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“How to beat Australia, this tough team that doesn’t look good”

The Peruvian team will have three rivals: nerves, confidence and Australia. Let’s go in order.

About the first, it should be a problem mitigated by professionalism and experience. The Peruvian team is a mature team, with a mature average age (just over 29 years), with a technical command that, since 2015, has made it perform where we used to falter: in important games. The sensitive duels in the Qualifiers and Copa América, the previous playoff against New Zealand, the World Cup debut 36 years later in Russia, are experiences that have built up a sufficient emotional reserve to manage moods ahead of an all-or-nothing match in a foreign land .

The second, trust, is more worrying. The team has a nice record against Asian Football Confederation jerseys in official and friendly matches. Technically the Peruvian player is superior to the Australian. Bookmakers give us as favorites. We came from winning in Russia… Be careful! Everything that happens before a match is history, anecdote and signal, but it is useless if it becomes underestimation. On the field, sports confidence only has two expressions: sweat and mental strength. Peru is a competitive team precisely because it suffers, that is, everything costs them. The fan should not prepare for a dance, but for war.

In third place, Australia. We can develop a little more. It is a tough team that does not shine but adds when it achieves order. This implies physical play, friction, no fear of the clearance, the long pass or the split ball. Tactically they are predictable: they will look for the back of Trauco or López and put pressure on Cueva; if they fail, they will fall back to wait. It is the conservative way of a team aware of its limitations and its punch, which comes from having a very weak campaign in a simple qualifying in South American terms.

In its 2022 version, the ‘kangaroos’ do not have great figures -but they say the same about us-, unlike other times when it was possible to find cracks like Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, Tim Cahill or Mark Bresciano. Whoever comes closest to them is Hrustic, a UEFA champion midfielder with Eintracht Frankfurt, versatile and with a good punch. Mooy is also interesting; he had a decent run in the Premier League, but his transfer to the Chinese league has made him lose his shine and rhythm. Ryan, the goalkeeper, used to be the substitute goalkeeper at Arsenal and today he defends Real Sociedad, but he does not reach Mark Schwarzer’s heel. Finally Boyle, the right winger, a Scot with dual nationality, is consistent and fine in front of the goal, with a remarkable goal record for someone who is not a box striker (0.28 goals per game).

How to beat them? Putting the ball on the floor, with precision in the pass between the lines. With changes of rhythm and overflow. With possession in the opposite field, until the defenses are worn down and spaces are created. With completion. This is the ideal match for Cueva and Lapadula, but also for Tapia, who must be an anchor but also a timekeeper, because the clock is one more adversary together with the Qatari heat and the pressure of the quota at stake.

Some predictable duels: Boyle over Trauco or López; Yotún and Tapia over Hrustic; Carrillo on Behich and Lapadula against Rowles and Wright, the arboreal central defenders. Cueva should be on the loose, but that is already Gareca’s job. The rest of us have to entrust ourselves to Lolo Fernández, Nene Cubillas and Valeriano López, which is the only thing that can be done 14,416 km away, the stretch that separates Lima from Al Rayyan and our dreams.

Source: Elcomercio

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