).
Peru have been basking in their own '2005 moment' with their qualification for their first World Cup since 1982 following a two-legged playoff win against New Zealand unleashing a massive wave of jubilation and relief in the football-mad country.
But the excitement has been hugely overshadowed by the banning of Peru's best player, captain and all-time top scorer Paolo Guerrero for ingesting a metabolite of cocaine, after Guerrero drank tea containing the coca leaf.
Guerrero initially copped a 12 month ban from FIFA last December that would have ruled him out of the World Cup but that was reduced to 6 months on appeal, clearing him for the tournament.
However just when the ban ended in mid-May an appeal from WADA to the Court of Arbitration for Sport was upheld and his suspension was extended to 14 months.
His opposing captains in Group C, including Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak, appealed on Guerrero's behalf, but the ban stands.
Now the team with one of the most famous strips in world football must regroup.
Will the loss of their star man prove overwhelming or will pride and the emotional support of 32 million Peruvians help drive them to perform beyond themselves in Russia?
Much of the goalscoring burden will now likely fall on veteran forward Jefferson Farfan, now at Lokomotiv Moscow after forging a European career at Holland's PSV and Germany's Schalke.
Attacking midfielder Christian Cueva provides much of the creativity for Peru and his close control, pace and eye for a pass could cause Australia problems.
Watford's Andre Corillo is another player to watch - the forward is pacy, direct and can find the net.
Peru as a whole are quick, good on the ball and swift on the counter-attack. In South American qualifying they scored the third highest goals (27) of any team, but also conceded 26 goals, suggesting Australia will be presented with plenty of opportunities.
Coach: After coaching 13 club teams, Argentine Ricardo Gareca moved into international management with Peru in 2015 and helped overhaul the struggling team's fortunes. Nicknamed 'Tiger' or 'Slim'.