The Peruvian Soccer Federation (FPF) has named the official national selection for the centennial Copa America tournament in the United States.
Team manager Ricardo Gareca surprised Peru’s sports fans in scratching captain Claudio Pizarro from the squad to play in the tournament’s 100-year anniversary. He also eliminated veteran starters Jefferson Farfan and Juan Manuel Vargas.
In addition to Pizarro, Farfan and Vargas, Gareca also passed on longtime players Luis Advincula, Andre Carrillo, Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Ascues and Paolo Hurtado.
Analysts say Gareca was forced to shake things up after the club’s dismal performance in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, which included eking out a tie against Venezuela.
The national selection will retain striker Paolo Guerrero, who tied Chilean star Eduardo Vargas for the 2015 Copa America scoring title. Guerrero was nominated for the 2015 Ballon d’Or award and recently became Peru’s all-time scorer with 27 goals. Guerrero will serve as team captain.
Guerrero is one of only six of the new team’s members who currently play in leagues outside of Peru. The national selection features six players from Universitario de Deportes, four from Sporting Cristal, two from both Alianza Lima and Deportivo Municipal, two from Chiclayo-based Juan Aurich and one from Trujillo club, Cesar Vallejo.
Peru is ranked 46th in the FIFA World Rankings and eighth of 10 in the South American division, CONMEBOL.
Peru finished third in the last two Copa America tournaments and reached the elimination phase in the last seven. Peru will compete in group play with Brazil, Ecuador and Haiti.
Peru will play two friendly matches before the start of the tournament. The club will play Trinidad and Tobago on May 23 in Lima and El Salvador on May 28 in the United States.
Peru plays its first Copa America Centenario match against Haiti on June 4 in Seattle. Below is Peru’s national selection for the Copa America Centenario in the United States.