Peru president backs his boys
Peru’s president is bullish about his country’s chances of beating New Zealand in November’s intercontinental Fifa World Cup playoff.
Pedro Pablo Kuczynski posted a video message in Spanish to his Twitter account after watching his side book their spot in the football playoff after a 1-1 draw with Colombia on Wednesday.
In it, he congratulated the team, before saying this about their playoff opponents: ‘‘OK, it’s a beautiful country, but we’re going to beat New Zealand.’’
Peru’s players and coaches were a bit more circumspect than their leader in their responses to the prospect of playing the All Whites.
Peru captain Paolo Guerrero stopped short of saying they would win, but did have reasonably high confidence levels.
‘‘I think we could do a bit more against Colombia, I would have liked to win and qualify directly for Russia. For now, I am optimistic, we will go to the World Cup,’’ he said.
‘‘Before, because of different factors, I did not see this, I now see a group, committed to the same goal, giving everything.’’
Head coach Ricardo Gareca was under no illusions about the challenge New Zealand would face and the difficulty of getting to the bottom of the world.
‘‘To be in this position was one of our targets for the qualifiers,’’ Gareca said after the 1-1 draw.
‘‘There’s 180 minutes left. We know that it is difficult but we know that it is up to us.’’
He said some of his players would only be available five days before the first match, as is the case for the All Whites in just about all their games.
‘‘It is best to travel as fast as possible, but we also have to see how we will handle the issue of players [who play] abroad,’’ Gareca said.