Peru pres­i­dent backs his boys

Waikato Times - - Sport -

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.

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